*Clare TD, Michael McNamara. Photograph: John Mangan

A CLARE TD has hit out at plans to construct a mixed-use development on Abbey Street car park as part of the Ennis 2040 strategy and labelled it “an illegal transfer of publicly owned property”.

Speaking at Save Ennis Town’s rally on Saturday, Michael McNamara TD (IND) paid tribute to councillors in Clare for their bravery in challenging management of the local authority on plans for building developments in Abbey Street and Parnell Street car parks.

Beginning his address, the European election candidate stated, “I would like to pay tribute to all councillors who have resisted these plans despite pressure from the Executive of Clare County to bow to their will”.

Deputy McNamara urged the public on the 7th of June to vote for representatives in the Ennis Municipal District that will not give away power of them or future elected members of the local authority. “This is what is happening with this transfer, it is an illegal transfer of publicly owned property and once it is gone, it is gone”.

Scariff native McNamara recalled that a board member of Ennis 2040 DAC told him he ‘didn’t know what he was talking about’ which prompted the barrister to commission a legal review of company law.

Such a review seemed minor to the person he contacted but McNamara flagged, “to the town of Ennis it is relatively big, it is a civic space owned by Clare County Council, this is not just an issue for Ennis and Clare County Council”.

If the public are not pleased with the performance of any politician they will get the opportunity to vote them out at an election, Michael noted. He added, “but what you can’t do is get rid of a company that owns the land that you used to be owned by Clare County Council in your name. And what you can’t do is get rid of the Executive of Clare County Council who run the show and are completely resistant to any accountability to anybody including the people that you vote for that hold them to account, that is a very big problem, it is not unique to Ennis, it is a big problem in local democracy in Ireland”.

Streetscape works are lacking personality and stripping towns of their character, he argued. “What are we to have in Ennis as we go through these new works, are we to have every town in Ireland whether it is in Ennis or Scariff or Strandhill or Bray all looking the same, all with the same materials with no local character whatsoever because that is where we’re heading, it is the same small group of engineers and architects that are hired for all of these projects and they come up with exactly the same solutions regardless of the history or the environment or the natural materials in the area, they strip our towns of their character”.

Deputy McNamara referred to the demolition of six cottages on Francis Street, an act he said was completed “with undue haste. I’m not for a moment saying all of those six houses were habitable, I’m certainly saying some of those six houses were habitable and they have been reduced to dust by diggers before people had a chance to express their views on what should be done with them because it is their town. I’m very taken aback by the derision displayed by members of the board both for anybody who has shown any resistance and for ordinary people with questions, they are bananas we are told well there’s a lot of bananas in Ennis today”.

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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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