Ennis Sustainable Design

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    • #709753

      Hi everyone,

      I am a college student conducting a thesis on the principle of sustainble town design based on the town of Ennis, princiaplyy evaluating their devlopemnt plan 2006, focusing on infrastructure, accommodation of services within the town and its environs.

      Just wondering if anybody would have an idea as to where I would be able to obtain suitable information for my study, sei.ie etc. I have obtrained some information from the county council’s website and am going to make contact with them once I realise what extra information I need to get from them. Really hoping to do a good project as am hoping to get my Phd as a result.

      Thank you very much.

    • #796723

      Hi PJ,

      Don’t know whether it’s entirely relevant to what you’re doing but the Carbon Trust may be a good source of info. They’re a UK based charitible organisation whose aim is to reduce carbon emissions for private business. They also do research for the UK government as far as I’m aware. http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/default.ct

      The City of Edinburgh Council have also produced a Sustainable Design Guide which is quite comprehensive and which may be of use. The pdf version is too big to post here but if you’re interested send me a PM with your email address and I’ll send it on.

      Also worth looking at http://www.maxfordham.com/index.php

    • #796724

      There’s also the Cork Rural Design Guide


    • #796725

      Try the planning dept in the town council. Might be of some help with maps and stuff seeing as you’re a student. The local studies centre in the library in ennis has a great collection of old maps and photographs. Might not be relevant but worth checking out for establishing context and to demonstrate the decrease in town centre density due to slum clearance from the 1930’s onwards.

      CABE have some very good publications about urban design generally and make very good arguments about Urban Village concepts and that form of sustainable urbanism.

      Good luck.

    • #796726


      Last weekend I went for a 40k cycle in a loop south of Ennis, there was not much sustainability about the place, (Sustainability meaning: meeting today’s needs without compromising the needs of future generations), I saw lots of SUV’s tearing up the roads and every field had a new bungalow or McMansion, Normally a spin through the countryside gets the endorphins pumping leaving a fealing of euphoria, but this spin just left me mad. Leaving aside the quality of the houses and the effect on aquifers aside, the movement of higher income families from the towns devalues the urban fabric of those towns. I saw one house built almost into a ringfort and a massive mock tudor manor that must have parachuted into a low boggy field in south clare missing its intended cul de sac in Berkshire. Anyway thats just a rant.

      Kinsale is a transition town, making the transition from fossil-fuel dependency to a state of energy independence. This has been pioneered by Rob Hopkins and now has the support of Kinsale town council.http://www.localplanet.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=191&Itemid=49 I have some acquaintances in Ennis who are pushing the town council down the transition town route also. Please PM me if you would like to get in touch with that group.

    • #796727

      seems to be lots of talk about the environment, they’ll be able to say there a doing loads of transition while doing very little

    • #796728

      Yep, They say its better to light a candle than curse the darkness, i agree theres alot of window dressing and horsesheet, but this is an initiative by the public putting pressure on the legislature, not green papers or aspirational guidelines from central govt. There are fundamental changes ahead and it makes sense on many levels to adapt to different economic realities. Its not what one change will you make, but how can we as a community evolve specialisms to compete in a radically changing system. My parents told me that they were happy to go without in order to fund their childrens education as they would be giving us opportunities in a better world than they had, but can we say the same to our kids, will we leave them a better world with better opportunities. I can’t say it, I sold off all the sites with road frontage years ago. 😀

    • #796729

      I really dislike all the cynicism about green issues these days. thats a really good initiative by concerned members of their community about how they can improve the quality of life in their area.

      I Think its a great thing for a community to have initiated and they should be really highly commended for it. Lobbying and pressurising the elected reps in our legislature is how our system works and its mainly down to peoples inertia that its not put to use more often.

      Ennis is a good town to test this on as well. Its much much larger than Kinsale but has actually survived the excesses of the Celtic tiger relatively unscathed. Making a sustainability plan a central theme of the new development plan will lead to urban design initiatives which will see the proper growth of the town in the future.

    • #796730

      my cyncism is directed towards the council (adopting it fairly quickly)

    • #796731

      these may not be directly applicable to Ennis but you may find some useful information here for your project.

    • #796732

      Thursday 14th Feb Cultivate 10.00 – 12.00
      Community powerdown breifing + intro to transition town process.

      Book with Aoife Quinn ENFO 01 888 3925

    • #796733

      Floods to keep Ennis-Limerick track closed until Sunday at earliest

      Pat Flynn Irish Times

      Iarnród Éireann has confirmed that it will be Sunday at the earliest before rail services will resume between Ennis and Limerick following the closure of the line this week as a result of severe flooding.

      The line is flooded at Ballycar, near Newmarket on Fergus, Co Clare. Heavy rain has meant that a section of the line is submerged under at least 12cm (4.7 inches) of water in places and there has been no improvement in the situation since the line was closed on Tuesday.

      The company has said it is continuing to monitor the situation on a daily basis. However, given flooding levels in the area at present, they do not foresee the line reopening before Sunday.

      An estimated 600 commuters, including students and business people from both Ennis and Limerick, use the nine daily services between the two centres. Many of the trains link up with intercity services at Limerick station.
      The road at Ballycar has also been flooded in recent days causing problems for locals. It has been impassable in at least two places since the beginning of the week. While locals in Ballycar say it had been many years since they have seen flooding on this scale, there was a time when it happened on a regular basis for prolonged periods.

      Local councillor Pat McMahon said the regular flooding did not have a major impact on the railway line as there were only limited services on the route at the time.

      The line only reopened to passenger traffic in recent years and Cllr McMahon has blamed Iarnród Éireann’s short-sightedness for allowing past flood problems, of which they were aware, to affect services again.

      “It is marvellous that we have services on the Ennis to Limerick line again but, in a few years, when the line is extended north to Athenry and Galway under the Transport 21 initiative, we will have to be sure that this flooding problem will not cause disruption,” he said.

      “When Iarnród Éireann upgraded the Ennis to Limerick line, they undertook to carry out a review of the flooding issues at Ballycar. As far as I know, this has not happened and I would call on the company to do so as a matter of urgency,” Cllr McMahon said.

      See also RTE’s newsreel

      Iarnród Éireann didn’t do their home work before they upgraded the Ennis-Limerick line. Sustainable design? Still they managed to cheer us up recently by giving a blind passenger a whole train for herself to Limerick and leaving the other 300 gob-smacked passengers on the platform in Dublin behind her!:D

      ‘Tis a funny world, as JP wouldn’t mind having Iarnród Éireann’s lake problem at his home in Martinstown. They won’t let him have one!

    • #796734

      Is this Ireland’s oldest infrastructural problem?

      Irish Examiner (By Conor Ryan 25 February 2008)

      “YOU may talk of Columbus’s sailing across the Atlantical sea.
      But he never tried to go railing from Ennis as far as Kilkee.”

      So sang Percy French when scorning delays on the old west Clare railway.

      Now, a century later, a mini Atlantical sea has put a month-long stop on the line from Ennis to Limerick.

      Iarnród Éireann expects its 600 daily customers will have to rely on buses for at least another three weeks.

      But back in 1864, 😮 when French was 10 years old, the same flooding problem closed the line and was due to be resolved by channelling the problem basin near Newmarket on Fergus.

      A drainage scheme was mapped and a public-private funding package arranged.

      Unsurprisingly, the plan was derailed, and now, 144 years later, the rains came again and a new generation of engineers are trying to reach a similar solution. :rolleyes:

      “It is a limestone area which is landlocked so there is nowhere for the water to go. When it rains a lot it fills up. It seems the underground channels get blocked and the water levels rise,” said Canon Reuben Butler of Newmarket on Fergus.

      Last week he told the local archaeological society about the first public meeting to discuss the cyclical floods — in Ennis Courthouse on Thursday June 16, 1864 (10 years after the line opened). On that day Lord Dunboyne, of Quin Castle, outlined a £100 proposal to keep the train tracks flood-free.

      “To drain the lands at Lisduff, I propose a drain of six feet deep and two feet wide. The water sinks underground in the townland of Ballycar and rises in Newmarket and for this, the most expensive portion of the district, I propose to cut a tunnel 8×6 feet high.

      “The remainder of the works are of the ordinary character and merely consist of deepening the drains… and will not be an expensive operation,” he said.

      At Ballycar Station he suggested the railway company deepen its drainage channel. He said this would be worth it “owing to the benefit the Limerick-Ennis railway will derive from being free from water”.

      Immediately, powerful local landowners pledged £70, and £50 was to come from the Board of Works. Lord Dunboyne promised the value of the land would increase — but two men dissented.

      Hugh Hickman, the owner of Fenloe Lake, said it “would be rather injurious” to the scenery and would drain the lake. Michael Riedy said it would weaken the flow to his mill.

      Despite these complaints the plan won majority support but was never acted upon. Lord Dunboyne lacked the Board of Works approval. A century and a half later, the board’s modern day equivalent the Office of Public Works examined the flood basin.

      Last week Irish Rail said it hoped the OPW can find a long-term solution as it is reopening the old Galway to Limerick line shortly.

      OPW spokesman George Moir said engineers were working on the problem: “Our engineer said it is caused by a swallow hole and after heavy rain this year the water is not running off as normal. He will be back with recommendations.”

      Lord Dunboyne may have saved the OPW the hassle. His assessment is contained in reports in the Clare Journal (June 20, 1864) and the Limerick Chronicle (June 21, 1864), kindly made available by the local studies’ sections of the Limerick City and Clare County libraries.

      Flooding remedy: Five-and-a-half tonnes of spuds

      Question: What would it have cost to fix the flooding problem blighting the Ennis to Limerick line?

      Answer: The same price as five and a half tonnes of fine new potatoes on the week the drainage plan was first discussed in 1864.

      It would be a mathematical nightmare to convert the price into today’s values, but it can be put in perspective.

      Engineer John McMahon told the Ennis Courthouse meeting that £100 would get the drainage project started. At the time, men earned £15-2s-0d a year.

      Alongside the Clare Journal’s report on the meeting, a note said a pound of “very fine new potatoes” was got for 2p in Limerick — 0.008% the budget for the work. Today, the same weight of spuds in Thomondgate, Limerick, cost €0.22 and farmers can get a wholesale price of €1,650 for the 5.5 tonne of potatoes, which would have covered the 1864 project.

      However, in 1864, the gap between rich and poor was vast. Sociologist Karl Marx studied the bank balances among Ireland’s elite. That year 387 people in Ireland earned more than the £1,006 it would have cost to purchase the 989 acres in Newmarket on Fergus affected by the flooding. According to the plan’s author, Lord Dunboyne, land values would have gone up by 15% for every acre affected. Today, the same area of 18sq/km is under water with no solution in sight and nearby agricultural land is selling for €25,000 per acre.

    • #796735

      €39m Ennis hospital project delayed HSE will divert funds to St Vincent’s facility in Dublin

      PAT FLYNN © 2008 The Irish Times

      THE HEALTH Service Executive (HSE) has decided to delay the start of a €39 million redevelopment of Ennis General Hospital and will instead divert the cash to St Vincent’s hospital in Dublin where planning permission has been granted for a new cystic fibrosis unit.

      The Government had already allocated the money for the Ennis project, while Ennis Town Council has granted full planning permission. However, it is now believed that the HSE plans to further stall the Ennis project and use the cash for the new unit at St Vincent’s.

      Fianna Fáil councillors in Clare have called on the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minster for Health to intervene and direct the HSE to allocate the money, promised by the Government, to the project for which it was intended in Ennis.

      Rumour has been rife in Clare in recent weeks about a further two to two and a half year delay in the start of the Ennis hospital redevelopment. This is the same timeframe which the HSE has given for the completion of the new 120-bed isolation unit at St Vincent’s hospital. Planning permission was granted earlier this year for the new unit where the national centre for cystic fibrosis patients will be based.

      Pending confirmation of when work on the Ennis redevelopment will start, Fianna Fáil councillors in Clare have expressed concern that the party will be wiped out in the next local elections which are a little over 12 months away.

      Fianna Fáil councillor Richard Nagle said: “Any delay in upgrading the hospital in Ennis is totally unacceptable. This has been going on for quite a considerable length of time and we were guaranteed more than once that the upgrade would take place immediately.

      “When the four mayors in Clare met the Minister for Health and the HSE, they were given same assurances that the money was ring-fenced for the Ennis project. People in Clare are heavily dependent on the hospital and it must be developed.

      “The HSE should proceed with the development at Ennis without delay and any plan to divert the cash to any other project is not acceptable.” In a letter last week to the Fianna Fáil general secretary Seán Dorgan, the secretary of the 15-strong group of Fianna Fáil councillors in Clare, Cllr Pat Daly said: “Unless the development of the hospital takes place, the local Fianna Fáil councillors will be wiped out”.

      “For the past two years, the HSE have been playing around with planning briefs and designs for the upgrade of the hospital. It went to the planning stage with Ennis Town Council and in 2007 full planning permission was acquired,” the document stated.

      While not confirming or denying plans to divert cash from Ennis to Dublin, the HSE has said: “When the other acute priorities, which have no contractual commitments, are taken into account, namely the National Paediatric Hospital, St Vincent’s Phase 2, Minor Capital and Modernisation, there are some projects which will have to be delayed for a year or so, or may have to be put on hold unless additional funding can be identified or they can be substituted for another project in the plan.

      “In the context of the capital funding available this year, existing contractual commitments, competing national priorities and cash flow projections, the Ennis project is one such project.”

      Another kick in the teeth after the closure of the 24 hour / 7 Day Accident & emergency unit in Ennis.

    • #796736

      Controversial firm Gama lost €45m building Ennis bypass

      © 2008 The Irish Times

      A CONSTRUCTION firm accused of exploiting migrant workers in Ireland lost up to €45 million on building a major roadway after underestimating the cost of labour and materials and incurring financial penalties for delays. Carl O’Brien, Social Affairs Correspondent, reports.

      Gama Construction was awarded a contract to build the 21km Ennis bypass in Co Clare four years ago, before it became embroiled in controversy over paying hundreds of Turkish builders in Ireland less than the minimum wage.

      However, the company went on to lose significant amounts of money on the €200 million project due to factors including underestimating the cost of labour and financial penalties for delays in the project.
      The final leg of the Ennis bypass was finally opened in December, eight months after it was due to be completed. As a result, the company was forced to pay an undisclosed sum to Clare County Council.

      The extent of the losses has come to light in a ruling by the Labour Court on a claim by Siptu for workers for a “finishing bonus” of between one and two weeks’ additional pay. The union said the project went over budget because Gama failed to take into account the true cost of its legislative obligations towards its workers. It said members should be entitled to a bonus as it was becoming the norm on large projects.

      In its submission, the company said such a bonus was not part of the deal with its employees. It did not give reasons for its losses, but said they were projected to be as much as €45 million.The court rejected the union’s claim.

      The contract for constructing the bypass was €123 million, while additional sums were spent on acquiring land, planning, design and archaeological work.

      While it has been involved in some of the biggest infrastructure projects in the State, Gama’s Irish operation has made significant losses recently. A pre-tax profit of €10 million in 2006 included €55m from the sale of its share in a power plant. In the previous year it made a €44 million loss.

      N85 Western Relief Road / N18 Eastern Bypass

      I hope no corners were cut on materials used etc, etc.

    • #796737

      @CologneMike wrote:

      N85 Western Relief Road / N18 Eastern Bypass

      I hope no corners were cut on materials used etc, etc.

      They definitely were. I sincerely hope that the bypass isn’t entirely finished. It looks unfinished and cheap at the moment.

      It is a great project and finishes one of the country’s best (road) infrastructural connections between Ennis, Limerick and Shannon but this is also the first impression tourists will receive and as of now verges are unplanted, green areas are muddy and unfinished, markings are shoddy, surfaces are already wearing… The list goes on. Hopefully he County Council will use the funds won from Gama to improve this.

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