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Free Saturday parking agreed in Portlaoise throughout month of December

Good news for Portlaoise as 45 minutes free parking approved

There will be free parking available in Portlaoise town centre on the four Saturdays in December in the leadup to Christmas.

It was announced at the Portlaoise Municipal District in Laois County Council that the Christmas parking scheme would be rolled out on Saturday, December 10, 17 and 24 – but following pleas from the councillors it was also agreed to put it in place for Saturday, December 10.

In order to encourage a turnover of people, the parking will only be free for a two-hour period, though shoppers can simply move their car to another vacant space.

The discussion was on the back of a motion from Cllr Thomasina Connell who was calling for the scheme to “incentivise our community to shop local”.

“We’re clear of Covid now and we want to utilise the scheme to get people back shopping in our local town,” said Cllr Connell.

Cllr Connell’s motion was supported by Cllrs Willie Aird, Catherine Fitzgerald and Caroline Dwane-Stanley.

“It’s great for businesses in the tow and I’d encourage everyone to shop local if they can,” added Cllr Fitzgerald.

Cllr Caroline Dwane-Stanley added that with Christmas Eve falling on Saturday, Traffic Wardens should apply leniency on that day: “We don’t want to be giving out tickets on Christmas Eve,” she said.

And Cllr Aird appealed for “common sense” to be applied to traders in the run up to Christmas as they come and go from their premises.

He referenced a recent situation where a business owner was issued with a parking ticket as they were using a different vehicle than usual and didn’t have their permit displayed.

“People are back paying rates now and it’s very difficult for businesses (around Main Street and Lyster Square) to compete with parts of town where there is free parking.

“We’re trying to help keep businesses open and we should be co-operating with the businesses. Can we please use common sense as you can turn people sour very quickly.”

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. Husband of Emily, father of William, Lillian and John, he's happiest when he's telling stories