Malahide among towns to profit from free Christmas parking

by Gazette Reporter
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A number of local towns will benefit from a free-parking scheme that is set to take place on two dates in the busy Christmas season in north Dublin.
Fingal County Council have announced that there will be free parking in the towns of Swords, Malahide, Balbriggan, Skerries and Rush for the two Saturdays before Christmas.
The free parking – which will be available within the council’s pay and display areas – will be put in place on Saturday, December 15, and Saturday, December 22, in the lead-up to Christmas. The pay and display parking scheme does not apply on Sundays.
This initiative was introduced in a bid to encourage residents to shop locally and support local retailers in the lead-up to Christmas.
Fingal County manager David O’Connor said: “Fingal County Council is keen to support local businesses and to encourage people to do their Christmas shopping in their locality, supporting jobs and local retailers.  We work closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and are delighted to offer this pilot-free pay and display initiative in the lead-up to Christmas.”
The news was welcomed by local Fianna Fail councillors Darragh Butler and Eoghan O’Brien, who said the free parking days will help encourage the local community to shop locally.
The scheme is also hoped to benefit stores located in main streets and town centres that find it difficult to compete against large out-of-town retail parks.
According to Cllr O’Brien, the proposals have been encouraged by the Malahide Chamber of Commerce and local Malahide businesses, and he was delighted to see the council agree to the free parking measures.
Cllr Butler agreed, saying that he believed it was really positive news for Swords Main Street, and once again encouraged shoppers to “buy Irish and shop local and support our own town centres”.
It is also hoped the scheme will bring more trade to Malahide village for the Christmas period. Local Cllr Anthony Lavin (FG) welcomed the development, but sounded a note of caution.
“It will hopefully help to bring some more trade to Malahide village. From Fingal [County Council’s] point of view, it will be a significant amount of revenue gone for those two days, so there is a cost involved, but it’s important that it is not abused, that people don’t park their cars on the main street all day as it defeats the purpose.
“It is one of the good things about pay and display at the moment, in that it keeps spaces moving. If we go back to free parking all the time, commuters might start parking in the streets again and it becomes a problem. So in a sense, you have to be careful what you wish for because it might be bad in the long run.”

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