Business in Killarney town centre is down over 25% this year.
That’s according to councillors Niall Botty O’Callaghan and Donal Grady who are calling for Kerry County Council to reverse the pedestrianisation of Plunkett Street.
It was agreed to pedestrianise the street from 7pm to 7am on a permanent basis last year.
Both councillors called for it to be reopened, saying it was vital for the town’s businesses.
Cllr Niall O’Callaghan, whose family business is on College Street, asked the council to open the street at the earliest opportunity.
He claimed business in College Street is down 25%, adding this pedestrianisation isn’t working for businesses and said it’s vital to open it to increase footfall.
He says his issue is with the barrier, rather than the pedestrianisation itself, saying people are stopping once they reach the barrier and not progressing further up the street; he says once a proper plan is in place he has no issue with the pedestrianisation.
Cllr Donal Grady also called for the pedestrianisation to be reversed. He claimed businesses were down 40% last year.
However, Cllr Brendan Cronin said having cars stuck in traffic won’t increase the amount of money being spent or create footfall; he said he sees thousands of people walking past the barrier each night.
He cited Brexit as a reason for a drop in the numbers of UK tourists.
The council’s director of services, John Breen agreed to look at the existing barrier to find ways to improve it immediately.
The council is carrying out a survey among businesses on the issue and councillors agreed to review the matter in September once the survey’s completed.