Campervan owners need to be welcomed to Ennis by providing a suitable place for them to park, a Clarecastle representative has said.
In a proposal before the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) asked that consideration be given to using the car park outside the headquarters of Clare County Council or the offices of the former Ennis Town Council in Drumbiggle for campervans over the summer.
Fully manned facilities would be required at Drumbiggle or New Road for this, senior executive officer Carmel Greene responded. She explained, “At present, the car parks are full on the five-day working week serving staff, councillors and customers. With greater numbers likely to be returning to offices in the coming months, the use is likely to increase. Saturdays are often used for regular maintenance works that can only be done when the offices are vacant”.
She cautioned that recruitment of staff, cleaning costs of facilities such as toilets, security and 24 hour covered may impact the feasibility. “It should be noted that there are no showers in either facility and this is a key requirement for caravan parks”.
Cobh and Portumna were cited by Cllr Murphy as successful examples when it comes to welcoming the campervan community. He believed the addition of a facility would strengthen the message that Ennis is open for business. “There are a lot of campervans being sold and this is something we should go after. Ennis is well known for music and would be a very attractive location for campervan units”.
Such is the demand for campervans presently that they cannot even be rented, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) claimed. “Hopefully we will see them around Clare this summer,” she said in seconding the proposal. “It would be good for the town,” Cllr Pat Daly (FF) agreed.
Cllr Mary Howard (FG) reminded the meeting she raised this issue last year to encourage the local authority to identify sites and work with private landowners.
Ballyalla Lake would be more suitable than Council car parks, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) commented. “I have been advocating Ballyalla Lake as a motorway beach, it is two minutes from a motorway and there isn’t a beach in the country that has that”. He highlighted that owners of campervans want to stay at beauty spots.
“I don’t see the use of a Council car park as adequate at all,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) remarked. She questioned the profitability of such a service and referenced the absence of private owned equivalents in Clare.
Director of Service, Carmel Kirby said they would work with the tourism unit of the local authority to tease out the matter. “In Cobh the location for staycationers to stay with a campervan is directly across from the Garda station,” senior executive engineer Eamon O’Dea advised.