ORGANISERS of the Fleadh Nua festival in Ennis were “devastated” over the closure of the Rowan Tree hostel, a meeting has been told.
Calls were made at an Ennis Municipal District meeting for action to be taken to secure tenants for empty business premises in the town.
The hostel on Harmony Row is just one of a number of high profile businesses which have closed in recent years in the county capital, with Councillor Pat Daly insisting, “Ennis can’t afford to lose business.”
Speaking at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District the councillor urged the local authority to co-ordinate with Ennis Chamber and the owners of properties with a view to securing new tenants.
Alongside the Rowan Tree which closed in October, he recalled the other locations which have shut their doors, Food Haven, O’Brien’s deli and Twomey-Walsh.
Councillor Daly recalled how in a recent conversation with organisers of Fleadh Nua they outlined the closure of the Rowan Tree was a “huge loss” as many traditional musicians stayed at the hostel.
Leonore O’Neill, Senior Executive Officer, responded, “Ennis MD do not generally initiate or intervene in commercial rentals between private parties. We continue to support economic activity and ensure conditions are favourable within the physical environment through a number of initiatives including public realm enhancements and outdoor dining licences.
“I note that the Rowan Tree premises referred to above is currently on the market for sale.”
Carmel Greene, SEO, Economic Development stated, “Where business premises are considered to be derelict, there is active engagement with the Derelict sites team in the Economic Development Directorate and their work is leading to improvements being made in some town centre premises and a number of planning applications on derelict properties are being lodged.
“In addition, through the work of the Ennis 2040 Team, a lot of engagement is underway with property owners in the town to examine development opportunities.”
Councillor Daly pointed out that the business premises he is referring in this instance are not derelict and he accepted that the council do not get involved with private parties.
However he said, “These businesses are still empty and I don’t like to see that happening, they need new tenants urgently.”
The motion was supported by Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy who stressed the importance of ensuring the issue stays “top of the agenda” for councillors.
She acknowledged that businesses are facing challenges with the effects of Covid-19 and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
She said while it is not for the council to intervene with private businesses it is important that the local authority highlight they are aware of the challenges facing businesses.
Councillor Johnny Flynn also voiced his support for the motion, urging the council to further promote its vacant property incentive scheme.