*Photograph: Páraic McMahon
A loss of income in the region of €1.3m has been estimated by officials within Clare County Council over the absence of parking fees during COVID-19.
At the height of public health restrictions when personnel were unable to move past 2km or 5km of their homes and with the encouragement of individuals to work from home where possible, traffic and footfall was almost non-existent throughout the county.
Addressing the June meeting of the local authority, Head of Finance, Noeleen Fitzgerald revealed that there has been “a significant drop in income” to the Council’s coffers. Parking was one such area where the impact to their pockets has been felt with Ms Fitzgerald calculating that they would be down €1.3m in this alone.
Clare County Council operates pay and display parking in Ennis, Kilkee, Lahinch, Kilrush, Doolin Pier and Sixmilebridge.
Collection of commercial rates have been deferred. Last year there had been 87% collection of rates which is compared with “75% five years ago”. She added, “For every €9 out of €10 we are billing, we are collecting”.
Equating with their current financial position with that of 2018, Noeleen admitted, “We’re down about €2m”. All legal proceedings on the Council’s behalf have been stood down during the pandemic, she said.