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*Photograph: John Mangan

CREATION of a town bus service in Ennis is a “priority” of National Transport Authority (NTA), senior officials in Clare County Council have said.

Director of Service for Physical Development in the County Council, Carmel Kirby has said staff in the Ennis Municipal District are “finalising bus routes throughout the town”. At her most recent engagement with the NTA she requested an update on the potential service and is hopeful to have further detail at the February sitting of the Ennis MD.

Kirby stated, “the Ennis Town public bus service is a priority for the NTA”. She outlined that it would be part of a national public bus service rather than local link.

At the January meeting of the Ennis MD, Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) sought an update on the provision of the service.

Communication is ongoing between the Ennis MD and the NTA’s public transport service planning team, Leonore O’Neill, senior executive officer of the Ennis MD stated. Route selection will be finalised by the NTA, she said. “Implementation is dependent on budgets being available to support the operational cost of providing the service”.

Cllr Murphy queried if the funding would be evenly split by the NTA and the County Council, O’Neill confirmed that it wouldn’t be a cost for the County Council and that the NTA would have to apply for a budget for the running of the service from the Department of Transport.

“We are also working on a mobility plan and it is important to have this as part of that,” Murphy added. Cllr Ann Norton (IND) seconded the motion while Cllr Pat Daly (FF) expressed his delight to hear it was a priority of the NTA’s, “there are so many roads leading into Ennis, some roads are up to four kilometres from the town centre, a bus link would be great for the future of the town”.

Work on the town bus service has been ongoing, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) previously noted in one of his many proposals on the subject.

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