PARKING spaces for the elderly are to be included in future street plans by the County Council for Skibbereen, Bandon and by the pier in Bantry.
The spaces are to cater for a projected increase in population age over the next number of years.
Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Hayes raised a motion at a recent meeting of the Western Committee in Clonakilty calling for parking spaces to be provided near public buildings that are frequented by elderly people, such as post offices, libraries and churches. Cllr Hayes pointed out that Carlow, Kilkenny and Limerick councils have already implemented similar schemes and he hopes that it would be included in other towns in West Cork, too.
‘Recent CSO figures show that there will be a dramatic increase in population age in the next number of years and the Council and other bodies need to be cognisant of these changes coming down the track,’ said Cllr Hayes.
‘There are currently 540,000 people over the age of 65 in Ireland which accounts for 12% of the total population.
However, this is set to rise to 1.4m, or 22% of the total population, by 2041.
Cllr Hayes pointed added that while the projected changes are striking, the changes for those aged 80 years and over are even more dramatic.
‘Over the same 30-year period, the number of people aged 80 years and over in Ireland is projected to rise from 130,600 to 458,000 which is an increase of 250%.’
These figures are taken from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA 2014) and Cllr Hayes said ‘ageing on this scale in unprecedented in Irish history’.
‘The idea is that these parking spaces will not be policed but will be similar to the parent and child courtesy car parking spaces in supermarkets. I’m hoping that people will do the right thing and not park in them if they do not consider themselves old,’ added Cllr Hayes.