A GROUP of concerned traders in Killarney have today emailed Kerry County Council officials and elected members to voice their opposition to plans to pedestrianise Main Street at weekends for July and August, KillarneyToday.com can reveal.
They say they have concerns about the Safe Streets – Safe Town – Safe County plan and what the proposed closure of the street from Saturday morning to Monday morning might lead to.
In the communication sent to the council, the traders said their experience of neighbouring streets last summer and what has been observed recently in other parts of the country is that the street closure would cause anti-social behaviour and on-street drinking rather than ensure that members of the public are socially distanced in a safe, family environment.
“As traders on this street and neighbouring ones, we have seen gatherings of people watching music while drinking pints like they are at a music festival when, in fact, they are blocking existing retail businesses from trading in a safe way and creating an environment that is not shopper friendly, family friendly or complying with public health guidelines,” the said.
The concerned traders – who call themselves the Killarney Town Centre Retail Action Group – attached a video of activity on Plunkett Street during the course of the June bank holiday weekend showing a busker and people consuming alcohol on the streets.
The letter to the local authority states: “Given that our neighbouring county of Limerick is currently in a serious situation with Covid-19 numbers, we should be remaining cautious with this volatile situation.
“We fear that there will be similar incidents to last summer that attracted national and international negative publicity for Killarney”.
The businesses said they also have concerns about the negative impact on traffic the street closure would cause and Main Street is an essential artery in the town.
“We are calling for this proposal to be abandoned immediately as we feel it will do the opposite of what the Safe Streets – Safe Town – Safe County plan is supposed to be all about,” it states in the email which is signed by over 30 businesses from all streets in the town.
The council had planned to close Main Street to traffic from 11.00am on Saturdays to 8.00am on Mondays for the busiest two months of the year.