By Ronan Dodd
TEMPLEMORE councillors want the town council to line the car park at the town’s church and to take action against caravan owners who are parked in the area.
“The caravans at the church are an absolute nuisance,” Cllr Mick Connell told this month’s meeting. “You have youngsters there with racing cars. There were people there sunbathing on the wall. I know they are entitled to sunbathe, but it is a place of worship.”
He called for the road and car parking to be clearly defined at the church, a call that was backed by his fellow councillors. “If they weren’t who they are, they’d be prosecuted,” he said.
Cllr Connell said that on Easter Saturday people could not get into their cars because they were afraid of a horse that was tied to the parking sign, and that a sulkie was parked up against the wall.
Cllr Jim O’Shea stated that horses were fouling the area and called for the law to be invoked against their owners.
Cllr Maura Byrne said that there was “loud music from boy racers” in the area. “They are taking over the whole place. An elderly woman had to ask me to help her out from 10am Mass.”
Cllr Marcus Wilson wondered if the caravan owners were “intimidating the council into giving them accommodation”.
He warned that there was the potential for a serious accident in the area because “horses are running around on the main road. Somebody will hit a horse and end up paying for the horse.”
Cllr Valerie Young said that the owners were causing disorder and wondered if the Gardai could not move them on.
Mayor Joe Bourke pointed out that once they owners were moved, they will become a problem elsewhere.
Town clerk Tom McGrath told councillors that the matter was taking longer than envisaged in going to court, but that he hoped to be taking action within the next two weeks.
He said that he would prefer to see prosecutions under stronger legislation that illegal parking because the fines were greater.
“I accept that people have a difficulty with the caravans being parked there, but before the caravans arrived cars were being parked there. Driver behaviour wasn’t great. The bottom line is that we deal with the situation, line the area and enforce the laws,” he said.
But Mr McGrath warned that anybody who the council takes on maintains that they are victims - “even those who get parking tickets down town”.