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Council offer of free car parking on car-free day criticised

Campaigners have condemned a council in Ireland for offering free car parking “to mark European Mobility Week”, a week which is associated with ‘car-free day’ and promoting a reduction of car use.

According to the EU website for European Mobility Week, the aim of the week includes to “find innovative solutions to reduce car-use.” European car-free day is on Friday, but Galway County Council is promising free car parking on that day.

It is not among the just three Irish councils who are taking part in car-free day, which requires councils to close off at least one street to cars for most of the day.

Galway County Council tweeted yesterday: “#FREE Parking in #GalwayCoCo Car Parks on Friday 22/9/17 to mark European Mobility Week. Cycle, walk or carpool.” Today the local authority also posted about its free parking offer on Facebook, it said: “#FREE parking in Galway County Council Car Parks this Friday 22nd September to mark European Mobility Week 2017″.

The Galway Cycling Campaign said that the council was “deliberately misleading the public” on the very simple idea of the week.

“The Galway Cycling Campaign condemn Galway County Council for deliberately misleading the public on the very simple idea of what European Mobility Week is all about. Providing free car parking goes completely against the aims and objectives of this European wide project,” said Oisin O Nidh, a spokesperson for the Galway Cycling Campaign.

He added: “What next, the Department of Health giving away free cigarettes during Lung Cancer Awareness week?”, the EU website for European Mobility Week, lists Galway County Council under the town of Athenry, Co. Galway. The council promised to: “Providing free parking in conjunction with Irish Rail to encourage people to walk to work/school and use public transport as much as possible.”

A total of 14 councils across Ireland are taking part in European Mobility Week, details of their participation can be found at

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Cian Ginty


  1. I don’t think they are misleading people. I think they are just thick. They genuinely don’t get the point of mobility week. They are so car focused that the notion of people leaving their cars at home just didn’t cross their minds. In their minds, people walking means driving in to town, leaving your car in a car park and walking from there.


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