COUNCILLORS in Ennis have been urged to make a permanent decision on the pedestrianisation of the town.
The call came from Director of Service with Clare County Council, Gerard Dollard.
Mr Dollard said the “stop/start” nature of previous pedestrianisation policies hasn’t helped the process.  
At the October meeting of the Ennis Municipal District Committee, councilors gave their backing to the pedestrianisation of O’Connell Street in the week leading up to Christmas Day. The council will now seek submissions and suggestions as to how best operate the system.
The issue was also raised in a motion submitted by councillor Tom McNamara.
Cllr McNamara said, “We need to make a decision on how we are going to approach pedestrianisation of the town. It’s something that should benefit the overall atmosphere in the town. I think it’s important we take it on and look at it in a broader sense that the Christmas sense.”
Mr Dollard told the meeting it was time for the council to make a “black or white” decision on the future of pedestrainisation in Ennis.
“For the last number of years we’ve confined pedestrianisation to O’Connell Street. We have done it on a number of days in December, depending how the days fall…Normally we’d run pedestrianisation between 12 and 6pm. There are seven days outlined there  
Mr Dollard continued, “The issue of pedestrianisation is a huge issue. We’ve had some discussions on it as part of the local area plan for Ennis. I think the members collectively need to continue that discussion and come to a permanent decision on pedestrianisation in Ennis. One of the faults with what we’ve been doing now is the stop/start nature of it. I think it does need a black or white decision on it.”
Senior executive engineer Eamon O’Dea said on conjunction with pedestrianisation, the council also worked alongside other public bodies, such as the Courts Services, to increase the level of parking on offer in Ennis during December.
“Equally the Buttermarket car park is made available… Those incentives are there and we would assist in every way we can.”
Cllr Pat Daly said he supported a system of pedestrianisation in Ennis. Cllr Daly said the system should be implemented on a longer basis during the year.
Cllr James Breen said pedestrianisation should be expanded to include Abbey Street.
“I can’t see any reason why Abbey Street cannot be pedestrianised. There’s nothing happening there only cars flying through.”  
Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) told the meeting a previous six-week trial of pedestrianisation of Ennis was halted after businesses reported a decline in takings during the period.
Cllr Mary Howard told the meeting any policy of pedestrianisation would have to take on board the views of local businesses.

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