EFFORTS to secure new tenants for central properties which are lying vacant in Ennis town need to be strengthened.
Citing the closure of businesses throughout the town “such as The Rowan Tree, Food Haven, O’Brien’s Deli and Twomey-Walsh” located on Harmony Row, the Market, Salthouse Lane and Parnell St respectively, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) appealed to the Ennis Municipal District to coordinate with the Chamber of Commerce “and the owners of the particular properties with a view to getting new tenants established”.
Active engagement occurs with the derelict sites team in Clare County Council’s Economic Development Directorate “where business premises are considered to be derelict,” senior executive officer of the directorate, Carmel Greene explained. She said their work is leading to improvements in some town centre premises with a number of planning applications on derelict properties to be lodged. Development opportunities are being examined in tandem with the work of the Ennis 2040 team, she flagged.
Senior executive officer of the Ennis MD, Leonore O’Neill stated that they “do not generally initiate or intervene in commercial rentals between private parties. We continue to support economic activity and ensure conditions are favourable within the physical environment through a number of initiatives including public realm enhancements and outdoor dining licences. I note that the Rowan Tree premises referred to above is currently on the market for sale”.
Speaking at the April meeting of the Ennis MD, Cllr Daly clarified that none of the buildings referred to in the motion were derelict. He was of the view that Ennis “cannot afford” to have prominent properties left vacant.
Organisers of the Fleadh Nua are “devastated” that the Rowan Tree remains closed, “it is a huge setback to the Fleadh Nua, traditionally most musicians would have stayed at the hostel. I know the Rowan Tree is up for sale but it is a huge loss,” Cllr Daly commented.
Keeping matters like vacant properties in the Ennis town centre high on the agenda and highlighting the challenges faced by businesses is what public representatives need to be doing, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) remarked. “The recovery was going very good from pandemic until the Russians decided to invade Ukraine. Cllr Daly is endeavouring to let the public know we’re doing our best to get Clare County Council to assist. It’s not just Ennis, this a challenge for many towns and cities experiencing high vacancy rates.
Incentives exist for owners to take action for derelict and vacant commercial properties, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) observed. He voiced his support for the “very important” proposal. He agreed that the Rowan Tree was the go-to location for musicians and visitors coming for the Fleadh Nua.