Sinn Féin deputy Gerry Adams and Ardee Town Councillor Pearse McGeough have met with the Ardee Traders Association to discuss the commercial rates issue and in particular the decision by Joe McGuinness, Ardee Area Manager for Louth County Council, to end the pay-parking pilot scheme in the town on 6 August.
After the meeting with the traders, they spoke to acting County Manager Joan Martin and she agreed to put the issue back on the agenda for discussion with Louth County Council officials.
Mr Adams said small businesses in towns the length and breadth of the country are suffering from the ongoing economic crisis.
“Small and medium sized business is the economic backbone of the economy and is the largest employer in the state,” he said. “Over recent years many town centre based businesses have closed or paid off staff.
“In Ardee the Traders Association represents over a hundred members and they are very concerned at the decision to end the pilot pay-parking scheme. Under this scheme shoppers get one hour free parking each morning and a half day free on Saturdays. Traders say this has helped encourage shoppers back into the town and has boosted business.
“Time limited free parking schemes are a feature of other small and large towns trying to encourage shoppers back into them.
“While there is obviously a small cost to the council in terms of lost parking fees in the longer term, the current pilot scheme builds business confidence, encourages shoppers and helps traders make the money necessary to pay their rates and staff wages.
“I have urged the Louth County Manager to review the decision to end the scheme and to discuss with the Ardee Traders Association and other similar bodies what initiatives can be taken to encourage the rejuvenation of our towns,” Mr Adams said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Adams and local representative Eimear Ferguson met Bernadette Shevlin, the Director of Services at St Mary’s, Drumcar. The focus of their
conversation was the significant shortfall in funding by the HSE which has led St Mary’s to announce significant cuts to its
Mr Adams accused the government of pursuing austerity policies which are denying citizens basic health services.