FREE parking for up to half an hour is being sought for the car park at the rear of the old court house in Letterkenny in order to accommodate the dropping off of elderly and disabled people for appointments in the nearby medical centre.
Cllr Ciaran Brogan put forward the proposal at the Letterkenny Municipal District meeting this week when he called for traffic wardens to use common sense and discretion in cases where people needed assistance getting to appointments at Scally’s Practice or the medical clinic.
He said in one case an 85-year old man needed help getting to his appointment and the good Samaritan who brought him received a ticket after helping the elderly man upstairs.
“Back in the day the wardens would have had more common sense. There have been a few cases brought to my attention recently and a bit of common sense is lacking,” said Cllr Brogan.
The ticket was unsuccessfully appealed and Cllr Brogan said he was “embarrassed” about what happened.
He called for the parking bye laws to be reviewed as a matter of urgency to reflect the same half-hour free parking that is currently in place on the Main Street.
Cllr Gerry McMonagle backed the motion saying that while there is an appeals process very few appeals are upheld.
“There are some genuine cases,” he added.
Cllr Brogan was told that the new off street parking bye laws were adopted in the last few months at Plenary Council level and that there are no provisions for free parking within public car parks.
Area Engineer Fergal Doherty said the medical centre was for appointments and is not emergency cases. He said a lot of appointments would take longer than half an hour and in order to implement half-hour free parking traffic wardens would have to visit the area twice
which doubled the workload.
The Council also said that there was an abundance of private and public parking around the medical practices on Justice Walsh Road.
“We have a duty to accommodate people who aren’t as able bodied as we are,” said Cllr Brogan.
“The response is not satisfactory. We have the support of the Municipal District so there is no reason why this shouldn’t happen.”
Cllr Brogan added that if the wardens used common sense then the bye laws would not have to be amended.