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*Photograph: John Mangan

Pedestrianisation measures in Ennis town centre are to be eased from the end of August and will be lifted entirely at the end of September.

A meeting of the Temporary Covid-19 Ennis Town Centre Mobility Plan taskforce was held on Wednesday where the current plans were reviewed.

Citing the current public health guidelines, children returning to school and facilitating outdoor dining, a new exit strategy was agreed.

As a result, the current pedestrianisation of the town centre will be lifted except from 11am to 2pm (Monday to Friday), 11am to 6pm until September 30th (Saturday and Sunday) and Lower Parnell St where the current road closure will apply until September 30th.

Wednesday was the final meeting of the taskforce, a spokesperson for Clare County Council confirmed.

Social distancing during the pandemic was referenced by local authority officials over the past 17 months as the reason for the introduction of the pedestrianisation.

In April, a poll among readers of The Clare Echo found that 69% of the public wished to see pedestrianisation remain in place while 49% of the business community were against a long-term plan for pedestrianisation being put in place.

Businesses were mixed on the potential of making the town pedestrianised permanently with a section of traders seeking the reopening of the streets while others praised the changes it brought to navigation and footfall across the town centre.

Separately, in preparation for the development of a Local Area Plan for Ennis, Clare County Council has said it looks forward to engaging with the wider community as part of the Ennis Mobility Plan, which will examine all modes of transport for the sustainable movement of people within Ennis and its environs.

The formulation of this mobility plan is a requirement under the National Development Plan and will inform the Local Area Plan as well as future funding opportunities.

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