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“Active engagement” ongoing for future uses of old Boys National site

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*Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy sought the update. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Discussions with landowners of the old Ennis NS school and Clare County Council’s planning department are ongoing regarding the potential development of the Kilrush Rd site.

From 1972 up until 2013, Ennis NS was based on its Kilrush Rd site. The school which opened in 1897 had previously been across the road in what is now the Clare Youth Centre. Since Ennis NS moved to its new state of the art facility in Ashline, its old home on the Kilrush Rd has not been in use.

At the final meeting of the Ennis Municipal District before current health restrictions were implemented, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) enquired as to the local authority’s involvement in developing the site.

“What if any progress has been made in developing this prime site known as the Ennis Boys National which is suitable for a mix of uses including residential and comparison retail?  Can the executive clarify what steps have been taken to decommission, move or otherwise the Eircom exchange on these lands. What discussions have the executive had with Eircom to date including dates thereof,” Colleran Molloy asked.

Senior planner with the County Council, Brian McCarthy outlined that site is zoned as “mix-use” and has been identified as “one of a number of opportunity sites” in the current County Development Plan.

He confirmed, “The Planning Department has been actively engaged in discussions with landowners on this and indeed all opportunity sites in Ennis with a view to stimulating and facilitating development from the private sector”.

Design briefs have been prepared by the planning department “to provide clarity, assist in feasibility and guide the bringing forward of development options,” McCarthy stated. He added that “specifics and content of the discussions” along with progress of same regarding the site were “commercially sensitive and confidential”.

Colleran Molloy’s motion was seconded by Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG).

Such progress with the potential development is expected to be stalled as a result of the forecasted economic slump post COVID-19.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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