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Council builds bridges with Ennistymon community

Blakes Corner. Image Google Streetview

Blakes Corner. Image Google Streetview

Talks are due to begin shortly between Clare County Council and a local committee formed in Ennistymon to resolve issues relating to serious traffic congestion at Blake’s Corner, a notorious bottleneck in the North Clare town.

More than 700 people turned up at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon on Friday night to voice their opposition to an announcement by the local authority that the emerging preferred solution would involve the construction of an inner relief road incorporating a new bridge across the Inagh River 80 metres upstream of the existing Conway Bridge and Blakes Corner. The proposal would involve the demolition of a number of homes and businesses.

A committee comprising representatives of the affected resident, Councillors Richard Nagle and Bill Chambers, community representative Joe Garrihy and Senator Martin Conway (Chairperson).

Clare County Council has welcomed the establishment of the local Committee and said it “looks forward to meeting with its members to constructively engage in achieving a resolution to the difficulties that exist”.

The Council said the purpose of these meetings will be to identify “a way forward that takes account of the concerns of committee members and ultimately, benefits the town of Ennistymon.”

“The Chairperson of the newly established committee and the Council have been in contact over the weekend to set the necessary arrangements in place to allow an ongoing engagement. The Council now looks forward to meeting with the Committee at an early date,” added the Council.

Clare County Council, following consultation with Members of the West Clare Municipal District (MD), last week announced the preferred solution to the traffic problems at Blakes Corner.

A briefing of Councillors by Roughan and O’Donovan Consulting Engineers, who had been engaged by the Council to review the issue and design a scheme to deal with the problem, confirmed that the proposed inner relief road would link the Ennis Road with the Lahinch Road and would also involve an upgrading and realignment of Bogbere Street. The listed buildings at Blakes Corner are projected under existing heritage law and therefore, cannot be demolished.

Meanwhile, Clare General Election Candidate Michael McDonagh has said he is “glad to see that common sense has prevailed” and Clare County Council has agreed to sit down with the local committee.

“Nobody doubts that a solution to this longstanding issue is required. However, any solution must not negatively impact on the lives and properties of those living in the vicinity of Blakes Corner. These people should be centrally involved in efforts to secure a resolution.

While I am conscious of the importance of protecting Clare’s valuable heritage, it makes absolute common sense that priority be given to the protection of people’s homes. The laws relating to listed buildings and in this case buildings which are nothing other than a public nuisance, must be changed. Otherwise, our laws will essentially be protecting unoccupied run down buildings over people’s homes and businesses.   How our Government TDs or the Council have not secured a review of these laws, even on an exceptional case basis, is beyond me.

I appreciate that Blakes Corner is a public safety issue and is a serious traffic bottleneck. The problem has not appeared overnight nor it will disappear overnight so I call for calm and measure in any discussions between the Council and the local committee,” added Mr. McDonagh.

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