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Call to drive on with Killaloe Ballina plan

AN ambitious plan for the twin lakeside towns of Killaloe and Ballina was adopted at the November meeting of local councillors, paving the way for a range of enhancement works.
The Killaloe and Ballina Town Enhancement and Mobility Plan, (TEMP) outlines a number of key projects for both sides of the Shannon, including future pedestrianisation of the old bridge once the new bridge and bypass are completed.
Measures to boost walking and cycling are outlined as well as actions to connect the flow of traffic to the bypass, reducing the number of vehicles in the centre of the two towns.
The drafting of the plan involved extensive public consultation and cooperation, over the course over over a year, between the local authorities in Clare and Tipperary.
The blueprint was warmly welcomed by Councillor Tony O’Brien who commended senior planner Brian McCarthy and the Killaloe Municipal District team.
“This is simply a fantastic plan, I have been saying that the greatest single economic benefit will be the new Killaloe bridge crossing and bypass, but this plan is absolutely terrific and fantastic.
“It has involved many, many hours of dialogue and engagement with local community groups, business owners and ourselves as public representatives. You can’t make an omlette without breaking eggs, but overall the plan will be of huge benefit. It will attract people into the place.”
The Fianna Fáil member cautioned that action is needed in the near future to turn the plan into a reality.
“It will only be a fantastic plan when things start to happen on the road, on the ground,” he said.
“I would hate to think the plan could lie on a shelf gathering dust. Is there a time-scale for implementation? I’m really, really am excited and I don’t want to let go of it. We must strike while the iron is hot.
“This is the basis of a driver for the towns of Killaloe and Ballina and also a driver for East Clare. I absolutely welcome it and thanks those who made it happen and propose it. Let’s drive on with it.”
Councillor Pat Burke seconded the plan saying he was delighted to do so.
“Even since the briefing, people have been asking for an update on bypass,” he said.
“Now we’re able to add to that by telling people about the bigger picture, based on this plan. Not alone will the bypass be constructed, but this mobility plan will kick in with pedestrianisation of the grid and so on.”
Councillor Pat Hayes added his thanks to Mr McCarthy and team at the Killaloe office for getting the plan over the line.
“I would love to be living in Killaloe for the next ten years to see it implemented,” he said.
“This is a game changer for Killaloe and East Clare. I hope proper resources will go into the implementation of the plan. I fully endorse the programme.”
Councillor Alan O’Callaghan described the plan as “great for East Clare”.
Cathaoirleach Councillor Joe Cooney said the plan was another example of the work being done in East Clare. “They wouldn’t be happening without great officials pushing to get them across the line,” he said.
Mr McCarthy said the aim of the plan is to provide “a coordinated approach to Killaloe-Ballina, two towns, but one community that will work pre-bypass and post-bypass,” he said.
“That’s what’s provided for. We are building on the fantastic attributes of Killaloe-Ballina. Thanks for positive engagement of councillors and community and for their significant and considered input.
“A vibrant Killaloe-Ballina will have significant spin off benefits for East Clare and into North Clare also.”
When pressed by Councillor O’Brien as to an indicative time-frame for implementation, Mr McCarthy said much depended on the bypass.
“We have a coordinated approach,” he said. “It sets us up very well to be able to apply for and attract national Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) and Heritage Council funding.
“A lot of interventions will required significant funding, but they can be broken into individual projects. The majority require implementation of the bypass.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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