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*Photograph: John Mangan

A “major lift” is on the cards for Tulla as three separate housing developments highlight the appetite to live in the East Clare town.

On the old site of St Josephs secondary school, a 17 house development will be accompanied by a mixed use building offering potential for retail and office units. Last July, An Bord Pleanála backed the decision of Clare County Council to grant permission for the site.

Restrictions due to COVID-19 have currently paused the development of 25 social housing units at Doonaun on the outskirts of Tulla. The provision of six electric vehicles are included along while plans for a pedestrian walkway linking the new development to the existing O’Reilly Park were scrapped.

Further information has been sought by Clare County Council on an application from Rockfort Developments Ltd to construct 36 residential units. The plans were filed in December with the local authority appealing for further information due to concerns relating to drainage, the size of the attenuation system and the impact to subsurface archaeological remains.

Developments of this nature are viewed as “a major lift” to Tulla,” Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) stated. “You’ve a lot of businesses in Tulla, it is a very viable town,” he outlined. “There is an awful lot happening in Tulla, there is a lot of facilities in Tulla, you have the GAA with a fantastic set-up, the soccer club has a fantastic set-up and the athletic club are putting up a brilliant facility on the outskirts of Tulla, there is a new secondary school, a fantastic primary school and facilities like that in an area naturally enough is it encouraging people to move into a town like Tulla where you have such fine facilities”.

Services and location underpin the attractiveness of the area, Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) detailed. “Tulla has been the centre of very considerable growth, I moved there in 2003, Tulla has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, a very considerable amount of new housing and potential for more coming on stream. Tulla is very centrally located, it is very much part of East Clare, people who live around me in the estate I’m in travel to Galway, Limerick, Roscrea, Shannon and Ennis for work, it is an epicentre. With the changes people are working from home, people who ordinarily spent the week in Dublin and come home at the weekends are now able to work from home. There is a good array of services, having a primary and secondary school is very advantageous to the village”.

Not all parts of East Clare are as fortunate as Tulla when it comes to services, Cllr Cooney highlighted. “Unfortunately there are areas in East Clare outside of Tulla that don’t have the proper infrastructure, that is a major setback to localities. Tulla is fortunate to have good infrastructure and it benefits from having the infrastructure.

Dereliction in the town needs to be tackled, he insisted. “Unfortunately some of the buildings in the centre of the town need to be renovated, I know it is something that both the Council and the property owners are working, hopefully we will see these properties renovated in the near future and build the centre of the town of Tulla again”.

Efforts must be intensified to bring an ATM to the town, Senator Dooley flagged. “We’ve seen other parts of the county where villages have become depopulated and services unfortunately leave, it is very unfortunate that the Bank of Ireland has decided to close, it is a negative but I’m hopeful that some additional services will be put into the post office, we have to continue to fight to get an ATM that is accessible 24/7 in Tulla”.

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