Cllr Mary Howard was a member of the Ennis Town Council that voted in favour of developing the Ennis Market at Garraunakilla, she is adamant the building has untapped potential such as hosting a jazz festival that can benefit the county.
As an Ennis councillor, the current lack of usage of the Ennis Market is one of the most common critiques fired at Ms Howard. “The building has had a baptism of fire when in fact it’s a very valuable space. All groups and all organisations within the town should be aware that they can use it for different events, any festival or event that comes to Ennis should be using that”. She added, “It’s an important civic space that we all should use, it’s there and it’s not going to be knocked, it’s important that people change the narrative and start to use it”.
“Originally the Market was built to facilitate the farmers market, we had a very good and successful farmers market then they moved temporarily out to Roslevan and they didn’t come back in,” Cllr Howard (FG) recalled. She felt someone “whose finger is on the pulse” is needed to attract in artisan producers, another farmers market, record collectors, antiques fair, the Clare Youth Service or young musicians to utilise the space, “it would be a great platform for them. Ideally I would love to see the building being used in conjunction with the businesses in the area and have things like a weekend jazz festival in the market, there is huge potential for that”.
“We need to draw a line on what has happened so far, put in new people there that would have the expertise to draw people in there, there is a lot of stuff going on around Ennis and a lot of that can be brought into the market”.
Ennis needs to educate itself on becoming a market town again, she felt. “When I was growing up I had really great memories of the Market in Ennis where you could have bonamhs, calves and chickens then at Christmas time you could have the trees being sold along the Market. I’ve no memory of buying big boxes of Persil and 24 packs of toilet roll and that’s what the Market had turned into”.
She concluded, “The building is a multi-purpose unit, I know it is being used as a car park but it is a venue, a civic space and we need to remember that and utilise it in that way”.