THE creation of a new Ennis and Environs Development Plan for 2014 to 2020 has been described as a “waste of time and money” as the future of Ennis Town Council remains in doubt.
At a recent meeting of the local authority, it was outlined that 45 submissions have been received in relation to the draft plan. However, Councillor Tommy Brennan has insisted that the council contact the government to seek a deferral of the plan for 12 months.
“There will be no town council here in 12 months and we will be making decisions with this plan that people will have to live with for five years. This will save a lot of time and money because they will have to make a new plan next year.”
He went on, “The Government are giving out about quangos; this is another quango.”
Mayor of Ennis, Peter Considine commented that the council have to work within the legislation that is in place in relation to the preparation of the development plan.
He also voiced concern that delaying the process would mean that the future development of the town would be placed in the hands of those who “don’t have a feel for Ennis like the people around this table”.
He added that representatives from the County Managers Association have been in talks with the Government regarding Putting People First, the action programme which put forward the proposal to abolish town councils.
“I would like to see the people of Ennis and elected representatives have a major say in the future development of Ennis,” he said.
Town manager Ger Dollard told the councillors the local authority has a duty to uphold the law as it stands and proceed with the process of preparing the development plan. He added that if the local authority is abolished, the government would have to put transitional measures in place to deal with matters such as council development plans.
Councillor Brian Meaney stated the authority should look on the development plan as a “means of leaving our stamp and ensure that the culture of our town is protected”.
He commented he would be “fearful” that the mooted municipal districts would mean that councillors from areas outside of Ennis would make decisions that would cause “damage to the town”.
Councillor Johnny Flynn urged that the preparation of the plan go ahead, stating it is important for councillors to voice their opinions on the development of the town. Councillor Frankie Neylon commented, “We are elected for five years and till the day that five years is finished, all we can do is continue doing what we are doing until the day we are removed”.
Councillor Brennan proposed the plan be delayed for 12 months, seconded by Councillor Michael Guilfoyle. Councillor Considine proposed that the manager’s report into the plan be adopted, moving the plan onto the next stage and that the minister be made a aware of the council’s reservations. A vote to defer was taken and defeated six votes to three.