Various challenges facing the town of Kilrush have been highlighted in a draft report by the Southern Regional Assembly.
Despite requests by Clare County Council, Kilrush was not included as a key town in a Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the southern region of Ireland. Its omission comes down to the fact that 21 other towns in the district have a larger population. “Cork County Council and Clare County Council have indicated consideration of an enhanced role for Bantry and Kilrush as service centres for West Cork and West Clare within their Development Plan reviews,” the draft document noted.
According to the strategy, the main challenges facing the town of Kilrush include the grater prevalence of building vacancy in rural towns and villages, the “demise of the historic vibrancy and vitality of town and village centres; loss of services including schools, pubs, shops, garda stations and post offices; lack of available sites and services in these settlements. The preference for many people to live outside settlements”.
Director of Rural Development with Clare County Council, Leonard Cleary said, “The number one target in the strategy is jobs. Jobs lead to sustainable communities which is what the Rural Development SPC is all about”.
Praise was extended to the Council’s rural development strategy 2026 which the draft described as “exemplar”. “The Strategy identifies that the flexibility of rural communities to respond to emerging needs is often constrained by their on-going commitments to maintaining costly community facilities and buildings that far exceed their current needs. The Strategy states that these dynamics will lead to terminal decline unless they are reversed. The Strategy has a ten-year 4,000 jobs creation target with a particular focus on social enterprises. In parallel, the Clare Economic Development Strategy will provide the economic conditions and supports for the growth of enterprise and employment across the whole county. The Economic Strategy will focus on the further growth of the high performing Ennis-Shannon economic corridor to the benefit of all of Clare. The leadership of the different communities across Clare is supported by a special ‘Rural and Community Support Unit’ in Clare County Council. Together, this coalition of interests will identify and support new opportunities for co-operative endeavour and individual achievement”.