WORK on revamping Ennis’ market to include a new “iconic” covered building for traders has now begun in the town centre. It is expected that the new market will be ready in time to be showcased to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who will flock to Ennis for next year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Construction work has started on the Ennis Market Rejuvenation Project with a finish date of July 2016 for phase one of the redevelopment of the market at Garraunakilla. The new market will have room for 25 stalls, made up of internal covered areas and also space for stalls in the courtyard outside.
The actual number of stalls for each market will vary, depending on the size of the stalls to be accommodated. According to the council, the allocation of stalls will be done through an open process and following discussion with market traders and other interested parties.
Speaking to The Clare Champion at the site of the new development, Ger Dollard, director of services recalled that the idea of rejuvenating the market was proposed a number of years ago in the chambers of Ennis Town Council.
“The idea of the rejuvenation of the market has been on the books for quite a number of years. The market is an historic part of Ennis and people would like to see it modernised. About four or five years ago, Ennis Town Council started off with engaging consultants to do a study to see how the market could be developed and there was good public consultation at the time. The council considered the report and decided to proceed with Garraunakilla as phase one of the project. This is a €1.75 million project and it is phase one. We hope to follow on with further phases like Barrack Street and also Paddy Moran’s carpark and the main market area itself,” he said.
He added that the council are hopeful of completion in time for the Fleadh next year.
“The building will be a nice focal point; it will be very modern and very new and it will certainly add to the Fleadh next year. It will be an iconic structure,” he said.
The new market building forms just part of the project, with significant expenditure also being made on the upgrading of public infrastructure surrounding the site.
Clare County Council have confirmed that O’Brien Builders and Civil Engineering Contracts Ltd, Knockliscrane, Miltown Malbay has been awarded the €1.471m contract to undertake the works, which also include parking, roads and footpaths, the upgrading of existing public roadways, site lighting, street furniture, the demolition of the existing structures and landscaping and planting.
Mr Dollard said prior to construction, the local authority engaged with locals and the traders of the farmers’ market, who have since moved to Roslevan. He added that discussions with market traders will also be held prior to the opening of the new market.
“We are going to sit down with the people who operate here in the market. The farmers’ market has already moved to Roslevan and I gather things are going quite well there. Whether they want to move back or not, I don’t know but we will sit down with them and have a wide discussion on how this new project can best function in the future. We want to make it work, we want it to be a success and it will only be a success if we can get a thriving, lively, vibrant market here,” he said.
He concluded, “The fact that Clare County Council has obtained a loan of €1.75m, which must be paid from its own resources, is a demonstration of our commitment to the area and to enhancing the core town centre area of Ennis. In line with all major projects, a plan has been devised to minimise disruption to users and neighbours during construction, We are delighted with the positive support evident for the project to date.”
Paddy Coleman of P Coleman and Associates Consulting Engineers, said progress on the project is so far going well and they are on target to finish next summer.
Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Pat Daly said, “The commencement of works on phase one of this long-awaited project is great news. This very significant investment by Clare County Council in the heart of Ennis will enhance the market to standards expected in the modern age. It also is important from an economic and heritage perspective, considering Ennis has always been an important market town historically.”
“The creative market redevelopment design provided by the design team, led by P Coleman & Associates, Consulting Engineers, will present a striking feature in the market and, coupled with the general improvement works, will result in a major upgrade in this area.
“Subject to available funding, I would hope the council would be able to proceed with further phases of the overall market rejuvenation as soon as possible,” added Mayor Daly.
Councillor James Breen, cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, commented, “The completed development will provide traders with a quality and convenient location to promote their locally sourced and produced goods. The benefits for consumers and visitors to the town are also considerable as the development is central to the overall rejuvenation of this part of Ennis.”