Bailie Hits Out At Towns Traffic Wardens

Downpatrick Sinn Féin Councillor Naomi Bailie has said parking in the County Down town urgently needs to be addressed.

Her comments come after a tour operator reportedly received a parking ticket after parking a visitor coach on English Street.

The coach which was filled with tourists visiting the town was issued a parking ticket after a ten minute stint outside local hotel Denvirs.

Visitors to Downpatrick are dumfounded as their bus gets a ticket from a traffic warden.
Visitors to Downpatrick are dumfounded as their bus gets a ticket from a traffic warden.

Councillor Bailie said the issuing of the ticket was heavy-handed and wardens in the town needed to show more flexibility in their application.

She said: “Tourism is the backbone of Downpatrick and the one industry that could potentially put Downpatrick on a world scale in years to come. We are working really hard in the Council with agencies right across this sector to ensure the county town is marketed to its full potential and given every chance of becoming a unique Mecca site for St Patrick and Irish history enthusiasts.

“Incidents of this nature fly in the face if all that work. Government agencies in the town must Work alongside us to build and promote our tourism product, not work against us.

“It’s extremely disappointing to see this happening. I fully appreciate that the wardens have a job to do and in this instance where applying the law correctly, but I believe the issuing of this ticket was heavy handed and the matter could have and should have been dealt with differently. Wardens need to apply flexibility and need to be wary of the huge long term damage they will cause our town if issues like this continue to stain visitor experiences.

“I will be contacting the coach company to offer my support and assisting them in attempting to appeal the ticket. Coach companies and visitors are very welcome in Downpatrick and I would hate to see this experience put out the wrong message.

“We have a unique and first class set of tourist hotspots in the town including the museum, Arts Centre, St.Patrick’s Grave and the St Patrick Centre, all of which sit within a very small area and have restricted parking availability nearby.

“There is a need to urgently review the parking situation in the town to ensure adequate parking provision to accommodate the increasing numbers of visitors to Downpatrick. I will be prioritising this matter both in Council and in working alongside the new Minister Chris Hazzard in the coming months,” added Councillor Bailie.