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No dining al fresco during Fleadh

RESTAURANTS that have tables outside their premises will be hit during the Fleadh, as it has been confirmed that all street furniture in Ennis will have to be removed.

Adrian Jackson from Safety Solutions, who is managing his sixth Fleadh, said they had to address a number of concerns from statutory agencies, such as the gardaí, medical personnel and local authority, in adddition to the 20 conditions attached to the event licence.

A safety officer will also be provided during the event, while an event control room will be established in Clare County Council’s headquarters in New Road, Ennis, to respond to any emergency.

This room will be manned by gardaí, advanced paramedics and stewards, who will be watching with the help of closed circuit television cameras.

“Crowd management is the biggest challenge for the Fleadh. Everyone’s safety is the most important thing. If people are not safe, it is not a good event for anyone.

“There will be changes in the pedestrianisation of Ennis town centre because it will be totally different during the Fleadh, compared with any other time of the year.

“Ennis will effectively be an event site. There will be one-way pedestrianised systems during the event. People will be directed in certain directions.

“Ennis is a fantastic town for the Fleadh, with its narrow streets and lanes. However, it does present safety challenges,” he said.

He described hosting the Fleadh as akin to “shoe-horning” a festival like Oxegen into Ennis town centre.
He stressed that the organisers had to enforce restrictions to ensure that up to 80,000 people, who might converge on Ennis during peak periods, remain safe.

To ensure that ambulances can access some of the main streets in the town centre, he said street furniture will not be allowed, while glass bottles will also be banned.

Ennis gardaí have been liaising with local publicans to ensure no glass bottles will be provided on main streets.

All deliveries within the pedestrianised area have to be completed before 10.30am, as access will not be permitted after this time.

The meeting was also told that anyone without parking permits will have to use one of the four locations on the outskirts of Ennis, where a park and ride will be provided to ensure staff can get to and from work.
People will be accommodated at St Flannan’s College, Ennis Mart, Ennis Community College playing field on the Lahinch Road and Ennis Showgrounds.

During the question-and-answer session, one speaker highlighted a difficulty for staff working in pubs and late night restaurants, who would be required to walk long distances to access their car in the park and ride facilities in the early hours.

By Dan Danaher

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