After years insisting it would never happen, councillors in West Mayo yesterday voted to introduce on-street car parking charges in Westport

The decision was carried by five votes to two. Former Westport town councillors Brendan Mulroy and Erris based Teresa Whelan voted against the introduction of charges.

The first hour of parking on the streets of Westport will now be free, but after that, motorists will have to buy a parking disc in local shops.

The controversial issue of parking charges was back on the agenda for yesterday's monthly meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District, which was held in Belmullet.

In June, councillors in West Mayo voted against the recommendation of Mayo County Council officials to introduce on-street parking charges in Westport.

This led to an extensive delay in paying out what’s termed the GMA funding - general municipal allocation - for local community groups and organisations right across the county.

Municipal authorities in Ballina, Castlebar and Claremorris  agreed to secure additional funding in carparking charges in their areas to meet GMA demands, but West Mayo refused to do the same until yesterday.

Then at yesterday’s meeting Westport-based Independent Councillor Christy Hyland - who had vehemently objected to on-street parking charges in the past - tabled a motion proposing parking charges, and the motion was carried.

Councillor Hyland initially argued he had not done a U-turn, but later admitted that it”may be”, but said the current situation could not continue and he had no choice.

After the meeting, Councillor Hyland told Midwest Newswhy he had tabled the  motion.

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