Irish Open Newcastle car parking concerns raised over funerals, shoppers and dog walkers

An image of Rory McIlroy with the 2016 Irish Open at the K Club in 2016
-Credit: (Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer)

Car parking approval for the Irish Open at Royal Co Down Golf Club has raised concerns over funerals, dog walkers and shoppers.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council's (NMDDC) environment committee has this week signed off on providing three carparking zones in Newcastle for the September event.
However, the council has been tasked with reviewing the plan to accommodate a nearby Catholic church and the town's shopping district.

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Crotlieve Sinn Fein rep, Mickey Ruane said: "My party colleague Cllr Willie Clarke, who lives in Newcastle, has raised concerns about the whole Downs Road carpark being used just for golf visitors. Businesses use this main car park as well as shoppers.

"He is suggesting half of Downs Road carpark, Donard Park green area and Island's car park with a caveat for a small designated area for dog walkers."
The parking areas recommended by the council report include, Donard Park upper grass area, Downs Road carpark and the Downs Road grass area.
World number two and Co Down native Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will play at Irish Open, which is estimated to attract approximately 16,000 spectators a day from September 12-15.
Downpatrick Alliance cllr, Cadogan Enright alluded to the local "Catholic church having 500 people going to Mass on a Sunday" with the added traffic concerns over a potential funeral having to take place over the period of the event.
Mournes DUP cllr, Henry Reilly added: "I attended the working group on the Irish Open and I was actually very impressed with the forward planning going on, where these issues have been raised.
"There has been concern over the funeral aspect with officers seeking to work with the parish. The fact that the Donard Park is being used will mean people will be walking through the town and that will hopefully help local retailers and pop-up shops.
"I think that most of the anxiety over parking will be resolved, but the concerns with the church is very important and we should seek assurances."
A council officer told the chamber that talks had been taking place with the church with a designated use for parishioners highlighted.
A proposal to accept the officers carpark recommendations was passed with a request that the issues raised would first be resolved.

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