Lees Road sports grounds have been renamed in honour of the co-founder of Clare Community Games and one of Clare’s best known community activists.

At a ceremony to mark the renaming, Cecilia O’Sullivan, wife of the late John O’Sullivan, unveiled a plaque bearing her husband’s name at the entrance to the facility on the Drumcliff Road in Ennis. Also present at the ceremony were Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Ann Norton, and Cllr. Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.

Mayor Norton commented, “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.”

A native of Skibbereen, John O’Sullivan was a founding member of the Ennis and District Sports Facilities Committee, which first suggested the Lees Road development. As a member of An Garda Síochána in Miltown Malbay, John revived the local boxing club and began a lifesaving club. After transferring to Ennis he founded Marian Athletic Club with 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.

“To many,” said Mayor Norton, John is known for his years of service as a member of An Garda Síochána and his lengthy association with Clare Community Games. John was also the driving force behind many community organisations, particularly sporting ones. As much a visionary as a community volunteer and activist, John 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 celebrate John’s memory and his contribution to community life in this town and throughout the county.”

According to Cllr Chambers, “Everywhere you go there is evidence of local communities coming 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 rededicate Lees Road in John O’Sullivan’s memory was passed at a meeting of Clare County Council. The proposal was also supported by some of the founding members of the Ennis and District Sports Facilities Committee.