Police and priest tell Massgoers to park responsibly

Car parked in North St blocking the entrance to Oakleigh Fold during Mass at St Peter's Church last weekend
Car parked in North St blocking the entrance to Oakleigh Fold during Mass at St Peter's Church last weekend

Inconvenience and potential danger is being caused to residents of sheltered housing by inconsiderate drivers parking outside a Lurgan church.

At weekends particularly, residents of Oakleigh Fold feel like prisoners in their own homes as cars are parked indiscriminately along North Street, with some blocking the entrance to the Fold.

Resident Maggie O’Neill has become alarmed at the brazenness of some Massgoers to St Peter’s Church who, she says, think it is OK to park just anywhere while they attend services.

She is particularly upset at some drivers who park on the pavement.

“It means that some residents who use wheelchairs are unable to use the pavement and have been forced onto the road. This is extremely dangerous,” said the volunteer worker.

Maggie said she has been in contact with the police and the local clergy to complain about the indiscriminate parking.

“It is disgraceful. What happens if one of the elderly residents needs an ambulance or there is a fire? With the kind of parking that has been going on, no fire engine or ambulance would be able to get into Oakleigh,” she said, adding that despite pleas from previous parish priests, requests to park responsibly were ignored.

Parish Priest Canon Liam Stevenson has issued a statement to be read out at all Masses last weekend. He said: “I refer again to the problem of illegal parking outside St Peter’s Church, North St. It is illegal to park on the chevron road markings 15 metres on each side of the pedestrian crossing. It is also illegal to park at the entrance or inside the grounds of Oakleigh Fold. This is private property. I ask our parishioners to be respectful of the rules of the road and of the rights of our neighbours in Oakleigh Fold. The relevant authorities are well aware of these difficulties.

“I have been shocked to learn about the death of one of our parishioners outside our church in recent years. I remind you that North St Car Park is available free of charge for all weekend Masses.”

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Local police in Lurgan have noted concerns of residents in the North Street area concerning parking.

“Officers want to advise motorists about the potential dangers such issues can pose and to encourage them to be considerate to other road users and pedestrians when parking in this area.

“Persistent obstructive or dangerous parking will result in appropriate action being taken.