Friday, 26 December 2008

Roads Service Play Scrooge

It would be nice to be imparting some seasonal good cheer to the workers of the west end of Enniskillen, but unfortunately Roads Service reneged on their commitment to announce their decision in respect of Queen Street car park prior to Christmas.
The reason cited is that they now intend to undertake a survey of car park utilisation throughout the town. This has apparently been triggered by the influx of cross border shoppers into the town.
It has obviously escaped the notice of Roads Service that Asda (located at the opposite end of the town) is the magnet for these visitors, and that Queen Street car park logistically is of no advantage to them. Our own surveys of the adjacent P&D car park at Head Street show that there are adequate available spaces throughout the day (with the possible exception of the week or so in the lead up to Christmas).
Regrettably, it would appear that Roads Service is not interested in statistics (which we have freely exchanged with them), but would rather railroad their proposal through in relation to Queen Street.

A decision is now expected at the end of March.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Is a decision imminent?

There is increasing speculation that Roads Service will announce their decision in respect of the future status of Queen Street car park before the end of this current month (November).
EWPG would greatly welcome such a development as our group wish to see this matter resolved as expediently as possible. There is no creditable reason to proceed with the introduction of 'pay and display.' Our survey of the adjacent P&D car park at Head Street continues to show an abundance of available spaces throughout the day.
It is time for Roads Service to step back from the brink and to heed the collective voice of the town's workers.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

EWPG's mid-term break

EWPG decided to refrain from counting the parking spaces at Head Street during the week 27 October - 1 November on the grounds that it coincided with the mid-term break. Consequently the volume of traffic into the town during this period is greatly increased and is not in keeping with the norm.
Additionally on Saturday 1 November a Meccano exhibition at Enniskillen Library attracted visitors from far and near. Rest assured that we will recommence our survey in the coming weeks. However be warned that the lead up to Christmas will not present a true pattern of car park utilisation throughout the year. We can only hope that Roads Service is mindful of this fact as they set about correlating their own statistics.
At this juncture we would encourage Roads Service to reach a decision regarding the future status of Queen Street car park.

Friday, 24 October 2008

We've got it figured

One of the main planks of the Roads Service argument for introducing 'pay & display' at Queen Street car park is that the adjacent 'p & d' car park at Head Street (58 spaces) is often filled to capacity. EWPG counted the empty spaces in Head Street car park three times per day from 6 - 18 October and found the Roads Service claim to be far removed from reality. Indeed we have even forwarded our findings to a representative of Roads Service. The format of this blog does not facilitate the presentation of these figures in spreadsheet form, but anyone interested in obtaining them can contact us via email and we will gladly forward the information.
Alternatively you can read the coverage in our local newspapers:
How much longer is Roads Service going to attempt to defend the indefensible? There is no creditable reason for altering the status of Queen Street car park and they know it.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

The Facts of Living

The Impartial Reporter (02-10-08) includes an article on the Public Information Event that was held in relation to Queen Street Car Park. During the course of this story reference is made to the fact that the cost of living has increased by £46 per week since September 2007. This info was provided to EWPG by the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland. Should you wish to obtain a more detailed insight as to how the Consumer Council arrived at this figure then you may do so by clicking on the link below:
(Cost of living - September 2008 figures)
In view of these alarming statistics, how can Roads Service possibly contemplate proposing to increase the financial burden upon workers even further? It's time for Roads Service to rethink their proposal.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

It Doesn't Stack Up

During the course of the Public Information Event, held in Enniskillen Library on 29 September, a Roads Service representative claimed that the proposal to introduce 'pay & display' at Queen Street Car Park is in direct response to a request from the town's traders. This was immediately refuted by Desi Quinn.
A report in the Fermanagh Herald (30-01-08) of a public meeting held in Enniskillen Townhall on Monday, 28 January to address the problems of traffic management and enforcement in Fermanagh would appear to confirm that the proposal in question is not trader driven. The salient paragraph is as follows:
The final blow arrived when Colm McElholm from Roads Service revealed that not only will his Department not consider erecting multi-storey car parks in Enniskillen, but they also have plans to make the free parking facility at Queen Street in Enniskillen a 'pay and display' park, creating further problems for workers in the town.
The full text of this story may be viewed as follows: The Roads Service plan for Queen Street is totally profit driven and will not assist local traders one iota.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Well Done One & All

In the previous posting we invited you to come along and to leave Roads Service in no doubt as to the unpopularity of their proposals in respect of Queen Street Car Park. Well you certainly didn't disappoint.
In fact the turn out of 120 people (one for every minute of the event), far exceeded even our expectations, and if Roads Service thought that the introduction of 'pay & display' was a mere formality, then they had better think again. Yesterday (Monday), the workers of Enniskillen spoke as one, sending out a loud and clear message that they will resist all efforts to change the status of Queen Street.
We wish to express our sincere thanks to those politicians who attended, to those who sent representatives, or who sent messages of apology; to the trade union personnel, and the members of Fermanagh Trades Council; to the irrepressible Desi Quinn (local trader), who did not baulk at showing his solidarity with the town's workers; and finally to YOU, the workers of Enniskillen for answering our call in such numbers.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

5 Minute Investment Plan

EWPG is appealing for the workers of Enniskillen to turn out in force on Monday, 29th September in order to voice their opposition to the introduction of 'pay & display' at Queen Street Car Park. Roads Service is staging a Public Information Event in the local Library on the day in question (between noon and 2pm). You are not required to attend for the entire duration.
We would however wish you to ponder the following in advance:

Do you really believe that Roads Service will stop at converting approximately 50% of the spaces at Queen Street to P & D?

Do you think that they will maintain the proposed charge of 30p per 3 hour stay?

Are you convinced that Queen Street will be the last car park to suffer this fate?

Do you know what percentage of every £1 collected in parking revenue goes into the coffers of NCP, and consequently out of the Province?

Please give up 5 minutes of your time next Monday and you could very well save yourself £700 per year in parking charges. Previous campaigns to retain maternity services at the Erne Hospital, and to secure the siting of a new state of the art hospital on the outskirts of Enniskillen, have shown that the people of Fermanagh can be a formidable force when they set their minds to it. Although we would be the first to admit that car parking is not as emotive an issue as health care, these proposals nevertheless, if adopted, will have serious financial implications for many workers in our County town, and will set a dangerous precedent. Monday is to all intents and purposes a referendum of the future of 'free' car parking in the heart of Enniskillen.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Different Tactics (Same Goal)

DRD Roads Service originally proposed converting all 95 parking spaces at Queen Street to 'pay and display.' However the notice issued in relation to the Public Information Event would appear to suggest that they have compromised somewhat and refers to an area of pay and display at the Queen Street Car Park (43 spaces).
EWPG is not taken in by this apparent offer of an olive branch and consequently, we are firmly of the opinion that it is the intention of Roads Service to ultimately change the status of the entire car park to P & D. Whether they do it piecemeal, or in one fell swoop, is of little consequence to them, just so long as they achieve their objective in the end.
These actions are profit driven and will most certainly not end at Queen Street. Roads Service may adopt whatever game plan they choose, but we at EWPG will not be taking our eye off the ball.
It has also not escaped our notice that the Public Information Event has been scheduled for a Monday, a day when our MLA's are required to be in attendance at Stormont.
Perhaps it's time for Roads Service to review their tactics yet again as they're been rumbled.

Make Your Voice Heard

DRD Roads Service has informed EWPG that a Public Information Event will be held in the Library (Enniskillen) on Monday 29th September 2008, from midday to 2pm.
The purpose of this event is to afford everyone likely to be affected by the proposed revision of parking arrangements at Queen Street Car Park with an opportunity to air their views. Staff from Road Service Traffic Management will be in attendance and it is important that we leave them in no doubt as to the unpopularity of the current proposals.
Therefore we would encourage as many people as possible to turn up on the actual day. Your indifference or inaction, will only act as a rubber stamp for Roads Service to proceed as planned. Let's show them that the workers of Enniskillen are made of sterner stuff and that we will not give up 'our' car park without one almighty fight.

Gallagher's Garden

Gallagher's Garden (see previous posting) was the subject of a tribute in verse by local Enniskillen poet, Gerry Quinn (now deceased). Once again, Gabriel Murphy is responsible for bringing this to our attention. Unfortunately owing to the constraints of space we are unable to include the full text of the poem, but have inserted some verses at random. The complete poem can be found in the excellent local publication ' A Dander Down the Streets'
* * * * *
From the days of my youth I remember
Where the river flows close to Hall's Lane
Two Brothers called Mickey and Henry
Kept a garden, an income to gain .
* * * * *
And they worked that sweet soil to a pattern
With a graip, a long shovel and spade
'Till it looked overall like a picture
Some famous engraver had made .
* * * * *
They had carrots, leeks and red rhubard,
Spring onions and lettuce galore
And their parsley, garlic and spinach
Scented the air by the shore .
* * * * *
Now time must forever bring changes
The brothers are long laid to rest
And the garden they lovingly tended
Now is as a car-park addressed .
* * * * *

Saturday, 13 September 2008

A Little History

Local historian, Gabriel Murphy has very kindly provided EWPG with a very interesting insight in respect of the area in and around Queen Street car park. The section of the map annotated as Gallagher's Garden is now the site of both the Library and Salvation Army buildings, and also where the Halls Lane car park is located. Formerly this vegetable garden was the pride and joy of two local brothers by the name of Gallagher, and was the subject of much admiration.
The area to the left of the garden was known as the Dardanelles. This term originated after the First World War owing to the number of men from these streets who fought in the campaign. The Inland Revenue, and Housing Executive buildings, together with Queen Street car park are now situated here.
The section of the map reproduced above is taken from a 1905 Ordnance Survey map of Enniskillen, which was also provided by Mr Murphy. We thank him most sincerely for his assistance and also for his interest in our campaign.

Roads Service have been busy

EWPG may have enjoyed a break in recent months but this has not been the case with DRD Roads Service. Approximately 40 additional parking spaces have been created at Wellington Place car park as outlined in their original proposal.
Although our group welcomes the provision of extra 'free' parking spaces generally, this in no way compensates for the possible loss of the 95 spaces at Queen Street. In reality what will happen will be that there will be more workers competing for fewer 'free' spaces.
Furthermore EWPG have always maintained that Queen Street is only a pilot scheme, and that the whole future of 'free' car parking in Enniskillen is in jeopardy. We see no reason to review our stance.
It is time for the town's workers to unite in opposing Road Services plans.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

We're Back

If Roads Service thought that EWPG had gone away, or that we had lost the stomach for the battle, then we are sorry to disappoint. We had merely taken the summer off in the knowledge that we would have to intensify our efforts to preserve the present 'free' status of Queen Street car park come Autumn.
We may have enjoyed a rather leisurely couple of months but there has been nothing static about the cost of living. Fuel prices have spiralled and this in turn has had a 'knock on' effect on the cost of everything. On average the weekly shop is costing 10% more than it did this time last year. It is against this background of increasing financial hardship that DRD Roads Service is planning to introduce charges at Queen Street (the workers' car park).
Consequently, quitting is not an option for our Group and we would encourage you to lend your support to our efforts. We are re-energised and together we can resist this outrageous and ill-timed proposal. Get involved, or pay the price (in this case £2.70 per day at current rates).

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Taking our case to Stormont

The proposals in relation to Queen Street car park are not a fait accompli according to Junior Minister, Gerry Kelly. Mr Kelly was deputising for his party colleague, Conor Murphy (Minister for Economic Development) at an adjournment debate in the Assembly on 20 May.
The debate was requested by Tommy Gallagher MLA, with all our local Assembly members lending their support. There was a consensus of opinion that this particular Roads Service proposal would do nothing to address the problem of traffic flow within the town, and would only place further financial burdens upon the town's workers. There was agreement that a proper and sustainable traffic management plan was required.
So hopefully Roads Service will take it on board that there is no quick fix solution to this problem, and certainly not one that discriminates against workers.

Monday, 28 April 2008

NO 2 P & D

In the coming months as our campaign gathers momentum, it's possible that you will see more of our 'personalised' number plate, stating our opposition to 'pay & display' for workers. This was kindly donated to us by Western Registrations (Ann Street).

We would encourage you (and your friends) to support those who are supporting us.

Our group is running a campaign without funds, aimed at protecting your money. In contrast Roads Service and their new best buddy NCP are already coining it, but still plan to relieve you of even more of your hard earned cash. The choice is clear, get behind EWPG.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Workers signing up

On the morning of Friday, 11 April members of EWPG visited the car parks at Queen Street, Castle Place and Wellington Place. Our mission was to increase awareness of the proposals being put forward by Roads Service in relation to car parking, and to highlight the likely implications for workers.

The response was incredible, with everyone being receptive to our message. So much so, that we succeeded in collecting 600+ signatures on our petition forms within the space of 90 minutes. We were also greatly encouraged by the fact that no fewer than 7 politicians turned up to show their solidarity with the town's workers, while apologies and messages of support were received from a number of others.

We are also indebted to the Fermanagh Council of Trade Unions for their assistance on the day and for their continued support with our campaign.

This was an extremely worthwhile exercise and had a re-energising effect on our group. Please continue to check this site for news of further activities.

Playing Your Part


ANYONE could have done it,

But NO ONE wanted to,

But SOMEONE could have only done,

What EVERYONE knew they could do.

When NO ONE wanted to do it,

EVERYONE was doing something else,

If only SOMEONE would have done it,

Instead, they cared about only themselves.

EVERYONE knew that they were able to do it,

But NO ONE would stand up to be that ONE.

Since NO ONE would volunteer to do it,

NO ONE did what ANYONE could have done.

So if NO ONE wants to do it,

Then YOU stand up and be that SOMEONE.

Because ANYONE can set a sincere example,

And be a leader for EVERYONE.


Mark Anthony Thomas is an award winning author, freelance writer, literary artist, and motivational speaker. He very kindly gave permission for his poem, 'What Anyone Could Do' to be included on this site, and it would be great if his words inspire each and every one of you to play a part in this campaign. So start sending those letters and emails, if you haven't done so already.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Our Politicians

To date our MLA's and local councillors have been fully supportive of our efforts. It is indeed gratifying to report that our campaign enjoys cross party support and that our elected representatives are prepared to stand up for the town's workers. They have been generous with their time, and are a constant source of advice and guidance.

However it is important that workers continue to lobby politicians in respect of this issue. Letter writing and emailing can be time consuming, but well worth the effort if it helps you to save £700 per year.

Contact details for MLA's can be obtained by clicking on the 'membership' option on the following website:

Please remember to include Conor Murphy MP MLA (Department of Regional Development) on your mailing list.

Local councillors can be contacted as follows:

(click on The Council, then Councillors)

It may also be worthwhile informing the Chief Executive of Fermanagh District Council, Rodney Connor of your views:

Share your views with Roads Service

EWPG would strongly encourage you to make your views in relation to the current proposals known to the following Roads Service personnel:

Geoff Allister *
Acting Chief Executive
Clarence Court
Pat Doherty
Western Divisional Manager
County Hall
Drumragh Avenue
BT79 7AF
Colm McElholm
Traffic Management Department
County Hall
Drumragh Avenue
BT79 7AF
Henry Robinson *
Section Engineer
Roads Service
Castle Barracks
BT74 7HL
* Fermanagh man

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Do they know us at all?

What anyone with even the vaguest knowledge of Fermanagh should know ......
  • that the County and its hinterland is predominantly rural
  • that the public transport system is inadequate
  • that consequently workers have little option other than to drive to work
  • that many workers employed in shops/service sector are on, or just above the minimum wage
  • that these workers cannot afford to pay £700 per annum in parking charges (not that anyone can)
  • that ultimately such businesses will experience difficulties in recruiting staff

Maybe someone will inform Roads Service accordingly.

A Worker's Lot

  • saddled with a mortgage
  • struggling to put children through 3rd level education
  • having to pay for childcare
  • faced with an increased domestic rates bill (expected to rise even further once the proposed amalgamation of Fermanagh and Omagh councils occurs)
  • fearful of what the imminent water charges will bring
  • worried about NIPSA warning that up to 10,000 public service jobs could disappear within N. Ireland
  • concerned that the current state of world financial markets will have a devastating effect on pension fund
  • irritated by the ever spiralling costs of keeping a vehicle on the road
  • resigned to the fact that rising fuel costs will in turn increase the cost of everything e.g. weekly shop, domestic heating bill etc
  • frustrated by own inability to save money
  • outraged that Roads Service would even consider inflicting further taxation upon workers

Monday, 21 April 2008

It doesn't stop at Queen Street

Our group is convinced that Queen Street is only a pilot scheme, and that 'pay & display' will be rolled out to each of the town's other 'free' car parks in turn. The proposal currently under consideration is totally profit driven, as the car park under threat has little or no appeal for shoppers. A visit any Saturday afternoon will confirm this to be the case.
However it is only too obvious that Roads Service have little interest in presenting an accurate account of car park utilisation in Enniskillen. Why else would they have conducted their most recent survey in December 2007, if not to put a false slant on the situation? Everyone knows that the lead up to Christmas is the busiest period of the year in any town.
Even if the changes at Queen Street car park are a one-off, the consequences will be experienced in both Castle Place and Wellington Place car parks. The 95 displaced motorists from Queen Street will seek 'free' parking elsewhere. Effectively there will be more people competing for fewer 'free' spaces.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Unanswered Questions

Only the cities of Belfast and Derry (N. Ireland's two largest centres of population) are ahead of Enniskillen when it comes to the number of parking tickets issued each year.
Between November 2006 and March 2008 a total of 16,218 parking tickets at £30 or £60 a time have been issued in the town. This equates to £486,540 at the lower rate, and £973,080 at the higher band. Even a mid-point figure of £729,810 amounts to a staggering total. Such information invites the following questions:
  1. how much of this revenue is Roads Service spending on the upkeep of the road network within County Fermanagh?
  2. what percentage is leaving Northern Ireland and finding its way into the coffers of NCP Services?

We shall await the Roads Service reply with much interest.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Commitment (or lack of) to Fermanagh

It will not come as any surprise to residents of the county to learn that over the last five years Fermanagh is at the bottom of the list for the roads budget.
A mere £2 per mile is spent on building new roads, while a miserly £3.60 is spent on road repairs.
It is entirely reasonable to assume that this imbalance (not to mention injustice) would be addressed as a matter of urgency, especially considering the present poor state of our roads, but alas this is not to be.
A total of £3.09 billion is to be spent on Northern Ireland's roads, with only £5.5 million being designated for Fermanagh.

The red herring of Holyhill

Roads Service have stated that there is spare capacity in the car park at Holyhill Link Road. This conveniently ignores the fact that the majority of government offices are located in the west end of the town.
Although much valued by those motorists who avail of it, the demand for this particular car park diminished when the Ulster Farmers Mart (Enniskillen) moved to its present site at Lackaboy.
Should workers from the 'west end' be forced into using Holyhill, it is unlikely that they would carry shopping quite literally the length of the town, thus inflicting yet another blow upon Enniskillen's beleaguered traders. It is also totally unreasonable to expect people to carry work-related files such a distance.

Roads Service Proposals

Introduce 'pay & display' at the car park in Queen Street, Enniskillen (95 spaces)

Change the tariff in Quay Lane south car park from 30p for three hours to 30p per hour

Provide approximately 27 additional free car parking spaces at Wellington Place

(formal legislative and consultation processes to take place August / September this year).