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Free morning parking in Ennis ’til January 7

 Michael Guilfoyle, Mayor of Ennis, attempts to pay for his parking despite the best efforts of Leonard Cleary, town clerk, JJ Counihan, supervising traffic warden and John Dillane, Ennis Chamber of Commerce, at the launch of the Free Parking in Ennis initiative, which runs for the month of December until January 7.  Photograph by Declan MonaghanA CLARE County Councillor this week called for a reduction in parking charges in Ennis from €1.30 per hour to €1. Councillor Pat Daly was speaking after Ennis Town Council announced details of a new parking incentive scheme it is introducing in a move to promote Christmas and new-year shopping in the county capital.
At the November Ennis East Area Meeting, Councillor Daly had called for the first hour of parking in Ennis to be free of charge “particularly as so many rate-paying businesses in the town are struggling to survive”.
On Wednesday, Ennis Town Council announced that free parking will be applicable to the town’s 759 off-street and 783 on-street public car-parking spaces up to 12 noon daily from this Saturday to January 7 inclusive.
Councillor Daly said he was delighted to see the free early morning parking for December and the beginning of January and suggested that “the council should now reduce the one-hour parking fee from €1.30 to €1 as it is too expensive and inconvenient for shoppers.”
At the November meeting of Ennis Town Council, Fine Gael Councillor Johnny Flynn had also called for a parking incentive to be introduced during the Christmas retail period. He believes the town council’s plan will draw more shoppers into Ennis.
“The issue was discussed and there was general agreement that the town executive would meet with the business community. This announcement is the result of that meeting and it is fantastic news for the town. We are competing with Limerick and Galway cities, which have similar incentives, as well as their out-of-town shopping facilities. The annual retail spend in Clare is about €500 million per annum and we need to retain as much of that in the county town and our other towns and villages as possible,” he commented.
The launch of the Ennis parking initiative coincides with the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights by Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Michael Guilfoyle at 5pm this Friday.
“Ennis boasts a wide-ranging and quality shopping experience that will be further enhanced by this free parking initiative. I call on the people of Ennis and surrounding areas to avail of the free parking scheme and to show their support for local businesses,” commented Mayor Guilfoyle.
Ennis Chamber president, John Dillane said the free parking initiative represents a proactive coming together of the town council and the local business community, aimed at giving consumers easier access to the town’s shopping facilities, while also providing a boost to the local Christmas trade. 
“The key focus of the parking scheme is on promoting what the customer wants as opposed to what serves Ennis Town Council and the traders best. Providing a high-quality and value-for-money shopping experience is central to the initiative. It should also be noted that every euro spent locally remains in the community and helps to sustain existing and create new employment within the retail sector and elsewhere,” Mr Dillane explained.
Ennis town manager, Ger Dollard noted that the provision of free parking, in conjunction with the annual street pedestrianisation initiative, is designed to accommodate visitors to Ennis, increase footfall on the streets of the town and boost consumer spending.
“Ennis Town Council is appealing to those working in Ennis to ensure, where possible, that public car-parking spaces in the core town centre area are left vacant for shoppers,” stated Mr Dollard.
Free parking up to 12pm daily from this Saturday to January 7 will be available at the following off-street and on-street locations:
Off-street: Abbey St Car Park; Bindon Street Car Park; Cornmarket Car Park; Friars’ Walk Car Park; Friary Car Park; Lower Market Street Car Park; Market Place Car Park, Parnell St Car Park; Wood Quay Car Park.
On-street: Abbey Street; College Road; Drumbiggle Road; Gort Road; Harmony Street; Kilrush Road; Lower Market Street; Market Place; McNamara Park; Mill Road; New Road; New Road Car Park; Newbridge Road; Simms Lane; Station Road and Turnpike Road.
Normal parking rates apply after 12 noon. There also are a number of long-stay public parking facilities in Ennis, namely Cloughleigh Long-stay Park and Glór Long-stay Car Park.

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