ENNIS was compared to the Pale of old at last week’s meeting of Clare County Council. It was claimed the county town is sucking up the bulk of local public spending, at the expense of rural parts of the county.
The new Ennis Market building was slammed as a white elephant by Councillor PJ Kelly, who quipped that it could be called after ‘Sean mac an Asal’ in the future, so pointless is it.
The Lissycasey man further berated spending money on the creation of a cycleway on the road from Ennis to Ennistymon.
“It’s a very bad road as it is,” he observed, saying it will become much worse if the proposal goes ahead.
Councillor Kelly made the remarks after receiving a report about planning contributions over the last five years and how the money had been spent.
He said he had been told in the past that planning contributions could only be spent in the area in which the development was taking place but that, in fact, a regulation exists to counter this.
The Fianna Fáil representative said there is now a “new Pale” in the county.
“Ninety percent of the levies are being spent in the Ennis area,” he claimed.
He said councillors should be asking more questions about the expenditure, adding that, “rural Clare is being left out again”.
He spoke of the affection he has for Ennis, while he criticised some of the spending on roads, saying recent changes have made people confused and reluctant to come into the town.
The report provided addressed the cost of the proposed cycle lane from Ennis to Ennistymon, stating, “The proposed cycle lane from Ennis to Ennistymon has been included in the list of capital projects under the new Draft Development Contribution Scheme for 2017-2023. It is estimated that this project will cost in the region of €4 million, with funding sources being central Government Smarter Travel Programme funding and local sources.”
Councillor Kelly replied to this with no little sarcasm, “It’s costing only €4m, a small amount of money.”
By Owen Ryan