Fianna Fáil councillor Stephen McKee, one of just three members to vote against a permanent ban on car parking on Bettystown beach, has told Meath Live that while those against the ban may have lost the first battle the war is far from over.
He revealed, ‘Okay it will be an uphill struggle, the 27 councillors who supported the motion to ban parking are not going to change their minds overnight but when the public makes them aware of the real difficulties they face through lack of alternative parking they may have reason to think again.
‘Remember this is just a motion that has been passed, nothing more nothing less, it is possible that at some point in the future a motion with a slightly different approach can be put forward,’
The Duleek based McKee added, ‘My own view is that it has been fantastic for so many local people to be able to enjoy a car-free beach over the last 18 months or so, but the Council ban on parking on Bettystown beach is flawed as suitable alternative parking is still not in place for those visiting from outside the Bettystown/Laytown area who don’t live within walking distance of the beach.’
‘We need to ensure that Bettystown and Laytown beaches are fully accessible to all including for those with disabilities, special needs and the elderly. Those who have a disability and the elderly should be allowed to park on the beach in a properly regulated and safe way and on an appropriately sized section that is managed. The current arrangement is not adequate to meet those needs. I believe that there is scope to provide a well-managed and regulated family-parking area on the beach. This would benefit not only families but also local business too. We have plenty of space for it.’
‘We also need to do all we can to encourage people from all across the area and beyond to visit our beautiful beaches and support the local economy as it tries to get back on its feet. Simply banning cars without first putting in viable alternative parking options for people is not the answer. Doing so has had unintended consequences such as the diversion of traffic further up to Mornington, leading to traffic nuisance for residents on the Crook Road and other areas and environmental damage to the Dunes Special Area of Conservation.’
‘I will continue to represent the views of those who feel excluded from the beach, local businesses who have been negatively affected by a reduction in visitors coming to Bettystown beach, and residents in neighbouring areas impacted by an increase in illegal parking and a reduction in their quality of life’ concluded McKee.