*Gerry Connellan. Photograph: Tom Micks
A PROMINENT ENNIS retailer has said plans to construct a retail and office space on Abbey Street car park would be “detrimental” to businesses in the town.
Of the nine transformational projects in the Ennis 2040 Strategy, building a mixed-use development on Abbey Street car park had been earmarked as the first to be delivered. Ennis 2040 DAC said the project would result in 100 permanent jobs once complete and 200 jobs during construction, and create a town centre footfall of 20,000 shoppers a week.
Opposition to this development led to the creation of the community group, Save Ennis Town, in May of this year.
From the get-go, Gerry Connellan of Abbey Newsagents has been among those warning against building on Abbey Street car park.
Speaking to The Clare Echo at Tuesday’s silent march organised by Save Ennis Town, he said, “We’re very happy with such a huge and massive turnout, it is getting our point across that we need to move on and stop this mad development from going ahead. It is onwards and upwards now, we have to stop this at all costs, we have one white elephant in the Market and we’ve seen what it has done, we need the car park, we’re not being malicious, we need the car park for the people of the town for the people coming in”.
On the potential consequences for businesses like his newsagents, Gerry cautioned, “I think in general it will have a detrimental impact on all businesses in town and not just me, it will affect the town big time”.
Momentum behind Save Ennis Town is growing he said which strengthened their case for meeting with representatives of the Ennis 2040 DAC and Clare County Council, “I think they will have to meet us, people talk, so they will have to listen to us”.