Shortly before Christmas, people in Athlone needlessly paid hundreds of euro in parking fees because they were not aware of a ‘free parking’ scheme in effect at the time - and because the parking machines were not switched off.
The council collected almost €700 in parking fees at Athlone’s Fairgreen carpark on December 21 last - one of the days when free parking was being offered there and in other council cark parks to help boost local trade during the busy festive period.
Cllr Frankie Keena recently asked Westmeath County Council how much had been collected in parking fees at Athlone’s Fairgreen car park on the date in question, “as some people did not see the free parking signs.”
The local authority’s written reply revealed that a large number of people were not aware of the free parking scheme and continued to put money into the machine for their parking that day.
“Athlone Town Council resolved to permit free parking in Athlone on a number of days prior to Christmas and this free parking was advertised extensively through the Athlone.ie website, local press, etc,” said the council in response to the question.
“The receipts for the Fair Green carpark indicate income (of) €684 on December 21.”
The reply concluded by stating that Athlone Town Council had “recently established a sub-committee to examine all aspects of car parking in the town.”