ENNIS RAILWAY STATION is holding the county town back from reaping further rewards for its cleanliness, local councillors have claimed.

Citing the final Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) report of 2021 which found that Ennis was the third cleanest town and city in the country, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) took aim at “the weakest link” which was hindering the Clare county town from taking top spot.

Grade A markings were given to Tim Smythe Park, Gort Rd Business Park, O’Connell St, Ennis Courthouse, Ennis Recycle Facility plus the approach roads from Clareabbey Roundabout, Kilrush Rd roundabout and the Quin Rd. Dunnes Stores’ car park received a B+ while the lowest ranking area inspected was the Ennis Bus and Train Station.

An Taisce in its report noted, “The main litter items within the station grounds were food related (e.g., coffee cups, plastic bottles, mineral cans) around the area of the bus stop and at the base of the shrubbery to the rear of the station. Cigarette butts were pronounced in the immediate area of the bus stop”.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Howard outlined that no improvement has been visible at the station since Jim Dempsey of Iarnród Éireann briefed councillors in the Chamber. She was adamant “day to day management” of the station was required from April to September and a proper management plan.

Volunteers with Ennis Tidy Towns collect six to eight bags of rubbish at the location each time they do a litter pick, Cllr Howard stated. She recalled that volunteers were cleared “by a person unknown to us” who gave the impression he was a figure of authority at the station. “It is the first introduction some people have to Ennis or the last thing they see of Ennis or Clare and frankly it is quite depressing down there”.

Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) agreed that findings from the report need to be brought to Iarnród Éireann’s attention. Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) questioned if Ennis was the only area where the train or bus station was proving to be a problem.

“It is a recurring theme for us each year,” Cllr Howard responded. “The reality is that it is not being maintained. When Patsy Doohan worked there years ago, you could eat your lunch off the floor of the train station, there were hanging baskets and roses, he had huge pride in his job, there is nobody in that office, it has not been maintained but yet it is very profitable for both companies. They spoke out of both sides of their mouth when they came to meet us, they said they had a great relationship with our Tidy Towns, they don’t”.

Iarnród Éireann must be alerted to the unhappiness with the conditions, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) believed. “We are the tidiest town in Ireland, we would have come first in the IBAL rankings but we were deprived of that because of the train station,” he said.

Director of Service, Carmel Kirby told the meeting she expected the commitments given by Iarnród Éireann at their briefing would be honoured.

Fines should be considered if the rate of rubbish remains high, Cllr Murphy stated. “If the farmer out the countryside can get a penalty or fine in the post for having rubbish dumped in his land or for rubbish thrown on his ditch, could we not give a fine for the landowners here because we seem to be going on about it. If fines can be levied to the poor farmer, why not do it in this instance”.

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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.

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