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Scariff works will be worth the wait, council promises

INVESTMENT of €3 to €4 million will be made in Scariff in the coming years, a meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District has heard. 

The busy East Clare market town was allocated more than half-a-million Euros to-date, under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF). The use of that tranche of funding was explained by Senior Executive Officer (SEO), Morgan Lahiffe, in response to a question from Councillor Joe Cooney. 

The Killaloe Cathaoirleach sought an update on progress with the project. “There has been a lot of concern about parking in Scariff again recently,” Councillor Cooney said. “People have been looking for updates. The fact is that the funding will only cover Step One. We need to be clear about what we will be able to do with this funding.”

Mr Lahiffe outlined that the current funding allocation does not provide for the delivery of a carpark. “The RRDF is for rural areas and we identified it as the best way to fund change for Scariff,” he said. “This includes funding for the development phase of the Scariff project, but not for construction. The Department want to ensure people go through the process, so that homework is done, in terms of planning, land acquisition and design.”

“Right now, we are engaging with property owners about the development of a multiservice hub,” Mr Lahiffe added. “We are also engaging with landowners about land for a new carpark. We hope this will be done over the next few months, but it takes time. After that, we are hoping to move on to full design for the Market Square, the hub and the carpark.”

The SEO outlined that extensive consultation work had been underway for some time with the Scariff Town Team and the general public. 

“We have been working with town team in last 12-15 months on a concept design for Market Square,” he said. “We have just completed one long consultation with the people of Scariff. We had a consultation event at the Teagasc offices. At a stage where we nearly have developed the full concept. that needs to go forward to the design stage. After that, we’ll apply to the Department with our full dossier. The shovel-ready project will be worth in the region of €3-4 million when complete. This is a slower process that people might imagine, but ultimately, we hope, the win is massive.”

In January, the Department of Rural and Community Development, allocated €524,000 to Scariff to fund preparatory work for a new public car park, an enterprise hub and the enhancement of the Market Square. A large-scale public consultation process, outlining a number of design concepts, concluded last month.  

In 2021, a number of enhancement options were commissioned by Scariff Town Team in partnership with Scariff Community Council, and funded by Clare County County, Clare Local Development Company and Leader. A team led by Helena McElmeel Architects, and involving Alan Lipscombe, Shane Hanniffy and David McLoughlin, prepared proposals, based on an initial  community consultation process. 

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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