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Unionists block move to use euros in Co Armagh car parks

By Steven Alexander

Published 29/11/2016

Armagh SDLP Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon said the stance was the
Armagh SDLP Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon said the stance was the "petty politics of the past at its worst"

Unionists have said no to the euro being used in parking meters in a council area - prompting accusations of small mindedness.

SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon had asked Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to investigate the possibility of ticket machines in car parks accepting euro coins.

Shoppers from the Republic have been flocking over the border to take advantage of the weak pound in the run-up to Christmas.

But last night unionists voted to block the request.

"I am astonished at the narrow mindedness of this approach, all I asked was that it be investigated and costed," said Mr O'Hanlon.

"As a councillor I can only make a decision when I am presented with the facts, costs and implications of any decision, but to throw out the request to only look at the issue is unbelievable.

"It was only last month that some unionist councillors were boasting that the car parks were full of cars with southern number-plates and now they're sending out a message that your euro is not welcome in our area.

"This small mindedness is petty and pathetic. It already happens in Newry, Mourne and Down so it's nothing new, it's not rocket science."

But last night, Ukip councillor David Jones said the situation in the Republic was the same.

"If I go across the border with sterling, at the motorway toll booths, they charge drivers paying in sterling more," he said.

"If people are coming up here, they will have sterling with them - just as when I'm heading down to Dublin, I would have euros or a card.

"If I'm in a different country, I use their currency.

"Not many shops here accept euro and shoppers will usually have a card anyway."

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