TOURISM in Ennistymon is set to take a major step forward as a number of enhancement projects are ear-marked to tie in with the development of its status as a Fáilte Ireland Destination Town.
Last December, the tourism body announced that €500,000 would be issued, in two rounds, in order to boost the town’s attractiveness to visitors. The aim is to capitalise on the huge numbers travelling to North Clare attractions like the Cliffs of Moher and to entice them to spend more time and money in the town.
At the June meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Councillor Shane Talty urged the council to tackle the “low-hanging fruit” and examine projects that might be completed in conjunction with the Destination Town works. “The Fáilte Ireland funding will deliver a very welcome post-Covid boost for Main Street, Ennistymon, later this year,” the Fianna Fáil member noted.
As an example of a project that might be tackled, Councillor Talty highlighted a 30m stretch of footpath on Churchill, which, if repaired, would give better pedestrian access from Main Street. “There are lots of homes in the area,” he said, “and many of them are owned by the council. Completing the path is an obvious need.”
The North Clare Local Area representative noted that Aldi, which opened in 2017, had made a development contribution in the region of €25,000 and that many people accessing the supermarket had to use a deficient footpath.”
Noting that there were many positive developments on the way for Ennistymon, Councillor Talty said he was pleased to see the publication in June of the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the new Inner Relief Road for the town. “It’s a major step forward,” he remarked.
Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District, Councillor Joe Garrihy said that the Destination Town funding represented “an opportunity for a really big win”. “The funding is great to get and the benefits will be multiple,” he said. “This will provide a big boost for the future.”
Councillor Róisín Garvey said she was “strongly supportive” of the motion. “It’s great to see joined up thinking,” she said. The Green Party member also noted that speeding was a problem at Churchill. “Is it cars that spend money, or people?” she asked. “We need to open this area up for safe access.”
Councillor Ian Lynch said he struggled with the idea that planning permission could be given for a development if the infrastructure around it was deficient. “Fixing the path should have been made a condition of planning permission,” he asserted.
In response, Acting Senior Executive Engineer John O’Malley noted that a Part Eight planning application relating to the Destination Town is to be lodged in the coming days. “There are several projects on the cards for Ennistymon,” he said. “It shows the importance of everyone linking together. That’s the way forward.”
A written response from Enda MacNamara, Senior Executive Engineer, said the footpath project would be completed in tandem with the Ennistymon Tourism Destination Town works, subject to the availability of funding. “The planning department is also reviewing potential works in Ennistymon,” the response said. “The Municipal District are currently engaging with the planning department on co-ordinating projects.”