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Flooding Not a Problem at New Library Site

Clare Champion, Friday, 24th November 2006

Ennis area Councillors have been assured by Director of Service, Tom Coughlan, that the matter of flooding at the proposed site of the new state-of-the-art library at the Post Office field will not be a problem in the development.

The subject regarding the construction of a new library facility in Ennis town centre was debated at length this week duriing a meeting of the Ennis electoral area meeting. Mr. Coughlan, revealed that the most likely site for the new library would be the Post Office field situated on Bank Place. Mr. Coughlan went on to explain that a smmall section of the field was owned by the Council and while the field itself is comprised of four acres, the library would be constructed on just 0.3 of an acre. The new building will, therefore, be fronting onto Bank Place, while the rear of the building will be fronting onto what is known as the Post Office field. The Director of Service added that in designing the new library, it was pivotal that the architecture of the area be respected.

Said Mr. Coughlan, "It is high time Ennis got a new library. The existing building on Harmony Row is good, but there is a need for new and more modern facilities. At the moment, the roof is leaking and the services need to be upgraded so the need is there for a new library building. Funding for this project may be available, but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. This is only going to be done once over the next 100-150 years, so it needs to be done right". Mr. Coughlan went on to explain that the bulk of the funding would be obtained through the sale of the current library building.

Green Party Councillor Brian Meaney argued that the current library building was a listed structure. However, Mr. Coughlan informed the Council that the only part of the library building that was 'listed' was the section where the exhibitions are held.

When questioned further about the funding of the new venture, Mr. Coughlan explained that if the current library building is not disposed of, then the new project will not go ahead.

Councillor Sonny Scanlan voiced his support for the planned development, but questioned the possibility of a new library for the village of Quin. Mr. Coughlan replied that there were no immediate plans to expand the library network just yet, but that there were plans to introduce a mobile library to the Quin area. He added that when the new flagship library service in Ennis is up and running, it would aptly cater for the surrounding areas, including Quin.

While Councillor Pat Daly welcomed the proposal to situate the new library in Bank Place, he warned the Director of Service of the area's "tendency to flood each year", and described it as "a delicate area of Ennis town", particularly given its proximity to the River Fergus, which, he reminded the Council, is also known to burst its banks following a heavy winter's rainfall.

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