Businesses in Newbridge are angry over the decision to close the GAA car park last Saturday (July 13) during the Kildare V Louth match, according to Cllr. Spike Nolan.
He told the Kildare Area Committee meeting last Wednesday (July 17), that he received numerous complaints from retailers. He said businesses were struggling at the moment and this did not help matters.
“That was bang out of order. We did not get any notice to say it was closing,” he said. He said the Gardai and the GAA had not consulted with the councillors involved and they knew nothing about it.
He said he was concerned about what would happen if it occurred again this weekend for the Kildare V Tyrone game. He asked for it to remain open until at least 3pm. He acknowledged that the Whitewater shopping centre was also facilitating match goers by stamping their programme if they parked in their car park. Cllr. Nolan also requested that pay parking be suspended in Newbridge while the car park was closed.
Cllr. Fiona O’Loughlin said as much as everyone liked to see Kildare play in Newbridge and support them, she was concerned about last Saturday’s situation being repeated. She said she couldn’t see why the car park had to close and Saturday was the busiest day of the week for businesses in the town centre.
Newbridge mayor, Mick Deeley said Saturday business was vital to that area of the town.
Sonya Kavanagh, Senior Executive Officer of Kildare County Council said the gardai and the GAA had met, and had been in touch with the officials. She said the gardai wanted to close the car park due to traffic management concerns. She said they would speak to the gardai about the concerns, but that the council would work with the gardai to facilitate them as to what they thought was best. A huge crowd is expected to decend on the town with 7,500 tickets available for the St. Conleth’s Park game.
She argued that to suspend pay parking would have the opposite effect with people parking on double yellow lines and disabled bays, leading to further traffic management problems.
A council spokesperson said she understood the Director had been in contact with the Kildare area members prior to last Saturday’s closure to inform them of the situation. She confirmed that the car park will be closed from 3pm tomorrow. Throw in is at 7pm.