Tanaiste Says Ennis Setting Example For Towns Nationwide As 2040 Plan Formally Launched

Pictured outside Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis, Co. Clare, to mark the launch of the Ennis 2040 economic and spatial strategy are: (front row, l-r) Cllr Ann Norton, Mayor of Ennis Municipal District; Cllr PJ Ryan, Cathaoirleach, Clare County Council; and (back row, l-r) Liam Conneally, Director of Economic Development, Clare County Council; Kevin Corrigan, Chief Operating Officer, Ennis 2040 DAC; and Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council. Photo: Eamon Ward.

The Tanaiste says the Ennis 2040 strategy sets out a vision for the area that every other large town in Ireland should look to follow.

The document has been officially launched by Leo Varadkar this morning, which promises a further 5,000 jobs in the county town over the next two decades.


Ennis 2040 is promising to make Clare’s county town ‘one of the best places to live, work, visit and invest’ in the world.

A ’10 minute town’ is the aim for Ennis’ future, with growth and investment in retail, culture, education and housing all outlined in the 251 page document.

The plan promises to strategically position Ennis as an ideal location for both domestic and international investment, while making it Ireland’s ‘first climate adaptive town’.

It’s also envisaged Ennis will become an ‘accessible place of quality’, following its designation as an Age Friendly Town earlier this year.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, who formally launched the plan at the Old Ground Hotel this morning, says the plan shows Ennis is setting an example for all towns across the country to emulate.

Just over 25,000 people currently live in Ennis according to the 2016 census – this is envisaged to grow to around 37,000 people by 2040, a jump of more than 50 percent.

Significant residential development appears in most projects associated with the plan, with up to 1,500 more people living in the town centre alone being earmarked.

The Tanaiste says the number of homes being built in this county now isn’t enough, and more will be needed to allow Ennis and its environs to grow.

The plan focuses on four key themes; economic investment, lifestyle, mobility and the environment.

Nine transformational sites are set to be at the centre of the project’s work.

A new hotel and conference centre is earmarked in the Cornmarket precinct, with the River Fergus set to become far more prominent in a number of key projects identified in the strategy.

A new multi-storey car park and bus shelter is envisioned for the Friar’s Walk area, and with a ‘new community’ and public plaza along the Abbey riverside.

A sports and health centre is being examined for the former Ennis National School site.

Outside of the town’s environs, plans for the old Roche site in Clarecastle see it being used for a mix of permanent and temporary accommodation, as well as providing a walk and cycle link to the bus and train station.

CEO of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling, says he does expect ‘bumps in the road’ with planning processes to ensure the Ennis 2040 strategy comes to fruition in full.

A marketing plan has also been developed in an attempt to promote the strategy to public and private investors.

It describes the five cornerstones of the new ‘Ennis brand’ as being enterprising; open; unique; intact and sustainable.

Chair of the Ennis 2040 Designated Activity Company, Gerry Cahill, says work on the implementation of the plan in a number of key areas is already underway.

The plan in full can be viewed at this link.