The urbanization of townlands across Ireland is a recent phenomenon necessary for ensuring a sufficient stock of housing and amenities is delivered for a fast-growing and aging population.
The use of land for the purpose of redevelopment is a complex subject as is the case with the 10.5 acre site next to Páirc na Coille retirement village. This natural area of undergrowth and native woodland is home to many animals and the local population value its preservation as one of the few remaining important ecological amenities close to Ennis town center.
In the Clare County Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2023 it is stated as one the primary objectives:
“to raise awareness of the role of biodiversity in the health and well-being of our society in County Clare.”
This objective underpins the importance of a full review and re-think of whether sacrificing a prime wilderness area full of biodiversity is viable at all. If the planned re-development goes ahead how can Clare Council Council look their constituents in the face and maintain their trust? Authorities are obligated under EU and Irish law to protect and preserve wildlife areas specifically ones in which roosts or nests are present.
The ever-increasing need for accommodation is of course a pressing matter. However, all avenues should be explored to ensure suitable sites are sourced, and not ones that are ironically the amenities needed for increasing populations in our towns and cities. Green spaces are the lungs of our urban environments and wildlife areas act as educational resources for our young. To remove them unnecessarily to build housing will create a bigger problem down the road when we realise our sons and daughters run out of green space to play in and enjoy.