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Angry locals want centre of Malahide reopened to traffic

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Local woman Mary Lynch on New Street, Malahide, which has been closed to traffic and bicycles since June

Local woman Mary Lynch on New Street, Malahide, which has been closed to traffic and bicycles since June

Local woman Mary Lynch on New Street, Malahide, which has been closed to traffic and bicycles since June

A pilot project to pedestrianise parts of Malahide has met with a wave of opposition from residents, who claim it will destroy local businesses and put jobs at risk.

Fingal County Council has said the ban on cars driving down New Street was a move to encourage and facilitate social distancing while reducing traffic levels in the town centre.

However, residents of the northside suburb have begun the Save Malahide Village campaign to get the decision reversed, as they say it has had a disastrous effect on footfall.

Fifty-four businesses and homes around the main street are displaying posters in their windows to show their opposition to the traffic ban.

Contradictory

Malahide resident Nicola Byrne said it was "yet another example of planning by press release" by Fingal County Council.

She said the local authority closed the street on June 15 "without notice".

"In doing so, it described many varying and often contradictory aims," she said.

"First it was a walking and cycling initiative, then a Covid protection scheme, later a public realm scheme, then a pedestrianisation scheme and, more recently, a repurposing initiative as an aid to business recovery."

However, it has resulted in distressed business owners worried about dropping footfall and increasing public order issues.

"We have huge issues. It's like a perfect storm," Ms Byrne said.

"We want a town that is shared for trade, tourism and residential use. It's a town that provides many services for many people.

"It's a functioning town of multiple uses. We have residents, the health centre, shops and pubs and restaurants on New Street.

"When it's running normally, everybody uses the street at different times.

"The taxi rank that was there moved as well, which has caused some issues."

A spokesperson for Fingal County Council said it will be meeting stakeholders in Malahide next week to go through the alternative proposal.

"The pedestrianised New Street has been enjoyed by the community of Malahide and visitors to the village throughout the summer and has assisted businesses to keep trading during heightened Covid-19 restrictions," it said in a statement.

"The purpose of introducing pedestrianisation on New Street was to encourage and facilitate social-distancing for citizens going about their daily business and to decrease traffic levels in the centre of Malahide by encouraging people to walk or cycle from their homes or use the nearby car parks and walk from there."