*Photograph: John Mangan

Increased seating is needed at public spaces in the county town to encourage greater use of the facilities, elected representative have stated.

Seven seating units are currently in situ throughout John O’Sullivan Park at Lees Rd in Ennis with plans to install ‘log’ like seating throughout the woodland walks. Three units exist at Tim Smythe Park in the Fair Green.

Council owned playgrounds at Kilrush, Drumbiggle and Cloughleigh all have seating units. “We are currently working on completing the ‘ORIS Measure 1 application for Tim Smythe Park’, a refurbishment project and budget permitting, locating 3 x Chess Benches. These are benches with an inlaid chess board,” Head of Sports and Recreation with the local authority Tim Forde explained.

His comments came in response to a recent motion to the Ennis Municipal District by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG). He sought a report on the feasibility and cost of providing seats “similar to those on the extended walk at Lahinch Prom,” Flynn stated that public green and recreational spaces had an increased usage by people of all ages. He suggested the primary focus be on Tim Smythe Park, John O Sullivan Park and “large green areas such as behind Ivy Hill/Glenina”.

“There is a need for seating at strategic locations,” he commented. The Tulla Rd resident outlined that a 90 year old man had moved from West Clare to Ennis recently for medical reasons and flagged “there is no seating for him while he is exercising by Glenina”. He added, “We need to increase seating for older people and for young families to be able to enjoy our amenities”.

Seating is a very important aspect of public areas, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) stressed. During the height of COVID-19 restrictions, she recalled that Lees Rd was visited by families both young and old with all seating used. “There is a need for more seating especially in the town centre. We’re living longer lives and we will appreciate it more into the future”. She noted, “German towns have seats everywhere”.

Agreement on the need for extra seating was also voiced by Cllr Mark Nestor (FF).

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