*Noel Tierney voicing his opposition to Ennis 2040’s plans while holding a copy of The Clare Echo. Photograph: Chris Copley
NO ANCHOR TENANT will want to occupy the mixed-use development planned for Abbey Street car park without sufficient parking spaces, an Ennis business man has claimed.
Public consultation events began this week for the Abbey Street car park development as part of the Ennis 2040 strategy.
At Tuesday’s event in the Temple Gate Hotel, Noel Tierney of Tierney’s Cycles was among the most vocal in expressing concerns to what is planned by the designated active company and Clare County Council.
He told The Clare Echo, “I came in expecting spin and I got a lot of spin, I have seven questions put to Ennis 2040 DAC. Clare County Council, Ennis 2040 and the four councillors are saying there is a very serious anchor tenant coming in and they have office space, they are saying it will bring so many people into town.
“I don’t know any anchor tenant in the world that doesn’t need car space outside their own door. They are putting spin on it, I can’t get any definite answer from them”.
His queries regarding the loss of parking spaces were not addressed when he directed questions to Director of Service in the Ennis Municipal District, Carmel Kirby and board members of the Ennis 2040 DAC. “They are saying The Cloister will be opened up with extra car spots but people don’t want that, one person from the DAC said that people want to park in your pocket but then he could come along and say they are willing to walk, it is a total contradiction and it is spin”.
Constructing the mixed-use development will also deprive the county town of a civic space, Noel warned. “We’ve lost a capacity of 5,000 (as a civic space) and the Fleadh committee have said they will not be able to come to town, it is not just about car spots because it is an entertainment centre, many of the councillors have turned on the Christmas lights there including four of them who are totally in favour of this project, four locally born people who I am sad and shocked to see are behind this, they can turn on the lights but they are selling our town, our car park and the town of Ennis which I love and I have been in for forty years, they are selling it down the Fergus, it is all a box-ticking exercise, why not move the box, they have a lot of good ideas but this is moronic and crazy, there is no need for it, they are putting the cart before the horse. Please leave our car park alone”.
Tierney’s Cycles operates out of Abbey Street and Noel said the plans are “crazy” and will impact on all businesses in the area. “The fact is a soccer player, a rugby player, a hurler, a footballer or a ladies footballer can’t play without a football, a sliotar or a rugby ball, our town needs car spots, we need more not less, we’ve been fighting for the last thirty years for more car spots. I spoke to Carmel Kirby there, she quoted me numbers which is wrong, she is talking about private car spots when talking about overall car spots, I am talking about public car parking and she is talking about private, that is a bit of spin. I’m for the town, I’m for Ennis, I’m for the customer but we’re going to lose them because they need car spots, I’m all for buses and cycling but they are not working on the cycling lanes or working on the buses, they can’t take away the car spots. 80 percent of people I’ve been talking to have said this is crazy, my customers and anyone I meet on the street are against this madness”.