Castlebar Chamber president Oliver Kelleher, in a presentation to Castlebar Town Council last week, hit out at the council on a number of issues. Kelleher told the meeting that the businesses in the town were looking for “fair play” and were not looking for “special treatment”.
The issue of parking in the town and the cost of it, which has become a hot button topic since the chamber was criticised for not making a submission to the council when the parking charges were being reviewed, was a major gripe of Kelleher’s. The Chamber president hit out at the cost of long term parking in the two town centre car parks which was reduced to €27 a month, with the two outlying car parks on Pavilion Road and on Spencer Street costing €10 a month. Kelleher claimed that it took 15 minutes to walk from Pavilion Road to the town centre and another 15 minutes to get back. He said that one woman told him she would have to get a taxi from the middle of the town to the car park. He also said that paid parking was one of the major disincentives for shoppers and businesses, and advocated for free parking all over the town.
Kelleher also expressed his disappointment that the Chamber was not consulted on the new charges, a charge that was rejected by Cllr Michael Kilcoyne who pointed out that submissions were requested from the public and an advertisement was placed in a local paper looking for these submissions. Cllr Eugene McCormack said the €600,000 profit for the town council that came from parking charges would have to be found somewhere else if the parking charges were abolished, while Cllr Noreen Heston pointed out that the new bridge at Lough Lannagh was funded from the income from parking charges.