A situation that developed at Ashe Quay, Fermoy on the first Friday in December was outlined by Cllr Seamus Coleman at the December meeting of Fermoy Town Council. A major traffic snarl-up occurred with people attending functions at Fermoy Community Youth Centre and The Grand Hotel, having to park considerable distances away and walk to the events.
180 people were sitting down to a meal in The Grand Hotel that night, he said. His party (Sinn Fein) were having their AGM in the youth centre and there was also a show on there. he said no one could get parking anywhere near either place. He questioned the decision to close down Pearse Square so early on a Friday evening.
The square was closed to facilitate the setting up of market stalls and the arrival of Santa into the town and the switch-on of the Christmas lights as part of the Fermoy Business Action Group’s (FBAG) Christmas festivities. The activities brought a huge crowd into Pearse Square.
Cllr Coleman said at the outset that he wasn’t in any way criticising the business group’s efforts and his remarks shouldn’t be construed as such. “They could have done with someone to guide people to parking and to direct traffic,” he said, adding that staff at the community youth centre were ‘going mad’ over the situation. Both events at the centre had to be put back half an hour as people were delayed arriving.
Cllr Michael Hanley said his shop has been ‘crucified from all angles’. “The problem as I see it, is that no-one wants to walk anywhere anymore. Fermoy Business Action Group were working in the interests of the town, trying to bring people in,” he pointed out.
Cllr Noel McCarthy, a member of the business action group said they’d learn from their mistakes. They should perhaps have gone around enquiring what was on in the hotel and youth centre that night before closing the square off. As for their Christmas festivities, they were complimented on them, ‘receiving much positive feedback’, he reported.
Cllr Colette Dolan Moore said there was a lesson to be learned, but the events organised by FBAG had brought life into the town and were greatly enjoyed by one and all. The traders did well out of it too, she said.
Cllr John Murphy agreed with Cllr Hanley’s point that no-one wants to walk anywhere anymore. He said the parent of a child at Bishop Murphy school had walked into his house that very afternoon and verbally abused his wife because she was unable to get a parking space outside the school. Works are being done there at present to narrow the footpath and widen the road to improve safety. Cllr Murphy had welcomed the work.
“Everyone wants to drive into the school,” he told his colleagues. “If they could, some people would drive in one side and out the other!”
Mayor Olive Corcoran said the situation at Ashe Quay demonstrated the need for the signs she had sought to have erected previously, advising people coming into the town of the location of car parks and space availability.
She suggested that her committee for the arts festival to be held on the first weekend in February, ‘could learn from what happened in this instance’.