*Joan Duggan. Photograph: John Mangan

“WE’RE NOT GOING anywhere,” members of Save Ennis Town insisted as they continued to fight to stop the planned developments on riverside civic amenities in the heart of the county town.

A crowd of 200 plus attended Save Ennis Town’s biggest demonstration to date held on Saturday, it was their first public event since their silent march but they sent out a clear message that they will not be backing down when it comes to the Ennis 2040’s plans for Abbey Street and Parnell Street car parks.

Chairman of Save Ennis Town, Gearóid Mannion promised, “this isn’t over yet. Don’t be misled by 2040, things are rolling so be aware and keep an eye on us because we’re not going anywhere”.

Retired teacher Joan Duggan who presented a petition with 3,700 signatures to the Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) in October following the silent march as part of Save Ennis Town’s opposition to the developments was among the speakers on Saturday.

Joan who formerly taught at the Holy Family National School admitted, “when I came to Ennis to work here and set up home here, I never thought when I walked up streets of Ennis with children that I be pleading for people to get up and be counted”.

Photograph: John Mangan

To attend Saturday’s demonstration which started at 14:04, Joan said she got the last car park in the Friary Car Park at 12:15, “if I’ve an appointment for 10am in the Market I’ve to be there at 09:15 and I’ve invalid parking,” she remarked.

“If the heart of Ennis is picked out, what will happen then, Ennis will die,” she warned. “You have the power,” she urged the crowd. “Don’t be afraid to name names,” Joan added while stressing the importance of voting in the local elections. “We have to value our democracy and our right to protest”.

Questioning those involved in the Ennis 2040 strategy, Ms Duggan remarked, “I don’t know what land they belong to, they are not Clare people anyway”.

Save Ennis Town have not been shown adequate respect by the local authority and some of its elected members, she maintained. “I presented in October the over 3,700 petition that Johnny referred to, accompanied by people of all ages on a working morning to the Mayor and he is here somewhere, Pat Daly. Since then what have we been called and you by inference that you are part of Save Ennis Town, we’ve been called bananas, potholes with ulterior motives mind you but our only motive is to save your town for the future generations, your children, grand-children, great great grand-children, are you the people that in 2024 that are going to be responsible for the heart of Ennis town dying, please get on the 7th of June”.

Cora Hahessy. Photograph: John Mangan

Cora Hahessy said she was present for “one reason, I love my town with a passion”. She continued, “I see so many passionate Townies here today, we’re part of the Ennis Town family, I want to address my tribe, the Townie tribe”.

A native of St Michael’s Villas, Cora stressed, “I’m not anti-progress, I want my town to prosper and grow, I’m all for responsible development but I don’t want the heart and soul of our town to be torn out by the Ennis 2040 circus, they want to desecrate our town with their ideas”.

In her view the proposed mixed-use development for Abbey Street car park “is a vulgar monstrosity” which needed to be moved to an alternative site. “If Ennis 2040 get their way we will lose this forever,” she warned while referring to the many events which took place on Abbey Street car park including the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, All-Ireland homecomings and Christmas Markets.

She concluded, “There is a strong possibility that the proposed building will remain vacant and believe me there is no coming back from that. Friends, Ennis is a great town, this is my town, this is your town, this is our town, we must fight for it, let’s stand together, let our voices be heard, come out to vote on the 7th of June and make sure we have good representation on the Ennis Municipal District. Thank you for supporting this rally, together we can save Ennis Town”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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