Business personnel in Lahinch have requested the closure of the coastal town’s main street to traffic during The Irish Open.
Cllr Bill Slattery outlined a proposal from business people in the area at last Wednesday’s meeting of the West Clare Municipal District for a full day or evening closure of the main street in Lahinch. The Fine Gael councillor had drawings to hand from the individuals involved, he said they were keen to liaise with the Gardaí, Clare County Council and relevant stakeholders to achieve the street closure. “Plans are in place to have a carnival atmosphere, there will be music, dancing for the whole community, this is a once off opportunity, we want to showcase the village of Lahinch for what it is”. Slattery confirmed an event licence is not needed for the closure.
Fianna Fáil’s Richard Nagle flagged the importance of consulting with Transport Infrastructure Ireland as part of the proposal. “There will be media coverage from all over the world. I appreciate it may not be possible for the three or four days to close the street”. He praised those responsible for the works carried out in preparation of the tournament which will be hosted by Paul McGinley.
“A blueprint was set with the Fleadh in Ennis, it showed how towns and village can be opened up, why not do the same for Lahinch, they’re coming for help, the County Council might implement it”, Cathaoirleach of the West Clare MD, Cllr Ian Lynch stated.
Council Director, Leonard Cleary praised the professionalism and approach of the Lahinch vendors. “I would propose Clare County Council meet with the business people. If it is an evening proposal, there may be some leeway but we will have to speak with all stakeholders”. Cleary added, “It is important the community embraces The Irish Open”.
He asked councillors to understand Lahinch would be prioritised ahead of other areas between now and July for road and repair works. “In order to make it happen as an event, you need a lot of civil works, a huge amount of work is required. There will be a prioritisation of Irish Open works ahead of others. This is a world event and we will be on a world stage”. Leonard praised executive engineer, Morgan Lahiffe for his efforts to date.
Speaking to The Clare Echo during his last visit to the county, Paul McGinley emphasised the role Lahinch and its people will play in The Irish Open. “We all know how great the town of Lahinch is with the pubs and restaurants and the craic with everything that goes on there and I think that’s a big part of the success that we’re trying to build, as much as the golf is important and front and centre and always will be, it’s important that there’s lots of other activities going on for other people to enjoy”.