The sight of jarveys, or horse drawn carriages, trotting along the streets of Westport, similar to those in Killarney, may be a common one later this summer after a bye-law was passed to accommodate their introduction into the town.
The Non-Motorized Passenger Transport bye-law was adopted at the West Mayo Municipal District meeting where details of the bye-law was explained to local councilors.
The jarvey service will follow a fixed route around the town starting at the Octagon before travelling down James Street and around Bridge Street before travelling out towards the quay.
Ann Moore, administration officer with Mayo County Council, explained that three submissions were received by the council regarding the bye-law, one of which was by the local superintendent Aiden Foley.
In his submission, Foley expressed concern that the jarveys may cause traffic congestion with traffic blocked up while traveling behind the carriage.
In order to allay these traffic concerns, Moore explained that the hours of operation for the jarvey will be limited to between 6-10 p.m., and in the first year of the operation there will only be two licenses issues with a maximum number of four carriages.
Director of services Martin Keating, explained that the proposal for a jarvey service was made to the council and they had to introduce a bye-law to cater for it. He said there is a concern on how it will impact on the traffic.
“We would like to try it out but the Gardai do have concerns from a traffic point of view,” he told the meeting. “We will restrict the licenses and hours to see how it works in effect.”
While the bye-laws were broadly welcomed there was concerns regarding the operating time, with Councilor Brendan Mulroy wondering if it will be worth a business person’s while to invest in the project if they cannot conduct business during the middle of the day.
“I understand the Gardai’s fear but if I was involved I think I’d pass on it now. That would be my belief,” he said.
Keating responded that the reason for introducing the bye-laws was to “test the waters,” and they may amend the bye-laws in the future. He added that introducing a bye-law was for the “common good” of the town and not just to “facilitate an individual.”