Closure of Clare Hostel is a blow to Fleadh Nua organizers

ORGANIZERS of the Fleadh Nua festival in Ennis have been ‘devastated’ by the closure of the Rowan Tree hostel, a meeting has heard.

Calls were made at a meeting of the Municipal District of Ennis for action to be taken to find tenants for empty commercial premises in the town.

The Harmony Row hostel is just one of many high-profile businesses that have closed in the county capital in recent years, with councilor Pat Daly insisting that “Ennis cannot afford to lose business business”.
Speaking at an Ennis Municipal District meeting, the councilor urged the local authority to coordinate with Ennis Chamber and property owners with a view to finding new tenants.

Alongside the Rowan Tree which closed in October, he recalled the other venues which closed, Food Haven, O’Brien’s deli and Twomey-Walsh.

Councilor Daly recalled how, in a recent conversation with the organizers of Fleadh Nua, they described the closure of the Rowan Tree as a “huge loss” as many traditional musicians remained at the Inn.

Leonore O’Neill, Senior Executive Officer, replied: “Ennis MD does not generally initiate or intervene in commercial rentals between private parties. We continue to support economic activity and ensure favorable conditions in the physical environment through a number of initiatives, including public realm improvements and outdoor dining licenses.

“I note that the Rowan Tree premises mentioned above are currently on the market for sale.”

Carmel Greene, SEO, Economic Development, said: “Where commercial premises are considered derelict, there is active engagement with the Economic Development Branch’s derelict sites team and their work is leading to improvements in some premises in the town center and a number of planning applications on derelict properties are filed.

“Additionally, through the work of the Ennis 2040 team, there are many discussions underway with landowners in the city to review development opportunities.”

Councilor Daly emphasized that the business premises he is referring to in this case are not abandoned and he agreed that council does not get involved with private parties.

However, he said: ‘These businesses are still empty and I don’t like that happening, they need new tenants urgently.’

The motion was seconded by Councilor Clare Colleran Molloy who stressed the importance of ensuring the issue remains “at the top of the agenda” for Councillors.

She acknowledged that businesses face challenges with the effects of Covid-19 and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She said that while it is not for the council to intervene with private businesses, it is important that the local authority stresses that they are aware of the challenges faced by businesses.

Councilor Johnny Flynn also voiced his support for the motion, urging council to further promote its vacancy property incentive scheme.

Linda G. Ibarra