A work of art in Ennis is being “defaced and disrespected” by being used as a location for storing commercial bins, it has been claimed. The mural artwork is situated close to the Friary and the tourist office and depicts a woman surrounded by colourful butterflies. However, the mural is being obscured by bins regularly being left in front.
The location of commercial bins is something that has been of concern to both businesses in Ennis and the local authority in recent years. Plans are now underway by Clare County Council to remove commercial bins from the town centre, apart from collection times, which they say will deal with the blocking of the mural.
A concerned member of the public, who contacted The Clare Champion, said, “I recently read about the vandalism of the work of art on Barrack Street and that there was outcry locally about what had been done. That was a terrible act of vandalism but, equally, there is a beautiful artwork here in town, which is being defaced and disrespected by being used as a place to bring rubbish bins. I understand that the businesses in the area have nowhere to put their bins but, surely, right in front of a work of art is not the place to leave rubbish. It’s an absolute disgrace that something so beautiful can be hidden by something so ugly.”
When contacted by The Clare Champion about the bins covering the mural, the environment department of Clare County Council responded, “Clare County Council is in the process of finalising details for a commercial bin storage location in this general area, which would deal with the bins that are left in front of the mural currently. Agreements have to be finalised with affected stakeholders, local businesses and waste collection companies and elected members are being kept updated on this process. This is part of an overall plan to remove commercial bins from town centre locations in Ennis, outside of collection periods. It is expected that this work will be completed for the summer season.”
The proposed bin storage plan was also raised at the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, where Councillor Mary Howard, a member of Ennis TidyTowns, pointed to the county capital’s “weak areas” when it comes to the national competition.
She said the recent adjudication report for Ennis TidyTowns had been “excellent” but there were two areas pointed out by the judges. “Ennis is a warren of lanes and alleyways. These can be problematic in some centres but they are attractive features and they provoke interest and exploration – for example, Chapel Lane,” the report stated. Councillor Howard called for a focus on laneways, especially along Parnell Street.
The report also stated, “There is a lovely walk near Cloughleigh Road, where the River Fergus can be enjoyed. It is rather neglected-looking, however, with excessive weeds, litter and strands of Japanese Knotweed along the bank. A little attention would make this the perfect picnic and wildlife viewing location in the heart of the town. The Ennis River and Nature Walk panel is very hidden away and is, in any case, quite faded. This should be renovated and moved to a more visible position.”
The councillor urged the municipal district council to address the issues raised by the TidyTowns judges “as a matter of urgency”.
Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer, replied, “The municipal district office has examined locations for storing bins with the environment section, in order to improve access throughout Ennis, including lanes and alleyways. Three preferred bin storage areas in the town centre have been agreed in principle.” He added that consultation is ongoing and elected members are being consulted in relation to the proposals “to ensure successful completion of the project.”
He added that the municipal district office is examining the possibility of using road opening licence conditions to assist in the funding of the upgrade of certain lanes in the Parnell Street area.
“The municipal district office has assisted the TidyTown committee in their efforts and projects over the years,” he said. “The note refers to the river walk between Victoria Bridge and Mill Bridge. The MD office carried out cleaning and trimming works along this section throughout 2016, using resources provided by the outdoor crews and the gateway crew. If the location was examined this week, it would be noted that the Japanese Knotweed is being treated. The matter of the Nature Walk panel has been identified with the TidyTown committee and this is due to be replaced. The Gateway Scheme is now finished, therefore the resources available to assist the TidyTowns committee will be significantly reduced in 2017.”
By Jessica Quinn