Lees Road renamed in honour of community leader

Lees Road renamed in honour of community leader

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Cecilia O’Sullivan admires the plaque dedicated to her late husband John – Photo: Arthur Ellis

 Active Ennis Sports and Amenity Park, Lees Rd has been renamed in honour of the co-founder of Clare Community Games and one of Clare’s best known community activists.

Cecilia O’Sullivan, the wife of the late John O’Sullivan, today unveiled a plaque bearing her husband’s name at the entrance to the facility which is located on the Drumcliff Road in Ennis.

Ms. O’Sullivan was joined by Cllr. Ann Norton, Mayor of Ennis, and Cllr. Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, at an unveiling ceremony that was also attended by Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Elected Members, community representatives and members of the extended O’Sullivan family.

“Lees Road is one of County Clare’s finest community facilities. It’s a development that all of us can be proud of and it is the envy of many other counties.  It is fitting therefore, that it be renamed in honour of one of Clare’s best known community figures,” said Mayor Norton.

A native of Skibbereen in Co. Cork, John O’Sullivan was a founding member of the Ennis and District Sports Facilities Committee, which first suggested the Lees Road development.

Photo: Arthur Ellis

While he was stationed as a member of An Garda Síochána in Miltown Malbay, John resurrected the local boxing club and started up a lifesaving club.  On moving to Ennis in the 1950s, he joined Marian Athletic Club, which had been founded by Sean Reid, and was also central to the ongoing development of the swimming club, the lifesaving club, the boxing club and the Garda Sports Club.

Mayor Norton said: “To many, John is known for his many years of service as a member of An Garda Síochána and his lengthy association with Clare Community Games.  The truth is that John was the driving force behind many community organisations, particularly sporting ones. He was as much a visionary as he was a community volunteer and activist. He saw sport as a way of fostering social inclusion and creating a sense of community.”

“In renaming this facility as Active Ennis John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road – we are celebrating John’s memory and more importantly, his contribution to community life in this town and throughout the county,” concluded the Mayor.

Photo: Arthur Ellis

Cllr. Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said, “Everywhere you go there is evidence of how local communities have come together to make a positive difference to their local area. Invariably, these communities are driven on by people like John O’Sullivan who selflessly put their time and effort into giving back to the community in which they live.”

“In dedicating this fine facility to the memory of John O’Sullivan, I would like to think that we are celebrating all of our community volunteers – both past and present,” he added.

A proposal by Mayor Norton to rename Lees Road as Active Ennis John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road, was passed at a meeting of Ennis Municipal District before being passed at a meeting of Clare County Council. The proposal also received the support of some of the founding members of the Ennis and District Sports Facilities Committee.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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