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No change to commercial rates

PARKING charges and commercial rates will remain at 2009 levels for another 12 months at least, as Ennis Town Council adopted its budget for the coming year at a special meeting last Thursday.There was little rancour, with the budget being adopted unanimously. Reviewing 2009, town manager Ger Dollard said that the grant to the town council had been cut twice in 2009, and when preparing the budget, an assumption of a 10% cut for 2010 had been made. Mr Dollard claimed that the current commercial rate in Ennis is “at the lower end of the scale” when compared to other similar-sized towns. He also said that it was estimated that the tax on second homes would generate around €350,000 for 2010.While Councillor Brian Meaney queried the assumption made that the cut in the Local Government Fund would be limited to 10%, Mr Dollard said that there were a number of unknowns but that the draft budget gave scope to deal …

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Chamber hopes for festive cash splash

WHILE the recession had hit hard leading to a slower than usual shopping splurge, Ennis Chamber is expecting business to gather momentum in the coming weeks as shoppers finally splash the cash.Chamber president, Guy Flouch said the town was bracing itself for a bumper shopping season and key shopping streets had been pedestrianised and parking spaces have been massively increased in anticipation of large shopping numbers. “The town is a fantastic place to shop. The town centre is compact, pulsating with family-friendly stores all offering a range of initiatives to create a traditional festive atmosphere,” Guy stressed.Mr Flouch added, “Visiting Ennis this Christmas will restore a hassle-free shopping experience imbued with traditional seasonal values. You will have choice, convenience and fantastic bargains.”To promote the town, Guy and Chamber CEO, Rita McInerney have been appearing on regional radio stations and have launched an intensive advertising campaign. They have also tapped into social networking sites.Ennis Town Council is playing its part, with …

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Urine warden plan dries up

  AN Ennis Town Council-led crackdown on public urination isn’t going to go ahead.At a meeting this week, Councillor Paul O’Shea, who recently suggested creating a position of urine warden in the town, brought forward a motion asking that a six-month pilot project be introduced that would see two people employed as environment and nuisance wardens. But town clerk Eddie Power shot down the proposals. “The gardaí have the powers under the Criminal Justice Public Order Act 1994 to deal with public urination. Ennis Town Council as a local authority does not have the legal basis to take any action in this regard. In any event, the council is prohibited by the public service staffing embargo to recruit additional staff.”However, Councillor O’Shea was not deterred and claimed that funding could be found. He also claimed that the problem isn’t being tackled. “When was the last time anyone saw in the papers that someone had been fined for public urination?” he …

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New flooding plan needed

ALL “the old rules” that have surrounded flood control in Ennis are now irrelevant, this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council heard.Engineer Eamon O’Dea told the meeting that there would be an evaluation of the floods and funds would be sought to make improvements, while he also said that there is no safety risk at the Bank Place Bridge, although further inspections will take place when the water level recedes.Councillor Brian Meaney asked at what point it would be necessary to relocate people to higher ground, rather than continually tackling flooding at their homes. He said that certain works in the ’80s had been carried out “nefariously” and that a new approach was needed. “We need a substantial look at flood management. All the old rules have gone,” he commented.Councillor Meaney also said that the situation would have been much more grave but for the works that have been carried out at the Parnell Street car park.There needs to be …

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Ennis to host biggest book club festival yet

SOME of the most recognisable names in Irish and international literature will participate in next year’s Ennis Book Club Festival, the largest event of its kind anywhere in Ireland and the UK.Supported by Clare County Library, the three-day programme of events from March 5 to March 7 is expected to attract hundreds of book club members and book lovers from all over Europe and North America. The festival will also feature Ireland’s first ‘Book Club of the Year Award’ and a professional development workshop for library staff.Among the contributors to the festival will be Lionel Shriver, prolific journalist and Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World; Joseph O’Connor, journalist, screenwriter and author of 10 Irish number one bestsellers including Cowboys and Indians, Desperadoes, The Salesman and Inishowen; Tim Pat Coogan, biographer, historian, journalist and writer of Michael Collins and Ireland in the Twentieth Century; and Fiona Looney, columnist, playwright, scriptwriter and media personality.Other …

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