A BUSINESS owner in Kinsale has described the timing of the ban on sandwich boards in the popular tourist town as ‘absolutely off the scale’.
Jerome Lordan, who has been operating Kinsale Harbour Cruises for over 20 years, said he was shocked to receive a letter on Monday morning telling him that he had five days to remove two of his sandwich boards in the town.
‘We heard nothing at all about it until we got the letters from the Council. The biggest crux is the timing of it, which is absolutely off the scale, especially as we’re in the middle of the busy tourist season,’ Jerome told The Southern Star.
The letter states that, on the recommendation of the town engineer, the use of sandwich boards on the public footpath or road within the town area is now prohibited. The current Development Plan states ‘the use of free-standing signs/advertising boards on the public footpath will not be permitted.’
It also took into consideration the Disability Act 2005 and architectural conservation guidelines for the town and concluded that any sandwich boards remaining on the public footpath would be removed by this Friday.
‘My business is non-static and off the cuff, and if you can’t see the boards advertising my business I would never survive. I have a sign outside the tourist office in the town where there is plenty of room, and is off the side of the footpath and I have another one off the Pier Road and they don’t obstruct anyone.’
‘I’ve been told that my sign at the middle slipway on the Pier Road isn’t within the remit of Cork County Council, so I am able to still use it, but I’m not allowed to have one at the tourist office,’ added Jeremy.
Dermot Ryan, who runs Kinsale Heritage Town Walks, also criticised the move. ‘It’s like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut,’ he said.
‘My display stand at the Tourist Office was agreed before with Kinsale Town Council, and I think this problem should be done on a case-by-case basis, as Kinsale is a busy tourist town and tourists should be able to see display signs once they’re safe,’ said Dermot.
Tomas O’Brien, chairman of Kinsale Chamber of Tourism & Business, said the timing of the letters is unfortunate and that it should have been done off-season and not during Kinsale’s busiest time of the year.
‘I think common sense will prevail, in particular to two businesses who depend on these signs to survive. But Kinsale is an ‘age-friendly’ town and there do seem to be too many sandwich boards up town,’ said Tomas.
Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said she sympathised with businesses like Jerome’s that don’t have fixed premises and that rely on these signs to promote and advertise themselves.
‘It was certainly hasty and I think we, along with Chamber members and officials from Cork County Council, need to come together and find a common ground and agree to some guidelines,’ said Cllr Coughlan.
While she agrees that the Council is upholding the law, and the fact that Kinsale is an ‘age-friendly’ town, it should be discussed after the summer season.
‘This issue has to be agreed on and we should not have a knee-jerk reaction to the problem.’