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LACK OF FUNDING has prevented the commencement of a new measure to assist disabled drivers find available parking spaces.

Vacant accessible spaces can be pinpointed on the SpaceFinder app which is available on Apple and Android with motorists that have Apple CarPlay able to avail of real-time navigation to the nearest available spot.

In December, Limerick City and County Council following extensive trials in the pilot phase became the first local authority in Ireland to begin using the SpaceFinder service, which has been developed by Limerick firm ParkMagic and is now supported by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI).

Calls to see the Ennis Municipal District follow the Limerick lead were voiced by Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) at a recent meeting. “This could be a crucial part of our Mobility Plan, it is something I would like to see supported going forward”. He felt its addition would make Ennis “more inclusive and friendly for mobility”.

Senior executive officer, Leonore O’Neill confirmed that its implementation was previously explored in the Ennis MD. “Unfortunately, a source of funding was not available to implement the solution,” she outlined.

Limerick’s decision to advance the measure was “very progressive,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) maintained. Card payments need to be introduced across the county, she felt. “We talked about parking as key challenge, we have a chance to bring in more revenue. Sometimes I go around with no cash or coins because it is all tap tap tap,” the Quin native said.

Potential of the SpaceFinder app must be recognised, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) commented, “it would be great to become the second major town to develop it”.

Mayor of the Ennis MD, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) welcomed the proposal, “it is a very modern idea”. She flagged that issues relating to the allocation of the blue permit to use disability parking spaces exist.

Concluding the discussion, Ms O’Neill said she was “happy to discuss costings at a later meeting”. The Ennis MD explored a proposal similar to the SpaceFinder technology, she added. Alternative methods to using cash in paying for parking in Clare can be used via the ParkMagic App, she said.

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