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Must Thurles Now Accept Dirty Industry?

Over the past 25 years, due to the failure of all ‘Elected Representatives ‘ and indeed others, taking on the mantle of responsibility for promoting Thurles, little has been achieved in the way of job creation. Town residents have had to listen to tortuous, self promoting and political vote catching pontification from representatives, while little real industry has been attracted offering real job creation prospects to the town and surrounding areas.

Instead, any real anchored industry, offering good employment in the town, e.g. Erin Foods, Sugar Factory etc., has been allowed to slowly evaporated, without any real effort to obtain any kind of replacement.

Now it would appear that the word ‘Jobs ‘ immediately has everyone dropping to their knees in devout gratitude, even if these jobs are a minuscule reward for permitting ‘Dirty Industry ‘ into the heart of our residential estates. It is not surprising therefore that the Tipperary Star newspaper this week carries a headlines declaring “Anger as Thurles Recycling Centre Gets Go Ahead.”

From this article we glean that a proposed ‘Recycling Centre ‘ is to be located at the now desolate old Thurles Sugar Factory site in Cabragh and has been given the ‘green light ‘, after planning permission was granted for this  facility by North Tipperary County Council.  We learn from the beneficial owner, quote “The Council’s decision is a green light for the creation of much needed jobs, (Possibly 5 low paid jobs) for a cleaner county, a better environment and a new recycling service for households and businesses on the site of the old Sugar Factory.

Note that stated word ‘Jobs ‘ folks, but before you fall to your knees in prayer and thanksgiving, ask the simple questions:-
(a) “What will be the personal cost of such industry.
(b) “Why is such a facility, which attracts foul smells, pollution-spewing trucks, dust and debris blowing around, being located in the centre of a residential area, metres from an Environmental Heritage Site, close to a Golf Course and south of our town.

Note: I have drawn attention to the positioning of this facility as ‘South of Thurles ‘, since our annual prevailing wind, for 80% of the year, blows from the south west and would carrying the litter, pollutants and stench, generated by this facility, right across the most populated areas of Thurles.

Opponents to the proposed plan, The Cabragh/Ballycurrane Residents Association, justifiable argue that the proposed transfer station will adversely impact on the environment, discourage future development, lower property values even further in a depleted market place and invite even further traffic unto a dangerous narrow, minor road.

But what about the ‘Jobs ” I cried?  The replies came hard and fast from angry residents, “Why would future clean industry offering real employment, want to invest in an area where this dirty industry is operated?  This project means long term foul smells, pollution-spewing trucks, raising noise levels, airborne infections, latter requiring long hospitalizations (Of course, I had forgotten that all our Elected Representatives had failed to save our North Tipperary Hospital, also.) and dust/debris blowing around our gardens.

I now asked residents the following questions, in an effort to get at the root of their anger:-
(Q) What is proposed for the “Old Sugar Factory” site?
(A) A Waste Transfer Station.

(Q) What is a Waste Transfer Station?
(A) Rubbish is collected and brought to this site, where it is separated and bailed for onward transmission.

(Q) What type of rubbish?
(A) All sorts. Household, Brown, Green and Red Bin content, Industrial Waste, Skips, Construction and Demolition waste.

(Q) How much Rubbish?
(A) From 14 to 30 lorries per day carrying 16 to 22 tons each, 5.5 days per week.  Minimum: 56,000 tons of rubbish per year. Maximum:165,000 tons of rubbish per year,  Plus contributions from private Car Trailers and Skips.

(Q) Who is the applicant?
(A)Envirobins “. O’Dwyer Skip Hire Limited, Company Reg No. 423436. Address;  2nd Floor, Park Manor, Upper Mallow St, Limerick. This Company was set up by John O’Dwyer, Two Mile Borris and Michael Lowry (Jnr) son of Independent TD Michael Lowry, Holycross. Mr Lowry (Jnr) now states that he has resigned his Directorship in the company. Ray Nally, Holycross, is a Director, Tommy O’Dwyer, Two Mile Borris, is also a Director.

Q) Who owns the site?
(A) Cabragh Properties Ltd, Company Reg No 304942. Address; 2nd Floor, Park Manor, Upper Mallow St, Limerick. Directors are; Mattie Cahill, Andrew Berry, both of MacLochlainn Road markings, John Stakelum, Patrick Stakelum, both of Stakelum’s Hardware and Tommy O’Dwyer.

(Q)Who approved this application?
(A)Tipperary N R Co Council. Signed off by Mr Matt Short, Director of Services. Mr Feargus Wright, Control Officer. M/s Marie O’Connell, Senior Executive Planner. Note: Thurles Town Council opted out of the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) a National Litter League, last year.

(Q) Was it approved by the Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government?
(A) No. They stated in their letter dated 23rd March 2011.The Department recommends that planning permission should not be granted for the proposed development“. However, the application was approved by the aforementioned three people on behalf of Tipperary N R Co Council on the very same day.

(Q) Has the development been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?
(A) No and this project does not have to be submitted for approval.

(Q) Were there other objectors to the development?
(A) Yes. (a) Cabragh / Ballycurrane Residents Association, (Including petition signed by 298 people over 18 years of age living in the area). (b) Cabragh Wetlands Trust. (c) Thurles Golf Club Ltd. (d) Thurles Suir and District Anglers Assoc. (e) There are also 43 Individual Residents who objected, who now fund the considerable costs required to fight this planning decision, being forced on their area, without proper local consultation.

(Q) Did our Public Representatives help you?
(A) No. Neither our TD’s, our County Councillors nor our Town Councillors were of any assistance, whatsoever, when we raised our opposition.

(Q) Where do you go now to protect your property and immediate environment?
(A) To An Board Pleanala. Hopefully, here we will receive some justice. This is not our first time taking on the Council. They put a “Dump ” in our area in 1987. Thankfully the Circuit Court in Wexford put a stop to that. The moral is that “When small people unite they can succeed”. In most Countries of the World you expect the State and its agencies to help protect its people and the Environment in which we live in. In Thurles our biggest problem is the Tipperary N R Co Council and Thurles Town Council. It is obvious that a small number of people stand to make a lot of money from this development and hence the unwillingness to protect our local environment. We have a duty to stand up and protect ourselves, our health, our family, our homes and this beautiful town of Thurles which we all love.

Residents of Thurles, your support is now needed to defeat those who are intent on introducing ‘Dirty Industry ‘ into our town, in the name of ‘Job Creation.

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