Thursday 22 February 2018

Council to back residents in move against soup kitchen

Gordon Deegan

A MAN who has opened seven soup kitchens across the country was confronted by local residents who said they don't want a new kitchen operating in their area.

Oliver Williams opened his latest Twist outlet yesterday behind St Flannan's Terrace in Ennis as part of a growing network of soup kitchens serving 2,500 meals a week.

Mr Williams already has soup kitchens operating in Galway city, Sligo, Loughrea, Athlone, Roscommon and Tuam.

However, residents from the St Flannan's Terrace area arrived at Mr Williams' kitchen to tell him to find an alternative location.

Local man Sean Doyle told Mr Williams outside the kitchen: "This is a private residential area. We are a very tight community here, we are extremely concerned at what you are doing.

He added: "The least you could have done is go round and knock on doors."

Mr Doyle confirmed that residents had put together a petition demanding that the soup kitchen not go ahead.

Mr Williams said: "What no one wants to talk about is the homelessness in Ennis and the fact that a homeless man was living in a toilet in the town."

Residents later turned out in greater numbers at yesterday evening's September meeting of Ennis Town Council where Town Manager Ger Dollard said that Mr Williams's soup kitchen activity on site was unauthorised under the planning acts.

Mr Dollard confirmed to the councillors and residents present that the council would be taking action to cease that activity on site.

Mr Williams's plan also faced widespread opposition from councillors.

Labour councillor Paul O'Shea told the meeting: "I really think what is proposed is a non-runner. There has been no consultation with local residents and it seems a bit of a fiasco, the whole thing."

Irish Independent

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