On 29th July last, there was a funeral at St. Mary’s Church, Maynooth. This is not an unusual event in itself but what was unusual was that the funeral was larger than normal and from early in the morning, drivers began to park their vehicles on the footpaths and shared paths on the Kilcock and Moyglare Roads.
Members of An Garda Siochana were observed on duty adjacent to Manor Mills. It was assumed that they were taking action on the illegal parking. However, it turned out that rather than actively enforcing the law, they were merely onlooking as drivers parked cars illegally as far as Aldi on the Kilcock Road and the entrance to Mariavilla on the Moyglare Road.
Such drivers have an inflated sense of entitlement to park wherever they want. It is not just a temporary inconvenience to pedestrians and cyclists – it has resulted in fatalities elsewhere. Parking on footpath and cycle facilities is illegal under Irish road traffic legislation and begs the question was there an alternative to the Gardaí acquiescing in drivers breaking the law? Of course there were alternatives. Drivers could have parked in any of the following locations:
- In the Leinster Street carpark which was adjacent to the Funeral Home.
- In Manor Mills carpark
- In Aldi’s carpark
- In the teachers’ car park attached to St. Mary’s Boys School
- In the car park attached to the Maynooth Post Primary school grounds
- In Maynooth University’s several car parks
- In St. Patrick’s University several car parks
Admittedly, some of these premises are privately owned as opposed to publicly owned and others would not be available for much of a normal year. However, as can be seen from the above photographs which were taken on the day, several were available so the Gardaí could have directed drivers to park legally but failed to do so.
Since then, Maynooth Cycling Campaign has emailed the Gardaí in Leixlip on more than one occasion looking for information on how many tickets were issued for illegal parking in Maynooth on the 29th July and more generally in Kildare in 2020. We are still waiting a response or even acknowledgement. At the recent meeting of Kildare County Council’s Joint Policing Committee, Maynooth Cycling Campaign also raised the issue through a question to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Unfortunately, due to the meeting on Zoom rather than in person, the question was asked via a third party. This resulted in the question being inaccurately relayed to the Commissioner so his response failed to address the issue. On the bright side, according to the Chief Superintendent John Scanlan, the new Superintendent in Leixlip will be in contact with us in the near future.