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Thurles Tipperary – An Open Letter To Minister Leo Varadkar

This open letter hereunder, forwarded to Minister Leo Varadkar should be of particular interest to those presently unemployed & actively seeking work, those offering tourism services, retail & wholesale outlets, in fact everyone currently living in this wonderful county of Tipperary.

Having read the content of the text hereunder, I respectfully ask, regardless of your political views, that you email same (Use the ‘Email This Post,” Tag under this post or Copy & Paste if necessary) to the following three elected government representatives, namely;  Mr Leo Varadkar:  minister@dttas.ie   Mr Noel Coonan:  noel.coonan@oireachtas.ie & Mr Alan Kelly: office@alankelly.ie  thus clarifying your insistence regarding the statement hereunder.

Following the passing of the recent “Budget 2013,” which refuses to take into account each person’s ability to contribute fairly, Co Tipperary must now attempt to generate taxes, using the same “level playing pitch,” as other taxpayers within this island of Ireland.

As the above short video, highlighting General Thomas Francis Meagher’s association with our county demonstrates, Mid Tipperary’s, soon to be forgotten, immense history remains untapped and ignored, mainly due to the risks associated with the provision of visitor attractions. For example, Kerry and Clare are established Tourist destinations which attract vast numbers of visitors each year, while Mid Tipperary is loosing out, due to the fact that it is on the periphery of the Mid-West Region. In fact if anyone examined this area they would quickly realise that our natural region should include Kilkenny & Cashel etc. Thurles Town, in particular, is severely marginalised with a marked bias towards the northern area of the Country, i.e £2m for the National Mining Heritage Centre in the Silvermines – £250,000.00 spent on marketing the Lough Derg Area and £1m spent on Nenagh Castle – not a single mention of Thurles or the Mid Tipperary area in this funding.

My letter, addressed to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Leo Varadkar reads as follows below & I ask all Tipperary people, at home & abroad, to strongly support this initiative with an Email, to the public representatives above named, in an effort to create employment through tourism.

Historical Tipperary must now be seen as one large ‘shop,’ and the time has come to sell our resources, services & wares on the world’s tourism market. This initiative which Tipperary now requests, will require logical political decision, supported by you, the Tipperary electorate.

 

Kickham Street,
Thurles,
Co Tipperary.

Dear Minister Varadkar,

I thank you, in anticipation, for taking the time to read this communication.

I speak to you as curator of St Mary’s Famine & War Museum and as a member of Hidden Tipperary, both voluntary organisations which work, without the benefit of any public funding, for the betterment of tourism in Co Tipperary.

Before I get to the main point of my request, I would like to remind you Minister of the following four undeniable & indeed indisputable facts, of which you will be already aware.

(1) The Vikings of the late eight century engaged in ‘hit-and-run raids,’ here in Ireland where they, early on, landed their small numbers of ships, attacked various settlements,  pillaging and burning, before eventually heading back to Scandinavia with their rich booty of stolen gold & silver artefacts.

(2) Agents acting on behalf of the ruling Nazi Party of Germany plundered art and other items via organized looting of European countries, during the time of the Third Reich. The more recent of this particular plundering occurred from 1933 until the end of World War II, undertaken particularly by military units known as the Kunstschutz. In addition to lucre, such as silver and currency, cultural items of great significance were stolen, including paintings, ceramics, books, and religious treasures. Although many of these items were recovered by the Allies immediately following the war, many more still remain missing today.

(3) Local Authorities in Ireland will in three years time be given powers to set their own property tax rates, in order to generate funds to support the provision of services in Tipperary. A public statement made by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Mr Phil Hogan states, “Property tax will become more and more the source of income for local authority services to be funded. If they are raising the money locally for service provision, they will have a say in how they spend it. Each local authority can have a different level of property tax in due course. The timing of that is a matter for Government.”

(4) The Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Deputy Tom Hayes, has recently called on the IDA & Government to attract multi-national investment in areas outside of Dublin. Mr Hayes stated that towns in Tipperary like Cashel, Tipperary, Clonmel, Cahir, Carrick on Suir and Thurles are being incorrectly over looked and should now be better considered, when it comes to attracting multi-national investment. He further stated that rural areas (like Thurles) cannot continue to be overlooked, while large urban centres continue to receive massive investment.

These above listed four indubitable facts now bring me to the main point of my communications request, which I make on behalf of Thurles Town, and indeed the whole county of Tipperary.

The idea of The Gathering 2013, which I personally fully support, has now regrettably, (yet perhaps correctly,) been labelled by actor Gabriel Bryne and Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary as a “Scam,” and “The Grabbing,” respectively.

Vikings / Nazi Party

The following works of art have been plundered from Tipperary, many over the past 35 years and are now housed securely to the betterment of a Dublin City economy. The excuse given for failure to return this valuable treasure trove to it’s original habitat, in the past is because of serious security issues. The true reason, however which I believe, is that it is retained to further support the thriving economy enjoyed by the residents of ‘An Pháil.’

The items include

(A) The historical Faddan More Psalter, a book of psalms possibly as old as the Book of Kells, dated around 800AD and found by turf cutters in 2006 in a Tipperary bog.

(B) The Derrynaflan Hoard, found four miles from Thurles, Co Tipperary. This chalice was found with a composite silver Paten, a hoop, which may have been a stand for the Paten, a liturgical strainer and a bronze basin inverted over the other objects.

(C) The Book of Dimma supposedly discovered in 1789,in a small cave near the Devil’s Bit, Thurles, Co.Tipperary. The little known Book of Dimma, written possibly late in the 8th century at nearby St. Cronan’s Monastery, Roscrea, was preserved by Thady O’Carroll, Prince of Ely, and later during possibly the mid-twelfth century was encased in a rich gilt case. The book is a copy of the four Gospels written in old Latin and is representative of Irish ‘Pocket Gospel,’ manuscripts.

(D) The more recently discovered Viking Silver Hoard of coins, found close to the village of Two Mile Borris, Thurles, Co Tipperary, during road works and kept secret from our people.

Please excuse the repetition of my earlier statement. However, same is required to further and more fully emphasise that these above named historical, yet tourist attracting items, together with many other stolen artefacts, highlight Tipperary’s rich historical heritage. These artefacts are now bringing huge prosperity to our capital city’s economy, to the detriment and poverty of Tipperary and indeed midland rural Ireland. We in Tipperary want to pay for our public services, but are prevented from doing so, by the very absence of that, which properly managed, would generate the revenues to enable us to pay our fair share of a burden cast upon us by “creeps, the snake-oil salesmen and spoofers,” who condemned present & future generations to negative equity.

Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) To Be Installed In Thurles

A new project, first instigated over five years ago, to install CCTV in Thurles has just last week been given the ‘green light.’ This project, funded through our taxes, existing car parking charges (or stealth taxes) and generous local public donations, [Funding being channelled through An Pobal (70%), Thurles Town Council 20% and Thurles Chamber (10%)] is understood to begin in the first or second quarter of 2013. This project we understand also will provide a live video link, fed legally to Thurles Garda Station. Minister we now have part of the necessary security to guard that which has been plundered from within our county.

With the confirmation of an immediate return of these artefacts to Tipperary, we here in Thurles could now begin to plan the necessary additions to this CCTV project, thus ensuring the high level of security needed to guard these item, which we fully accept belong to the Irish Nation, nevertheless have been plundered from their homeland in a style akin to a Viking / Nazi raid.

Deputy Tom Hayes Statement

This welcome a recent statement by Mr Hayes although it fails to truly highlight the real difficulties in Tipperary, which, over the past number of years, has been sucked dry & vacuumed clean of all industry, resulting in a lack of employment in Tipperary, e.g. Thurles Sugar Factory, Erin Foods, Liam Carroll Transport, concrete supplier Kelly’s of Fantane, O’Connor’s of Nenagh, Procter and Gamble, Miza Pharmaceuticals, CM Offray, and GMX Moulinex etc. etc. etc.  In South Tipperary it was cutbacks at Bulmers in Clonmel, the closure of pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson in Cashel, Cordis Corporation, & Pall Manufacturing, etc. etc. etc.

This situation has led to long term unemployment for almost 6,000 people in just North Tipperary, not to mention the continuous forced emigration of an intelligent well educated workforce, paid for by Irish taxpayers, but which now goes to work benefiting the economies of Canada & Australia.

Local Authorities in Tipperary

Under the small print in the recent Budget 2013, Local Authorities will have no option but to increase property tax rates in order to generate funding to support the provision of services in Tipperary.

It therefore becomes necessary, due to this sheer neglect of Tipperary, that I now request the above named historical artefacts to be returned to Co.Tipperary with immediate, yet planned best effect. Their presence will begin to create jobs through an increase in tourism and the general retail / wholesale sectors of our county.

We require no public funding to restore this plundered booty of stolen gold, silver & other artefacts to their native county, but give a promise to care for it in the manner to which it has grown accustomed, during its period of exile, offering benefits only to the Dublin economy.

Minister Varadkar, presently tourism funding is being poured lavishly into counties residing at the gateways to Ireland. Guests when invited to this green land of Ireland should never be requested to remain at the gate, but should be invited into our houses and be offered quality Irish hospitality. Irish tourism should be seen as a large wheel. Tipperary & surrounding midland counties, north of us, are the ‘hub,’ of this wheel, while the small villages & towns along the way, connecting us to the various current gateways to Ireland, are the ‘spokes,’ to the ‘rim,’ latter being our beautiful coastline.

By undertaking to return this stolen property, jobs will now be created, not just on the now prosperous ‘rim,’ but up through & along the many ‘spokes,’ & into the ‘hub,’ of this fair midland area, latter which presently displays all of the qualities of becoming a desert wasteland.  The B&B, the Hotel, the Restaurant, the Petrol Station, the Pubs, the purveyors of the humble Packet of Crisps & the Ice Lolly along the way will in turn benefit the eventual overall improvement of Irish Government revenue receipts.

Trusting you will now consider my request and make the necessary plans to restore our heritage to the overall benefit of Tipperary, the planned Gathering 2013 & Ireland as a nation.

The good sense of this plan is clear & may I finish with the words of Cork born Thomas Osborn Davis, (Young Irelander) Editor of ‘ The Nation,’ newspaper of the 1840’s,Where Tipperary leads, Ireland follows.”

I remain,

Yours sincerely,

George Willoughby.

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