Plan to end free Howth parking 'will raise €400k'
A NEW plan for pay-and-display parking charges at Howth Harbour would be unwelcome, a local TD has warned.
New proposals to introducing charges for motorists at the harbour were cited in an official report that declared up to €400,000 could be raised for the harbour authorities.
Dublin North East TD Tommy Broughan said there was "no case whatever" for imposing charges, as a cost-benefit analysis would show charges would create many difficulties for local businesses.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which has overall responsibility for the harbour, has "a new plan for the introduction of paid parking" which is currently "under consideration," according to a statement by the Department to the Comptroller and Auditor General.
The Comptroller stated that between €250,000 and €400,000 could be raised if charges were introduced for the 540 car parking spaces at Howth Harbour.
The Comptroller stated: "The Department has experienced difficulties in generating a return from the use of car parking facilities at some harbours."
The introduction of car parking at Howth was originally examined by the Department in 2007, in conjunction with Fingal County Council, in the context of a proposed Howth Traffic and Parking Management Plan.
The project did not proceed after traffic plan was withdrawn following a year of preparation and public consultation.
There was strong local objection to the plan - a range of recreational users of the harbour are accustomed to using the car park free of charge.
A Department spokesperson said: "The question of paid car parking in Howth Fishery Harbour Centre remains under active review and the views of the Comptroller and Auditor General will be considered in making any final decision.
"The safe operation of the Harbour is of paramount concern, in this context, traffic management and parking is recognised as an issue."
Mr Broughan said introducing parking charges at the harbour would result in less people visiting the area and local businesses would suffer.
He said parking charges at Dun Laoghaire Harbour had a negative impact on the local businesses.
Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: "The people of Howth should absolutely resist any attempt to introduce charges that would damage a vibrant community.
"Parking charges introduced in Dun Laoghaire on the streets and in the harbour were an utter disaster which resulted in a terrifying decline of small businesses in the town. It was a classic example of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face in seeking short-term revenue with long-term damage to economic welfare. Howth must say no.
"The Comptroller has overstepped the mark in suggesting charges for Howth," he added.
The Department has argued that Howth parking spaces were being mainly used by park-and-ride commuters.