Car-free streets bringing life back to Irish towns

Car-Free Streets Bringing Life Back To Irish Towns
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Muireann Duffy
The pedestrianisation of streets around the country due to Covid-19 has brought life to back into town centres.

Streets in towns such as Ennis in Co Clare and Malahide in Dublin stopped vehicles passing through the town centre to allow for social distancing.

In Princes Street in Cork, cafes and restaurants were given permission to set up outdoor dining areas to increase the number of customers they could serve while adhering to public health guidelines.


The trial extension of pedestrian measures in Dublin City Centre recently has also been a success, with a survey from Dublin City Council finding there was up to 100 per cent increases in business in the affected areas.

As many town centres have noted decreased footfall in recent years, the move to adopt pedestrianisation has been welcomed by business owners, with more town’s calling for the same measures to be taken.

In Mayo, Councillor Mark Duffy has been calling for the pedestrianisation of Pearse Street, saying the decision could make the town safer and more accessible.

Partner Director, Cormac O’Sullivan at DNG O’Sullivan Hurley in Ennis says while the pedestrianisation of the town’s main streets is being enjoyed, it will take some time to see if the measures are beneficial to businesses.

“It will be a twelve-month process for us to really be able to see how good and beneficial this has been for the customers and for the retailers and how it has impacted their businesses, positively or negatively.


“When you take Ennis, which is a typical historic, market town, which has its narrow streets, it can have a different impact,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“You then have to look at where’s the parking availability and how is it for people to access some of the services.

“In Ennis you may have to look at a staggered pedestination period, just so you can facilitate those who do need to have vehicular access to the main streets,” he added.

“We are still in very uncertain times in terms of Covid-19 and whether or not that is going to continue to be influential over the next 12, 18 or 24 months.

“People are realising that they have to move on, and part of that is new businesses looking to open during these times, and perhaps it’s the pedestrianisation that has encouraged them to do that.”

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