*Ennis Chamber President, Sheila Lynch. Photograph: Arthur Ellis

FEEDBACK from the public regarding plans for the Ennis 2040 strategy must be acknowledged by Clare County Council and Ennis 2040 DAC, the President of Ennis Chamber has said.

Sheila Lynch was elected as President of Ennis Chamber in April. She was among the attendees for the first public consultation event for the Abbey Street car park development as part of the Ennis 2020 strategy.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Sheila stated, “It is great to have the opportunity to envisage what is happening because up until now it has just been drawings and these images bring it a lot more to life. I was a bit overwhelmed by how big the structure is, I don’t think I appreciated that until now so I will have to digest that and get used to that idea.

“From our perspective, it is lovely to see development and initiatives planned for the town, we are very conscious that in doing this development we will lose car parking spaces and that is really critical to our town because it is all well and good to say take away car parking spaces but we’re not a car free economy yet and there is a transition to get to where people want to get to so I think it has to be carefully managed so there isn’t a huge upheaval for the people of Ennis and the people who visit Ennis because we’re all pro-business, that has to be carefully managed and we’re hoping the Council will look at that very seriously and come forward with some very valid plans to progress that”.

To aid this transition, the partner at Cashin Clancy Solicitors felt it was essential to accelerate plans for the Ennis Town Bus service and the park and ride scheme. “At the moment if you start those works there is no place for people to go from where they are parking at the moment so that is the difficulty. There are some temporary car parks like The Cloister which is around the corner but we do need to have a bus service up and running and to be able to get people into our town centre, we’re very unsure as to where that progress development has been to date in terms of getting it up and running. I appreciate there is work being done but a lot more needs to be done to progress more quickly and more efficiently, we’d love to see a town bus that would be great but we also want to see a town bus that has economical routes that are accessible for people all around the town coming in from various angles and not very selective ones”.

Weeks after her election as President, the Retailers of Ennis held a heated meeting on the proposed development. When asked if the mood has mellowed in the business community since that gathering, Sheila stated, “From a Chamber perspective we’re a bit distant from that because we are separate from that movement who are very much resistant to the entire development.

“In the room this evening those people who were very vocal back then are still very vocal now in terms of how they feel about it, I don’t think that perspective has changed, I don’t know if it has mellowed, I didn’t get any great sense of that today and I appreciate they have strong and valid views, I think everyone needs to be respected in the conversation and to try take as much on board as possible so we can work together as a community to try make Ennis a better town”.

Sheila admitted it was “very hard to know” if this level of feedback would be taken on board by Clare County Council and Ennis 2040 DAC. “I would hope that the Council and Ennis 2040 particularly will take the feedback that they are getting and working with that for the benefit for everybody because we all have to live in this town and work together”.

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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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