ENNISClare County Council has announced the introduction of free parking initiatives on a trial basis in Ennis and Kilrush.

Two-hour free parking is being made available in Kilrush while free parking is also being provided in the Council’s car parks in Ennis from 2.00 p.m. each Saturday.  Parking charges will continue to apply to on-street car parking in Ennis.

The incentives were proposed at today’s May Monthly Meeting of Clare County Council where they received the unanimous backing of Elected Members. Both schemes will operate on a trial period from 1st June to the end of September 2015.

Cllr. John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council said: “Providing quality access and convenient parking is instrumental in presenting our main towns as attractive and vibrant shopping locations. I welcome the Council’s introduction of these incentives which should now act as an additional stimulus to activity in both Ennis and Kilrush and encourage greater retail activity in the towns.”

Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Johnny Flynn said: “As the Clare County Capital, Ennis is the driver of economic growth for the rest of the county and when it is thriving so does the rest of Clare.  The business community has shown tremendous initiative during the tough operating environment of recent years, and it is great to see the Council showing its continued support for increasing footfall in the town and providing any struggling businesses with an extra boost.”

Ennis Chamber of Commerce President, Pat Morris welcomed the free parking initiative as “a step in the right direction”, adding that it would give consumers easier access to the town’s shopping facilities and tourist attractions.

“Any initiative that seeks to encourage greater numbers of people into the heart of the town is very much welcomed, particularly during the height of the tourism season. The key focus of this parking scheme is on promoting the town and is part of an ongoing, proactive collaborative effort by the Council and traders to send out the message that Ennis is very much open to business,” he added.

Kilrush Chamber of Commerce President, Mairead O’Brien commented: “The two-hour free parking incentive will accommodate visitors to Kilrush, increase footfall on the streets of the town and boost consumer spending. I am confident that this trial scheme will prove to be hugely popular amongst businesses and visitors to the town just based on the success of a similar scheme in Kilrush at Christmas. I call on the people of Kilrush and the wider West Clare area to avail of the free parking scheme and to show their support for local businesses.”

Clare County Council says the decision to introduce the incentives arises from discussions at meetings of the Members for the Ennis Municipal District and the West Clare Municipal District, culminating in the approval of the County’s Elected Members at today’s Monthly Meeting.