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Coach tourism gearing up

EFFORTS to increase the level of coach tourism business in the town have moved up a gear with new plans unveiled by Ennis Town Council this week. Additional bus and coach parking spaces have been allocated in the Friars Walk area of the town centre, located adjacent to Clare Museum.The council is also investigating a number of other capital projects, including the development of a dedicated bus park equipped with maintenance facilities for tour operators.Welcoming the initiative, Mayor of Ennis Councillor Michael Guilfoyle said, “Ever since the completion of the N18 Ennis Bypass, we have witnessed a decline in the number of bus and coach operators visiting the town. Coach tourism remains very important for Ennis businesses and therefore, the council and its elected members along with members of the local business community must continue to examine ways of facilitating operators with easier access to the town centre.”The provision of five additional coach parking spaces at Friars Walk is the …

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Survey reveals worrying future for Ennis retailers

Those opposed to plans to construct a €34 million retail development on the outskirts of Ennis say that an independent survey conducted by Retail Excellence Ireland confirms their concerns about the proposal and the potential impact of the ‘doughnut effect’ on the town.Ennis Chamber, Ennis Development Forum, Ennis Street Associations and individual businesses recently made submissions to An Bord Pleanála calling on the planning authority to refuse planning for a retail development by Michael Lynch Ltd on the Limerick Road/Tobairteascain Road, with Tesco set to be the anchor tenant. While the developers say the plan will create 500 jobs and will make a “positive contribution” to the town, complementing existing business, those against the proposal say the Retail Excellence Ireland survey shows the potential for job losses in Ennis.The survey was carried out in Naas, County Kildare with the objective of determining the impact the opening of Tesco Extra 12 months ago had on the viability and vitality of its …

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Dab hands for Tidy Towns

THE children of An Bóithrín GAA Club, along with Ennis Tidy Towns, has been helping to brighten up the town this week with a colourful painting project.The children got their brushes out to paint a house in the Old Boreen in Ennis on Tuesday. According to Áine Purcell, chairperson of Ennis Tidy Towns Committee, “As well as brightening the area, we want to encourage local children to get to know the history of our town. An Bóithrín is called after the old boreen and we wanted the children to realise this connection and that in its day so many children would have lived in the boreen. They really enjoyed the experience and there was also a talk on the history of the boreen. It was fantastic to see the young people getting involved and being so enthusiastic. All over Ennis, there are lots of young people getting involved in clean-ups and other initiatives to improve our town,” she said.She added, …

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National Concert Hall date for schools

TWO local schools are to perform at the National Concert Hall in Dublin next week as part of a prestitigious national music competition.Both Holy Family Senior Primary School and Knockanean National School have made it to the finals of the Waltons Music for Schools Competition. The finalists in the first annual national competition and celebration of music in Ireland schools were recently announced by Lyric FM presenter Liz Nolan. The 12 finalist schools will travel to and perform at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on Monday, April 16 at 1pm, when six schools, three primary and three post-primary, will be chosen to win first, second and third prizes, as well as €3000, €1500 and €500 vouchers. In deciding to make Holy Family Senior a finalist, judges acknowledged that in addition to a 120-strong choir and an 80-strong chamber choir, tuition in several instruments and a newly introduced violin teaching programme, Holy Family Senior Primary School has “taken highly creative …

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Club still making a splash 70 years on

CELEBRATING 70 years in existence this year, the Ennis Swimming and Lifesaving Club has played an integral part in the life of the town. From the early days of swimming at ‘The Turret’ on the River Fergus to hosting championships at Ennis Leisure Complex, the club has grown immensely over the years.According to Caitriona McMahon of the Ennis Swimming and Lifesaving Club, “The club has a fabulous heritage of which we are very proud. The club has given a lot to the town through the years.”It was while researching the history of the club for their application for accreditation under Swim Ireland that it was first realised that this season marks a very special anniversary.“We had applied for the accreditation and we had to go through a comprehensive process that lasted about a year and a half. Part of that process involved getting background on the club and that’s how all of this started and we realised it was the …

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Caoimhe’s creation in design competition final

IT was a full house at the Strand Hotel, Limerick for the Southern Regional Final of the ERP Junk Kouture Recycled Fashion Competition, which saw the top 50 entries from the south take to the catwalk in their self-made creations.Among them was Coláiste Muire pupil Caoimhe McCabe’s creation Winter Garden, which wowed the judges and was named among the 18 selected outfits that will now go on to the grand final. Modelling the outfit was fellow pupil, Niamh Hickey.The competition, which is in its second year, challenges second-level pupils to rework trash and other recycled materials into remarkable high-end couture fashion.Milliner Aisling Maher, fashion designer Pamela Heaney, Tracey Fahey, head of department at Limerick school of Art and Design and head of corporate communications at ERP Ireland, Yvonne Holmes judged on the night and were blown away by the standard and variety on show.Caoimhe and the other finalists’ designs will now go through to the Grand Final, which will take …

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‘One million’ bags of mystery refuse

OVER one million black bags of rubbish are unaccounted for in the county, with almost half of all Clare householders not availing of a waste collection service, it has been claimed. At this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council, Councillor Johnny Flynn urged that the county council adopt household waste bylaws.“Fourty-seven per cent of Clare householders are not signed to registered waste collectors. I am asking that a policy similar to what is being done in Limerick and Leitrim be introduced, where households must demonstrate that they have alternative arrangements in place that satisfy the local authority,” he said.He insisted that the problem of flytipping on the outskirts of Ennis is affecting people’s quality of life. “Ennis is one of the towns that is most badly affected by flytipping,” he stated. According to Councillor Flynn, 47,000 tonnes of waste are produced in Clare every year, with 30,000 of that accounted for and managed. “That leaves 17,000 unaccounted for, which is …

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