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Councillor Johnny Flynn

NTA set to conduct route inspection for Ennis bus service

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PLANS for the delivery of a “much needed” local bus service for Ennis town and its environs are driving forward with confirmation the National Transport Authority have “advanced” their design and are due to undertake a route inspection this month.

However, former mayor of Ennis Councillor Johnny Flynn, who has been a long time campaigner for the service has criticised the “snail’s pace” of the project and is calling on the county’s Oireachtas members to attend the next meeting of the Ennis Municipal District and push for the service’s delivery.

Details of the progress of providing a local bus were outlined at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District where the service’s importance was emphasised by local councillors.

Seeking an update on the service, Councillor Paul Murphy insisted that a local bus service is “vital” for the town of Ennis. “I am requesting a progress update on provision of a much needed local bus service for Ennis Town and environs,” he asked.

He said people are being called on to reduce their carbon footprints, but they do not have alternative transport options available to them. “We need alternatives to the car, if a bus service was in place then we can talk about getting people out of their cars.”

Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer informed the meeting that the Ennis Municipal District had a recent on-line meeting with the NTA Public Bus Team.

The team, “have advanced their design and are due to undertake a route inspection with the proposed bus type in November with the intention of briefing the councillors in December,” he said.

Councillor Murphy stated he was “happy to hear there is engagement and I am looking forward to the report back.”

A local bus service would “seriously reduce traffic congestion”, Councillor Pat Daly said.

Councillor Flynn recalled how in 2004 he sought a feasibility study and funding for a bus service to be introduced into Ennis. He said while it is “great to see it is making progress, it is at a snail’s pace.” This is not due to the council’s director of service or engineers, he insisted, adding that the service is a “crucial” element of the Ennis 2040 plans.

Instead, he said he was “shocked at the attitude” of the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland towards Ennis, with funding being given in recent years for bus services in towns smaller than the county capital.

“We have 25,000 plus people living here in Ennis. It’s very frustrating to see the amount of people travelling to and from schools and the emissions that are being generated.”

He urged the council request that Clare’s Oireachtas members attend the next meeting of the municipal district so councillors would “enforce on them” the need for the service.

Councillor Mary Howard stated, “We have seen the success of the service in Sligo and other towns, we are trying to make this town friendly for everybody and accessible.”

Director of Service Carmel Kirby told the meeting that she “cannot overestimate how important is to Ennis to bring in a bus service.” She said the council have been working with the NTA and are “making progress” adding “I know they are supportive of our requirements for the town.”

“Absolutely the people of Ennis deserve a bus service, it is so important for the town,” she concluded.

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