Fine Gael councillor Mary Howard has called on Clare County Council to follow the example of its Cork counterpart by providing “age-friendly” parking spaces.
According to Cllr Howard the new parking initiative has been designed to help older people get around and access services more easily.
A number of parking bays in Cork are designated “Age-friendly”, similar to mother and child parking places in supermarkets. While subject to normal parking charges, it is hoped motorists will leave the spaces free as a courtesy to older people.
While acknowledging the merits of the idea, Clare’s senior engineer Tom Tiernan said it although it has had a reasonably positive impact, it has no basis in law and cannot be enforced. He suggested Clare County Council might consider developing a policy around the motion.
According to Cllr Howard, Ireland’s over-65s will increase significantly to 1.4 million by 2040 or 23% of the total population.
This has implications for policymakers across housing, health, urban & rural planning, transport, policing, the workplace and in the business environment.
Cllr Howard noted that Clare County Council signed up to the Dublin Declaration on Age-Friendly Cities & Communities in Europe, and formally adopted the programme in 2014
She said that Government traditionally viewed older people as a challenge to the sustainability of the public finances due to implications for health, care and pension costs.
“While these challenges do exist there are also very considerable benefits to be gained from an ageing population. With a lifetime of expertise, talents and wisdom, older people have a major role to play in making their communities great places for everyone to live and work in and ensuring Ireland is future proofed for the rapid growth in the ageing population.”
The concept of Age-Friendly Parking aims to provide dedicated parking for older persons and has been identified in a number of studies. Designated public parking near the desired destinations, increases accessibility and usage of public and other essential services.