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Parnell St has been ‘crying out for development’

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Operational phased closures came into effect at Parnell St on Friday as part of a €3.3m development into an area that has been described as capturing “the medieval” town of Ennis.

Irish Water in conjunction with Clare County Council have begun the process of replacing over 650m of cast iron pipes along the street with modern plastic equivalents, which it is hoped will reduce bursts and outages. The subsequent interruptions are due to last eight weeks.

Senior executive officer with the local authority, Leonore O’Neill at the September meeting of the Ennis Municipal District outlined their intention to appoint a tender in mid December with the view of starting works in January 2020 and completing them in November. “This scheme is progressing currently on schedule, hopefully it will be very well received by all affected parties”.

As part of the redevelopment of Parnell St, the entire street will be resurfaced with natural stone materials, street furniture will be installed and the historic laneways will be upgraded.

Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) acknowledged the process would be “very disruptive” and that it was the first major development of Ennis 2040.

Fianna Fáil’s Pat Daly who grew up in the area outlined his vision for it to become Clare’s equivalent to Quay St in Galway. “It is a very exciting project for Parnell St, the place is crying out for development. In the future it will give a great positive result, I would like it to be similar to Quay St in Galway when it is finished. There are so many shops in the street closed, there should be pressure put on owners of the closed properties to open their premises or lease, it is terrible to see on a main street in the capital of Clare”.

As pointed out by Cllr Mary Howard (FG), the project will be completed this time next year. “I always describe Ennis as a medieval town with a 21st century heart, the bow-ways and lanes are so unique to the town of Ennis”. She suggested dialogue be opened with owners of the properties that “are almost becoming derelict”.

O’Neill stated their commitment to engage with property owners in Parnell St. “The physical construction of the public realm is not the end of the Council’s role with Parnell St. We will certainly look to engage and promote the revitalisation and reuse of buildings currently vacant or derelict, once works stop we will continue to work to betterment of town centre”.

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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