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Councillor Johnny Flynn: “I’ve had a number of complaints from residents around the Clare Road, where the Laurel Lodge is located, about drug dealing and anti-social behaviour there."

Calls for upgrade of ‘vital’ Clare business park

CALLS for an upgrade of the Quin Road Business Park, described as “very broken and piecemeal”, have been made by local councillors.

Councillor Johnny Flynn has urged the Ennis Municipal District, Clare County Council and Shannon Group to “urgently look at upgrading the park” in terms of its customer, worker and business owner experience.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District he outlined, “Quin Road Business Park, Ennis is a very busy and important economic centre in which businesses provide essential retail services to County Clare customers and significant employment. The businesses in the park generate annual revenue to both Clare County Council and Shannon Group in rates and service charges.”

He suggested that upgrades to the site could include the creation of a biodiversity/recreational park on vacant sites at the left hand side of the entrance for people visiting and working in the business park and to assist in the use of the adjacent Fergus River Walkway.

Improved pedestrian access and mobility and cycling access and facilities, signage, public lighting and footpaths, litter and environmental control, traffic control and speed limits are also needed.

Councillor Flynn commented that there is a “complete lack” of pedestrian access adding that a bus shelter is needed to enhance Local Link bus usage. He pointed out that a lack of adequate lighting has led to workers heading to the business park in the dark.

He stated that hundreds of people work in the business park, while thousands visit and there are also people from Ukraine living there in emergency accommodation. He estimated that the business park generates up to €100,000 for the Shannon Group alongside rates for the council.

“One business employing 24 staff pays €25,000 pa rates to Clare County Council and around €3,500 service charge to Shannon Group. During Covid Clare County Council did do a rates relief but I understand Shannon Group did not,” he said.

Concern for vulnerable users of the business park was also expressed with Councillor Flynn pointing out that the Brothers of Charity use a building there.

“Their clients need better footpaths. Similarly they use the twice Daily Local Link bus service and would benefit from a bus shelter I believe which would open the service to the emergency Ukrainian accommodation centre established at the Quin Road Business Park in Ennis where Ukrainians have been residing. The emergency centre has a potential capacity of 30 beds.”

Councillor Paul Murphy voiced his support for the motion while Councillor Pat Daly stated that the Quin Road Business Park is “vital for the economic life of Ennis.”

Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy agreed that the site “needs a facelift”. Councillor Mary Howard said the idea of biodiversity aspect to the site is “a great idea”, suggesting it would offer a place for workers at the business park a place to sit and eat outside.

Responding to the motion, Leonore O’Neill, Senior Executive Officer stated, “Clare County Council are aware of a number of different owners of blocks, in addition to Shannon Commercial properties. Clare County Council will examine the issues raised in this Notice of Motion to examine what can be progressed.”

She added that the Quin Road Business Park is not in the ownership or charge of Clare County Council, but the council will endeavour to engage with the Shannon Group and other property owners to see what can be progressed.

Councillor Flynn acknowledged the support of his fellow councillors. He stated that businesses had hoped the whole estate would be taken over and managed by the council prior to the economic collapse.

He expressed the hope that the council, Shannon Group and property owners can “come together and try and develop a sustainable future for the business park. It looks very broken and piecemeal, it needs a facelift.”

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