CONCERNS have been voiced in Killarney that camper vans and caravans are using town centre car parks and popular scenic areas as their overnight base rather than registered parks capable of providing all the facilities they need.
The public car parks at Beech Road and High Street have been particular magnets for the vehicles in recent weeks with many people opting to holiday at home this year rather than travelling by ferry to camping parks in places like France or Italy.
Ross Castle, Muckross Gardens and the back car park at Torc Waterfall are also popular stop-off spots and some camper vans have been observed parking overnight in hotel car parks or near public green areas – despite the fact that there are five registered official parks in Killarney.
There have been complaints that allowing them to set up in public areas is very unfair on registered caravan park owners who pay their rates to the local authorities, fees to the licensing authorities and employ staff during the summer months.
One local said he saw some camper van occupants using public toilets in a local car park to dispose of their waste from containers before they moved on from the area.
Barriers at the entrance to car parks, which are usually used to restrict the height of vehicles that can park there, have remained open in recent weeks.
The matter has also been raised with some local councillors and concerns have been raised that if anything should happen to the camper vans or the occupants when parked in public areas, it will be Kerry County Council or the OPW that could be left picking up the bill.
Popular camping websites have advised van and caravan owners not to park in areas where there are signs asking them to desist from doing so and to seek permission from landowners before they park anywhere near private property.
As the camper van owners pay road tax, they are entitled to utilise public car parks to park overnight but not if there are signs requesting them not to.
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