*Clare TD, Michael McNamara raising concerns on the Ennis 2040 strategy. Photograph: Chris Copley

A CLARE TD has said a detailed breakdown needs to be made available on the €2.2m spent by Ennis 2040 DAC.

Director of Service and Economic Development with Clare County Council, Carmel Kirby confirmed in response to a motion by Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF) that as of December €2.2m from the €10m loan approved for Ennis 2040 DAC has been drawn down.

She said, “The funds drawn down have been applied to the design, planning, and progression of a number of projects including ongoing operating costs and overheads on behalf of Clare County Council”.

Clare TD, Michael McNamara (IND) attended the first public consultation event for the Abbey Street car park development as part of the strategy and was left puzzled as to how €2.2m has been spent by the DAC.

He stated, “They may have carried a lot of studies and there may be more detailed plans, we saw a mock-up that one might not expect from a €2m spend to date. It was computer generated images on display and that shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred euros to put together. I’d like to see a detailed breakdown of the spend to date, it is a lot of money to have spent to have produced something very scant other than we’re going to develop Abbey Street whether you like it or not and we’ll demolish the Francis St cottages whether you like it or not”.

Deputy McNamara told The Clare Echo, “€2m is a lot of money, where has its gone. These projects just because there is Limerick 2030 doesn’t mean we have to have Ennis 2040, if it provides something beneficial then great I’d love to see it but if it is a vanity project that is going to cost a lot of money then the money will have to be recouped and there will be talk of transferring property and selling it, Ennis 2040 has legal powers to do that and I acknowledge there is a lot that needs to be done in Ennis”.

Having stayed in the Temple Gate Hotel for over an hour at the public consultation, McNamara admitted, “I was struck by the opposition to the plans that were there. Ennis 2040 will have a better overview of the overall sense of it but when I was there it was very negative to it”. He added, “It is not too late to listen to the people of Ennis if Ennis 2040 want to save this”.

There are plenty positives to the Ennis 2040 strategy, Deputy McNamara maintained, “particularly the flood remediation area south of Ennis but they really need to listen to people if they are to salvage this. This is very much a cart before the horse, having a consultation of telling people what to do instead of ascertaining the views, it is easy to plan a generic idea”.

He continued, “officials slit in and out of the county with very little experience of Ennis but people at the consultation have lived all their lives in Ennis or most their lives trading on the streets of Ennis, it seems to be the big problem is not unique to Ennis, it is a market town which has business units unoccupied and almost no families living on its main streets, there is no life in three storey buildings”.

Approaching the housing crisis in a novel way would have been a better chance for Ennis 2040 to make a sizeable difference, the Scariff native felt. “If they really wanted to do something innovative it would be a national pilot programme to overcome that, Croí Cónaithe the magic bullet according to Government which has a paltry drawdown. It would be very difficult and there would be a lot of work involved on building and fire regulations but that is my view, the bottom idea is the business people are not being listened to and there hasn’t been consultation to now, they have definite plans they seem welded to like Abbey Street and in fairness Francis Street has moved from its original plan”.

Opting for apartments over houses in the affordable housing scheme on Francis Street was also questioned by Deputy McNamara. “Affordable housing provided by the Department of Housing through the local authority involves €50,000 to €100,000 taken off each unit, the cost of building a two or three bedroom apartment is much greater than a house so therefore the cost of an affordable apartment is going to be greater. I’d question what the appetite will be for €300,000 apartments in Ennis going to be labelled as affordable but it may be that Ennis 2040 have carried out detailed analysis”.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr O’Callaghan said that he has yet to receive clarification on the expenditure of the €2.2m by Ennis 2040 DAC, “I’m anxious to see exactly how that public money was spent”.

Related News

shannon airport car park 1
Cargo flight from Miami diverts to Shannon Airport
TMP_3810
Relay For Life ‘a very powerful community’ says Clare Rose Aisling
kevin corrigan mary howard samba 1-2
Ennis 2040 DAC Chief & Cllr Howard to start up samba band
eoin gavin 2
'Impact of lack of housing in Shannon is too big to ignore' - Chamber President lays it on the line for Housing Minister
Latest News
kevin corrigan mary howard samba 1-2
Ennis 2040 DAC Chief & Cllr Howard to start up samba band
eoin gavin 2
'Impact of lack of housing in Shannon is too big to ignore' - Chamber President lays it on the line for Housing Minister
Ennis Car Park Announcement 031 eamon o'dea pat dowling kieran keating deirdre murphy brian fitzpatrick
Lease arrangement with Council for Cloister car park offers 'financial assurance & certainty' for Clare GAA
uhl exterior
Preliminary assessment underway following death of teenage girl at UHL
alan troy mary howard 1
Fianna Fáil tipped to run four candidates in West Clare
Premium
alan troy mary howard 1
Fianna Fáil tipped to run four candidates in West Clare
sixmilebridge road parking
Man arrested & released without charge in investigation into alleged assault of boy (12)
2022 Clare Co Board Convention -9440
Clare GAA will be keeping door open for media to attend County Board meetings
Ennis Car Park Announcement 026 pat dowling kieran keating
Council & Clare GAA enter commercial arrangement to lease Cloister car park
st josephs doora barefield v clarecastle 03-06-23 colin lynch 1
Intermediate hurling management teams finalised for clubs vying to get back to top tier

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Scroll to Top