FURIOUS retailers say customers are being ‘driven away’ from Limerick city by ‘aggressive’ traffic wardens.
And calls have been made for a stop to all ticketing in the busy trading month of December.
In recent weeks, traders have conplained of an upsurge in the number of tickets being issued in Limerick, with city councillor Kevin Kiely accusing wardens of “hiding in corners”, waiting to issue unsuspecting motorists with the fine of €40.
But Limerick City Council has hit back through engineer Rory McDermott, who pointed out that the number of tickets issued between September 23 and November 7 was actually less than the same period last year.
He did not give a week-by-week breakdown, however.
Shane Gleeson, whose family has operated shops in Limerick for 60 years, was furious when one of his drivers was ticketed.
“There has been a change in policy, and the wardens have been very aggressive in using tickets,” he explained.
“Lots of people have come in complaining about it. Every ticket issued is a bad thing, because it is another customer driven away from the city.”
Paul Craughan of O’Connell’s butchers said the fact his firm is on the pedestrianised Little Catherine Street means he relies on customers pulling in to the bays at neighbouring Thomas Street to pick up items.
“A large percentage of my customers expect to come along, pick up their goods and go back to their car,” said the butcher.
“There are no pick up points in our area, so we rely on people parking a couple of minutes,” he added.
But Mr McDermott said there is a degree of flexibility, which allows customers a ten minute grace period before a disc has to be displayed, and this includes customers using loading bays and bus stops in the city.
Cllr Kiely led calls from the chamber for free parking in December.
This has been backed by Nevil O’Sullivan of Nevil’s Shoes in O’Connell Street.
“In times of recession, you have to act accordingly and respond to what people want. It would give a great image that City Council is trying to entice people back into the city,” said the city retailer.