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Due to the proximity of the road to the Ballybeg Woods, there is a requirement to carry out a bat survey this spring.

Illegal parking at Clare beauty spot creating difficulties

AN elderly woman using a walking frame was forced to step onto the road due to cars being parked on the footpath at a popular Ennis beauty spot in an incident described as “upsetting and frightening”, a meeting of local councillors heard.

The Ennis Municipal District is now to make the case to gardaí to have double yellow lines installed at the entrance to Ballybeg Woods after “health and safety concerns” about motorists parking on the footpath at the entrance was highlighted.

Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy raised the issue at a recent meeting of the municipal district calling for a review of the area to be undertaken to address “ongoing parking on the footpath approaching the Ballybeg Road entrance to the Ballybeg Woods”.

She said the current situation “is preventing pedestrians, pedestrians with child buggies and wheelchair users from using the footpath, thereby forcing them to walk on the road”.

The councillor acknowledged recent improvement works carried out at Ballybeg by the council including the construction of a new footpath from the water tower.

She questioned whether those who are parking at the entrance to Ballybeg Woods’ footpath are doing so because they do not know there is a car park nearby.

She pointed out that the carpark at the back entrance to Ballybeg is “rarely full” while people are continuing to park on the footpath.

“This has been brought up to me by a number of people living in the neighbourhood,” said the Fianna Fail member.

“One person was bringing their elderly mother out who uses a Zimmer frame and they couldn’t use the footpath because all of the cars were preventing them. They had to go out onto the road and it was upsetting and frightening for them.”

Barry Conway, Executive Engineer responded, “The Ennis Municipal District is forwarding a proposal to the gardaí for the installation of double yellow lines at the entrance to Ballybeg Woods to prevent the inappropriate parking on the footpath.

“The double yellow lines will be installed following the consultation with the gardaí.”

Councillor Colleran Molloy voiced her appreciation for the efforts being made, adding she believed installing bollards would be “too harsh”.

She said that there is a need to build awareness among the public that there is a “perfectly ample car park” in the area.

“I look forward to seeing what the progress is in making this safer for pedestrians,” she said.

Councillor Paul Murphy, deputy mayor, seconded the motion stating, “It’s frustrating to see cars parked on the footpath, half on and off the road, especially when there is a car park there.

“It is like what we see in Ennis, people want to literally be able to drive into the shop, people here want to literally drive into the wood and are parking in the closest spot rather than taking a few minutes to go to the car park.”

He continued, “I know the gardaí have been out in Ballybeg with speed traps, it is good to see them in the area, and hopefully this will keep the footpaths clear.”

Councillor Pat Daly commented that the woods are extremely popular, and questioned whether the car park needs to be expanded.

Councillor Mary Howard said parking on the footpath is “dangerous and very inconvenient”, agreeing that more awareness is needed about the car park.

Councillor Johnny Flynn suggested that appropriate signage could be installed showing the location of the car park.

He added that some people might feel their cars are “vulnerable” if left there.

Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Ann Norton stated it is “fantastic” to see so many people using Ballybeg.

However she criticised those who create a “hindrance” to those with mobility issues or families with buggies by parking on footpaths.

“They are putting them in danger by having to go onto the road. This is something people have to be conscious of, the fact is if they are parking on the footpath, half on and off, it’s illegal and they are causing huge distress to people.”

Councillor Colleran Molloy concluded by stating there there is ample space in the car park, and she said there is “very little movement” in the area that would warrant security concerns for those using the car park.

“Let’s see what improvements can be made through the efforts of the council and gardaí,” she said.

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