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*Photograph: Martin Connolly

Consideration is to be given to the development of a swimming shelter at Ballyalla Lake.

Upgrading of the stone building located opposite the old pier at Ballyalla Lake as a changing room to facilitate the swimmers in the area was suggested by Cllr Pat Daly (FF) at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District.

Senior engineer, Eamon O’Dea said the proposal would need to be considered in line with the overall development proposal for the amenity. “The Ennis MD Office are examining the structure and consulting with the Planning and Environment Sections to see if the structure has to remain in its present form or whether alteration could be considered to make it more appropriate for a swimming shelter,” he stated.

Clare Echo Planning

Between thirty to forty swimmers are using Ballyalla Lake on a daily basis, Cllr Daly remarked. He felt the old stone building was “suitable” to serve as a changing area if developed. “The days of togging out on the road are gone. They would like some swimmers shelter. It would be an ideal location,” he added.

Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) seconded the proposal. He reminded the meeting of his request last Spring to re-introduce lifeguard cover at Ballyalla. “The crowds were great to see and it was like being back in the 80s again”.

“Ballyalla could be the jewel in the crown,” Cllr Mary Howard (FG) believed. “It has been great to see it so busy during the summer. There are people swimming out there every day, I don’t know how they do it and more power to them. When you come out of the water you do need somewhere to go to get changed. I remember as a child growing up there on our bikes. Considering the amount of usage it is getting these days, it would be nice to have the showers,” she added. The proposed location was currently used as a dumping ground, she flagged.

Further support was voiced by Cllr Johnny Flynn. He stated that councillors stopped Ennis Town Council from selling public land in the past decade which led to the formation of a Ballyalla Working Group. “If the motion is successful and implemented it will be a huge addition to Ballyalla and to the town of Ennis,” Cllr Mark Nestor (FF) maintained.

Solace in the form of wildlife and swans adds to the “really fabulous location,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) commented. She felt the development of the old shelter would be a better option than the construction of a new build. “Every Sunday no matter what the weather there are crowds there and young families feeding the ducks”.

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