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Pitch made for shelters at Lees Road

A PITCH is being made for the provision of shelters around the playing fields of an Ennis amenity to protect exposed sports fans.
Ennis’ Deputy Mayor Councillor Paul Murphy says sports fans are being “drenched” on the sidelines at Active Ennis, John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road.
Speaking at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District the councillor urged that funding be sourced to provide a large dugout or small stand to provide shelter on the perimeter of the pitches.
“Provision of these would give much needed shelter from the elements to players and management of teams as well as vulnerable groups such as the elderly and disabled,” he urged.
He said signage should be added to indicate that priority be given to vulnerable people to use the shelter.
The councillor recalled his own first-hand experience of being on the side-lines recently.
“The rain was falling and it really opened my eyes to what it could be like in December or January.” He said that players and mentors were “soaked”.
“I had rain gear on but there were supporters, elderly people and those with mobility issues getting drenched.”
He said that Lees Road is “a fantastic facility”, but, he added, “it is quite open to the elements, there is no shelter.”
The motion was supported by Councillor Johnny Flynn who said he would bring the issue up at the next meeting of the Ennis Active Committee.
Tim Forde, Head of Sports & Recreation, in his response to the proposal stated, “There is presently, no plan to provide dugout/shelters around the playing surfaces in Active Ennis John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road. That said, we will source costs and options for discussion.
“It should be noted, the Park is an ‘open area’, and as such it presents a number of challenges, if we decide to go ahead. These types of structures are safest, and best suited, if installed in fenced off pitches.”
Councillor Murphy welcomed the response, but sought clarification on the statement regarding the suitability of these structures to fenced-off pitches.
While Councillor Murphy sought measures to improve the experience for visitors to Lee’s Road, at the same meeting another councillor was calling for a deterrent for an unwelcome guest.
Councillor Mary Howard highlighted the growth of an invasive plant called Clematis Vitalba or Old Man’s Beard, which she said “appears to be taking over large areas within the park”.
She urged that the Ennis Municipal District “deal with this as a matter of urgency as it is smothering plants throughout the park”.
The councillor stated that Lee’s Road is “an amazing asset to the town” as she warned against the “destruction” this weed can do.
“I don’t think this can be eradicated, it was brought to my attention and it is quite a serious infestation.” The motion was seconded by Councillor Ann Norton.
Mr Forde confirmed that an “action plan” is being worked on to deal with the weed. “The team in Active Ennis, John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road, are aware of this developing situation. We have noted one particularly bad area at the end of the cycle track and there are isolated pockets elsewhere in the park, which we have begun dealing with.
“We believe control, rather than eradication, is probably the best action moving forward, as this plant propagates easily and is now commonplace around the country. We are in contact with the Council Gardening section and working on an action plan,” he said.

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