The temperature here in Thurles last Friday morning rose higher than the over 40 degrees currently being experienced this week in Melbourne, Australia, following the RTE exposé on dog turds by Irish Columnist, Playwright and Scriptwriter, Fiona Looney and broadcast to the nation on RTE1.
Having removed her sun glasses on arrival, Fiona had quickly located these dog turds around Semple Stadium and same was the talk of every Supermarket, Pub and “High End, Bond Street” type shop in Thurles, the following Friday morning.
The Mayor of Thurles Michael Grogran, speaking on Radio Tipp FM on Friday, felt our Mid Tipp town had been unfairly portrayed in this RTE programme, “painting the town in a bad light,” thus damaging our non-existent tourism sector. But I suppose the nice part about living in a small town like Thurles is that when you yourself don’t know what you’re doing, someone else does.
We here on Thurles.Info had done our best, God knows. We wrote about this and other problems two years earlier in March 2011.
Is it any wonder therefore that, according to a recent audit, our Town Council discovered that 40% of eligible rate payers in Thurles are now refusing to pay their dues, and “back of the envelope” economist Sinn Fein Town Councillor David Doran (Not my words but stated in the Tipperary Star Newspaper by fellow councillor Michael Cleary, God forbid that I would use such language) is left wondering if there are any facilities available for those who cannot meet their payments.
Let’s see if our local Councillors actually changed anything in the past two years, to warrant such business behaviour, by looking at the 2011 video hereunder.
OK, no change there then, so what is the solution for the Thurles dog turd issue, (remembering of course we are not known as “Thurles Information,” by the way we comb our limited hair).
With only four meetings left before Minister Phil Hogan cuts off local Council salaries, mobile phones and top-up expenses, listen and learn from our European partners, latter who currently remain ruling our sovereign state.
Officials in Brunete, latter a town of similar size to Thurles, with 10,100 inhabitants on the outskirts of Madrid, came up with an idea for a social awareness campaign last year. They also were attempting to stamp out their dog excrement problem and came up with a novel ground breaking campaign. Town officials boxed up the offending faeces and sent them back to the pet owners’ homes. The amount of dog turds on their streets dropped considerably as a result.
In February 2013, Brunete Town Hall recruited 20 volunteers to patrol the streets in search of guilty dog owners. As soon as they spotted a turd that had not been correctly “pooper scooped”, these undercover volunteers /agents would then approach the owners and strike up a casual conversation with them. They would ask pet owners what was the dog’s name and pedigree. Through this casual conversation they found out the address of the pooch’s owner. These volunteers would then later pick up the turd, box it and deliver it to the pet owner along with an official fine and warning, while a cameraman filmed the whole embarrassing episode.
Brunete Town Hall now estimates the amount of dog-mess seen on the streets has dropped by 70%.
Anyway back to that eventful Friday morning; local council workers were dispatched at daybreak to clean up the offensive faeces, swarming over the entire area armed with their besoms (later brooms made from a bundle of birch twigs tied to a hazel wood pole ) together with shovels specially purchased for the occasion. Yes and a fine job of work they did, sure you could eat your dinner of the surface when they were finished.
This brings me back to the lovely ‘sun glassed’ Fiona Looney, who now may decide to run for Tipperary in the May Local and European elections. A deputation from Thurles is expected to travel shortly to the land of the “Floozy in the Jacuzzi,” the “Tart with the Cart,” the “Hags with the bags,” the “Dick with the stick” (James Joyce), the “Flue with the View” (Smithfield Village Chimney Stack lift), the “Stilleto by the Ghetto,” also known as the “Stiffy by the Liffey” (The Millennium Spire) or better known down our way here as the most littered city in Europe, according to Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL). This deputation now believes that anyone whose presence can command such instant action from our officialdom at Thurles Town Council, could take possibly two seats here in the Tipperary election.
Good God, I sincerely hope I haven’t “painted Dublin in a bad light,” thus damaging their tourism sector.
P.S. I know I am not Fiona Looney, but, weather permitting, could this same workforce be drafted in to do a quick sweep, from the entrance beside the bridge (Emmet Street) to the back of Tesco, where I counted a mere fourteen turds today, over a 25 yard stretch of footpath. Sure everyone knows where the Bridge Castle is and the back of Tesco can be easily identified by the fact that this Supermarket giant has failed to give its premises an outside coat of paint in over 20 years.