The R498, a 37km (23m) stretch of regional roadway here in County Tipperary; linking Thurles, via Bouladuff and Borrisoleigh to Nenagh, which was recently severely damaged by extensive flooding, is to be shoring up temporary using large boulders and concrete.
This regional road is an important access route; joining together the North and South Riding’s of Tipperary, latter recently amalgamated into just one single Authority by former Fine Gael Minister Phil Hogan TD, following the last local elections. Following recent severe flooding and overall neglect spanning some ten years; currently this important arterial route servicing North and South Tipp, is now severely curtailing traffic movement; reducing same down to one single lane with access controlled by traffic lights.
Tipperary County Council’s Director of Services for Roads, Mr Marcus O’Connor, has stated that temporary remedial works must now be carried out as a matter of urgency, but warns that a longer term more permanent solution will, into the future, prove expensive; with an expected price tag of some 10 million Euros.
It should be noted that a previous plan by North Tipperary County Council to undertake a structural upgrade of this important arterial route was shelved, following concerns raised by local anglers over its impact on fish stocks in the Nenagh River. The angler’s concerns were taken before the European Commission, latter which ruled that North Tipperary County Council should not proceed with their intended plans. Same it would appear included the introduction of a number of bridge crossings, forced on the North Tipperary Council, because widening and extending of the present road surface area was not seen as an alternative option.
It would now appear that interference by the European Commission, over which Ireland has apparently no influence, could have cost the present amalgamated Tipperary County Council a great deal of money in their efforts to protect a few brown trout, which would have probably been kept out of the river area temporarily in any event.
While the now Irish European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan was making plans to amalgamate North and South Tipperary, as a then Fine Gael Minister, it would appear God was laughing, looking down on his disastrous and unwanted meddling.