HOPES are high that a half-hour’s free parking will be introduced soon in Portarlington.
The proposal is being reviewed by Laois County Council, following appeals by a number of councillors.
Cathaoirleach Tom Mulhall urged the county council to agree to 30 minutes’ free parking in the town at the latest meeting of Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District.
Cllr Mulhall said that, as the second largest town in Laois, Portarlington should have free parking for half-an-hour, as is the case in Portlaoise. He pointed out that the lack of free parking in Portarlington has been an issue in the town since the current parking bye-laws were introduced in 2010.
He said: “Portlaoise got a free half-hour then and it was rumoured that Portarlington would get it, too, but they never did. They do get 15 minutes free but that’s only at the discretion of the traffic warden. If Portaloise has it, Portarlington should have it.”
Cllr Mulhall added: “The town has a good population. It’s a good business town and we need to encourage shoppers. Some small shops are finding it hard to survive and they should get every possible assistance from the council. A half-hour free parking would be very beneficial to them.”
The Emo councillor also commented that although Portarlington does get some parking concessions over the Christmas period, it should get the same concessions as Portlaoise all year round.”
In a written response, council administrative officer Josephine Kavanagh said the matter is currently being reviewed by the county council.
However, cllr Aidan Mullins said he failed to see what had to be reviewed, commenting: “A half-hour meeting would give you a decision. You only need a short meeting to rubber stamp it. Why should there be a difference between Portlaoise and Portarlington?”
Cllr Mulhall also stressed that the review should be completed quickly. Director of services Gerry Murphy agreed to report back to the district council as soon as possible.