A NEW car park is to be delivered prior to any developments starting on the Market Square and L4024 in Scariff.
At an eighteen minute special meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District on Wednesday, there was no dissenting voices among the elected representatives as the Scariff Regeneration Project gets ready to be submitted as an application for the Rural Regeneration Development Fund.
24 submissions from the public have been received since consultation began in July. The Scariff Regeneration Project received an allocation of €524,000 in an application for the Rural Regeneration Development Fund in January 2022. This project includes the development of a car park plus public realm works in the Market Square and the construction of a multi-service innovation and engagement hub.
Among the conditions was that any amendments to the design to facilitate updated environmental, green construction and engineering methods, finishes and materials shall be agreed with Killaloe MD, following community consultation, including Scariff Community Council, Scariff Town Team and Business Stakeholders, prior to commencement of development.
Listed as the chief condition in the view of councillors was to have a car park in place prior to the enhancement of the Market Square.
Standing in as Chairperson for the meeting was Cllr Pat Hayes (FF). He said, “We’ve have had a lot of discussions on the Market Square but we’re down to the wire and the call for national funding is there”. The first condition is to have a car park in place, he flagged. “The hope is we might get national funding which is hugely beneficial for the future of Scariff”. He added, “the gain is for the greater good, the whole idea behind it is to improve the standing of the whole East Clare area. It is an important day for us all, it brings challenges but huge opportunity”.
According to Cllr Joe Cooney (FG), the project is “a big undertaking”. He stated, “a lot of work has gone into this and consultation there is concern in Scariff and there is no point saying there is not, this will be a major project for Scariff if funding becomes available. We’re well aware of issues in Scariff regards in paring and that we’ll lose spaces with this proposal but we’re also aware that safety has been taken into consideration in Scariff with a pedestrian crossing”.
Putting the car park in place has to be the first port of call, the Mayor of Clare insisted. “I believe we cannot but go forward with the application for the funding, it will be vital to the town of Scariff”.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys (FG) has been “very generous” to East Clare in the eyes of her party colleague, Cllr Pat Burke (FG). He acknowledged that the Department has set aside funds for the Merriman Tavern Site to be transformed into a digital hub.
On the plans for Scariff, he said, “there is no guarantee of the funding but we will be lobbying our Government and Oireachtas members for a successful outcome. If all of this is successful, the provision of a new car park is in place and up and running before any development in the town centre”.
Hope was expressed by Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) that RRDF funding will come to light, “it will be an exciting time for Scariff”. He noted, “with Scariff being on a hill it brings its own challenges but we’ve come to a compromise so that everyone is happy”. O’Callaghan with the most hair of all councillors in the Killaloe MD continued, “It’s been a hard struggle, sometimes a lot of hair pulling to get as much as we could over the line”.
Reaching an agreement marked “a very significant day going forward for Scariff,” Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF) believed. “Each and every one of us wants the best that we can for our towns and villages, particularly in the Killaloe Municipal District”. He said the move formed part of their strategic plan and reminded Cllr Burke that in a coalition “it takes two to tango”.
Allowing for the conditions attached and ongoing consultation to continue, Cllr Cooney said he was happy to propose its adoption and this was seconded by Cllr Burke.