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Calls for more Ennis signage on motorway

A SIGN for Ennis at the Scariff/Tulla exit of the Ennis bypass is of “paramount importance” to the town, according to members of the Ennis Development Forum and Ennis Chamber.
The groups met with Clare’s four TDS for the second time in Ennis this week as they continue with plans to make Clare the first county out of recession.
Among the issues discussed at the meeting is the need for more signage into Ennis off the motorway. At the meeting, it was agreed that all six Clare members of the Oireachtas will arrange a meeting with the National Roads Authority to discuss the concerns of the Development Forum and the Chamber.
Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Johnny Flynn was among those calling for the signage as he outlined that during the first three months of the bypass opening, there was a 30% drop in the town’s tourist office footfall. It was noted that Athlone, which is of similar size to Ennis, has seven signed connections off the motorway.
Members also spoke about the issue of coach parking, with the meeting hearing that the lower car park of the Temple Gate Hotel, which was originally designed for a coach car park, is often empty.
It was agreed among the business forum and the TDs that this should be reverted back to coach parking and tours should be encouraged to come into Ennis. Brian O’Neill of the Rowan Tree insisted that bus drivers need to be looked after by hotels and hostels in a bid to encourage people to experience the town.
Other suggestions made at the meeting were that a specific marketing fund be set up to promote the Shannon/Clare region and that flights should be supported that already exist in Shannon in a bid to keep the routes.
It was also discussed that people need to be encouraged to return to work and this needs to be more attractive than staying on the dole.
It was also agreed that a National Centre of Welcome for the town would also help attract both Irish and international tourists. According to Aoife Madden of the Ennis Development Forum, “Through Create the Magic, Ennis is already trying to be the friendliest town in Ireland. Now all we need is a centre of welcome. All at the meeting agreed this would be a fantastic idea.”
The meeting recognised the abundant renewable energy resources in Clare, which if harnessed and stored can provide secure clean energy.
“We have the best wind resources in the country, which is a massive asset. We could become a low carbon county in Clare, which could benefit employment substantially,” commented Ms Madden.
Incentives should also be made available to developments, the meeting was told. It was suggested that schemes should be extended to enable graduates to obtain experience and provide employers with manpower.
Following the discussions, it was decided in order for the groups to sell the town, they could do with a history lesson themselves. Jane O’Brien from the Ennis Walking Tours has offered to bring the Ennis Development Forum, chamber and the four local TDs on a walking tour of Ennis. “This will enable us to promote our town, which is so important to all involved,” concluded Ms Madden.
The group’s next meeting with the four TDs is scheduled for September 19.

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