Politicians in row over parking fees

TWO unionist MLAs are at loggerheads over parking charges in the town.

Upper Bann DUP MLA Stephen Moutray has called on the UUP’s Jo-Anne Dobson to “see the error of her way” over increased parking charges in Lurgan.

Alderman Moutray who is also a member of the Assembly DRD Committee said: “This is an issue that I have received much representation on from Lurgan, Portadown and Banbridge and I am unequivocal in my belief that Minister Kennedy’s decision to implement car parking charges in many car parks right across the Borough was quite frankly the wrong decision.

“It has affected businesses, and is a deterrent to customers to enter our town centres. At a time when businesses are struggling this is an added blow. The power to overturn this decision lies solely at the feet of Minister Danny Kennedy and I call on him publicly to do a U-Turn, listen to the public, hear the concerns of businesses and do the right thing by our local economy.

“I and my party colleagues have fiercely opposed this implementation right from it was first sounded by the Minister at Stormont, and in Council, and we will continue to do so until common sense prevails and the charges removed.

“As a member of the DRD committee I will continue to use that forum to highlight the follies of this decision and the detrimental affect it is having on our town centres particularly at a time when many businesses are struggling for survival. In addition I trust that Mrs Dobson MLA will also see the errors of her way given that she has supported this implementation at Stormont.”

Responding to the DUP MLA’s comments Mrs Dobson said: “I will take no lectures from Stephen Moutray. As a member of the Regional Development Committee Mr Moutray will be fully aware of the tight budgetary situation within this Department. A budget which he and his party colleagues voted for and I and my party colleagues voted against. It is more than a little rich to complain about the consequences of your actions.

“I trust that Mr Moutray and his DUP colleagues, who I hear constantly calling for Unionist Unity, will join with me in lobbying his DUP colleague, the Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to revise this DRD budget and properly fund this Department.

“It is very easy to pen an attack in the newspapers, all too easy for some, however the real measure of political success is to work to achieve positive results for your constituents. I have responded to the concerns of my constituents, including members of local chambers of commerce, not through personal attacks on others in the newspapers, but by facilitating meetings between Minister Kennedy and others. Something which I will continue to do with issues involving other Ministers, with whom, Mr Moutray correctly points out, the power to overturn decisions solely lies.”