*Members of the Save Ennis Town silent march. Photograph: Tom Micks
IN THE REGION OF 200 people attended a silent march in Ennis on Tuesday morning.
Organised by Save Ennis Town, the protest saw the sizeable group march from Abbey Street car park to the headquarters of Clare County Council where a petition containing 3,500 signatures was presented to the Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Pat Daly (FF).
They are opposed to the building on the riverside car parks of Abbey Street and Harvey’s Quay, both of which have been identified for transformational projects in the Ennis 2040 Strategy.
Included with the petition was a call to all twenty eight county councillors not to allow such developments to proceed. Each of the councillors also received a letter on behalf of Save Ennis Town with Bridget Ginnity presenting a framed letter at the Council offices while Michael Corry gave the Mayor a framed aerial photograph of Abbey Street.
As they walked, they carried a ‘white elephant’, a symbol they do not want a repeat of the building erected in the Market which now primarily functions as a car park and was built at a cost of €500,000 as part of a €1.75m redevelopment.
Billed as a non-political event, the protest was attended by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) and Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF), both of whom are involved with Save Ennis Town while Shannon based Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) also joined the march.
Business personnel present included Mike Dennehy of Knox’s Storehouse, Gerry Connellan of Abbey Newsagents, Dervilla Evans from Ennis Bookshop, Martin White of the Taxi Federation, Alfonso D’Auria of Enzo’s Chipper on Parnell Street, Tina Grogan of Bambino’s, John O’Connor from Custys Music Shop, Barry O’Driscoll of Precious Pets, Frank Holly from Holly’s Haven Pharmacy, Tommy O’Donnell, Tony Honan, Martin O’Brien and Noel Tierney.
Retired teacher, Joan Duggan of Save Ennis Town presents Mayor of Ennis MD, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) with a petition of 3,500 signatures.
— The Clare Echo (@ClareEcho) October 10, 2023
As the silent march descended on the offices of the Council, Mayor Daly was there to welcome them where he later accepted the documentation containing all signatories of the petition by retired school teacher, Joan Duggan.
Held in advance of the monthly Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) and Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) did not come outside the Council offices to meet the near 200 strong group while Cllr Ann Norton (IND) attended the meeting online with Cllr Mary Howard (FG) arriving late, they also did not engage with Save Ennis Town.
Addressing the gathering before they departed from Abbey Street, Chairman of Save Ennis Town, Gearoid Mannion praised the “fantastic turnout”. He explained, “it is a silent protest so we won’t be rioting. We don’t want to disrupt traffic so keep in, we don’t want to disrupt anyone, we just want to show that we mean business. There’s plenty in the Ennis 2040 document that we agree with but we’re against the building in the car park, we want progress and today is the first of the days that we will show that we mean business”.
Speaking outside the Council headquarters, Cllr Daly said he was “delighted to accept” the petition. “I’ve been a business man myself and I know car parks are very important and the most important person in any business is a customer and they have to be able to park, I can see people are very upset by this”.
He committed the petition to the executive of the Ennis MD. “Ye know how I stand on it, I voted against it,” Cllr Daly reminded the crowd, his comments earning a large round of applause.