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Temperatures Rising Over Field

Clare People, Tuesday, 5th February 2008

Allegations were levelled yesterday that the Ennis Town Manager hid information pertaining to proposed development at the Post Office field. At Monday's meeting of Ennis Town Council, Green Party councillor Donal O'Bearra accused Town Manager, Tom Coughlan, of not sharing information collected in a report compiled last year.

After Cllr. O'Bearra and Fine Gael councillor Johnny Flynn co-tabled a motion calling for a cost benefit analysis prior to any development taking place at the field, Mr. Coughlan said a study about the viability of such a project had already been completed. Cllr. O'Bearra said, "I find it bizarre to say the least. What's the point of me asking for a cost-benefit analysis when the manager has hidden information? You said you would keep us informed and I think that is relevant information". Mr. Coughlan replied, "I was going to bring all the information when a decision had to be made". Cllr. O'Bearra said, "I consider that bad judgement on your behalf". Mr. Coughlan rejected the accusation he had withheld the information from the council and said he would forward copies of the report to all councillors.

The independent study, carried out by Hughes and Roll Associates, found there were significant obstacles to re-developing the existing site of the de Valera public library in Ennis. It also recommended an infill section of the Post Office field, located between the Post Office and St. Columba's church, as the most commercially viable site for any new library development.

Mr. Coughlan stated that without the sale of the de Valera library, it was unlikely a new library would be built. He said, "It's an unrealistic assumption that it could happen elsewhere".

Following a lengthy and, at times, intense debate, members proposed that consultants be engaged to draw up a master plan setting out potential development at the site.

Fianna Fail councillor, Joe Reidy said, "As far as I'm concerned, it's going ahead. It's a pity poeple are changing their minds".
Fine Gael councillor, Johnny Flynn said he had raised concerns when the project was first mooted about the sale of the original library site.
Fine Gael councillor, Mary Coote Ryan called for a report into the potential effect of construction on flooding.
Town Engineer, Tom Tiernan, said a previous flooding report had found the porposed infill section of the field had a "miniscule" effect on flood control.
Independent councillor Taiwoo Matthew requested more information on the level of funding available.

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