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Mary ‘honoured’ to be Grand Marshal for St Patrick’s Day Parade

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*Mary Fitzgerald & Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Mary Fitzgerald, the founder of Clare Haven Services and Haven Horizons has been named Grand Marshal of this year’s Ennis St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Mayor of Ennis Municipal District, Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy said Mary is receiving the honour in recognition of her work in providing front-line services, refuge, support and information to women and children experiencing domestic abuse through Clare Haven Services, which she established in 1993.

Colleran Molloy also acknowledged Mary’s central role in setting up Haven Horizons in 2016.  The service researches, develops and pilots best-practice, evidence-based solutions which effect measurable change necessary for the elimination of relationship abuse and associated gender inequality

Reacting to the invitation to be this year’s Grand Marshal, Mary said, “I am truly honoured and thankful.  It is especially significant to those I represent as it is not just one person.  There is a marvellous team of people who I am privileged to work beside.  We just want to give a voice to those affected in any way by domestic abuse.”

In excess of 10,000 people are expected to line the streets of Ennis on Sunday, March 17th when more than 50 groups representing the many aspects of life in County Clare participate in the 2019 Parade. This year there will be prizes awarded for the entrants that provide the “Most Musical & Colourful Spectacle” (1st Prize – €500, 2nd Prize – €300, 3rd Prize – €200).

The parade commences at 11.00am from Clare County Council’s Headquarters at Áras Contae an Chláir before proceeding via New Road, Newbridge Road, Club Bridge, Abbey Street, O’Connell Square, O’Connell Street, with participants finishing in the grounds of the Holy Family School, Station Road.  The reviewing stand for 2019 is at The Height, O Connell Square, Ennis.

Two designated viewing areas are being made available again this year to enhance the spectators’ experience. There will be a large designated viewing area along Newbridge Rd between Club Bridge and Steele’s Terrace. This viewing area will afford perfect views of the parade and participants with the river and Club Bridge in the background. The location is in close proximity to the Stage at Steele’s Terrace where live traditional music will be performed from around 10am. The designated Disabled parking area is located at Ennis Courthouse, Lifford Road.

A Designated Disabled Viewing Area also will be established in O’Connell Square for the duration of the parade. Spaces will be limited so spectators wishing to avail of this facility should arrive early. Disabled parking will be available nearby in the Council’s car park at Friars Walk, Ennis.

Special traffic management arrangements will be in place from 8.00am. Diversions will be in place and pedestrian access will be available. The roads being closed on a rolling basis include Steele’s Terrace / Newbridge Rd (from Kelly’s Corner roundabout to the Club Bridge), New Rd from its junction with Tulla Rd to Newbridge Rd, College Rd (local access only), Mill Rd in an easterly direction from the Maid of Erin Roundabout to its junction with Bindon St, Harmony Row, Abbey St, Francis St from Francis St Car Park to Abbey St, O’Connell Sq, O’Connell St, Upper O’Connell St, Old Barrack St and Station Rd from its junction with O’Connell St to its junction with Friar’s Walk.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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