Council looks set to permit limited free parking in Naas town centre

Claims that the local authority is “trigger happy” when it comes to issuing parking tickets to errant motorists have been refuted.

Claims that the local authority is “trigger happy” when it comes to issuing parking tickets to errant motorists have been refuted.

This follows a call by the North Kildare Chamber, which represents businesses, for parking charges to be banned until 11am from Monday to Saturday.

NKC made the case for 12 hours free parking a week (there are no charges on Sunday) in a submission to the council.

They say the pay parking burden needs to be eased because of high profile closures (Marks & Spencer and Red Cottage Retail), a lack of consumer confidence and a retail sector which is suffering.

Their case is that more people will be enticed to shop in Naas if they can park for free for two hours a day.

They also want private car park owners, who charge €120 to remove a clamp, to offer the same free deal.

However local councillor Willie Callaghan has cast doubt on the notion that “the council is being over zealous in issuing fines.”

He said that an analysis of parking offences for a period of just over 3 months reveals that the average number of fines issued on a daily basis in Naas is 5-6.

Nevertheless Cllr. Callaghan said the council is anxious to cooperate with the traders.

He said Naas Town Council is likely to have periods when people will not have to pay to park - at least in the car parks operated by the council - for fixed periods.

But it’s not yet clear when this will happen. Nor has any decision been made about the free parking periods.

Cllr. Callaghan also said that the traders do not speak with a united voice and there is disagreement among retailers about when is the best time to allow free parking. He also called for traders to do more to encourage shoppers through their doors.

- Paul O’Meara