Some 40 extra Tipperary residents will be able to pay water rates this year, if they can hold out until possibly next October, or so I thought last Wednesday. This was the good news last week, coming in an election year from Thurles Town Criers and Labour Environment Minister Mr Alan Kelly.
The counties ‘paste & copy’ style Radio and Newspaper journalists felt they had a real ‘headline scoop,’ as they lapped up a press release issued by Mr Kelly’s office; “Forty New Jobs for Thurles based Green Energy Company – just the tip of the iceberg.” Environment Minister Kelly was having delusional visions of a return to manufacturing to our mid-Tipp town, claiming that this was a major key to now increasing growth in this forgotten backwater of his constituency.
Tipperary TD’s Noel Coonan (FG) and Michael Lowry (Ind) were not feeling quite so happy. They were remaining silent, yet aware that Bord na Mona’s Littleton peat factory, just a mile or two down the road, were planning to shut down their 24/7 peat production at the end of this month (April), until possibly mid August, leaving some 80 permanent workers on reduced hours and a temporary lay-off.
In an earlier statement unknown to Mr Kelly, Bord na Mona had made it clear that a combination of a mild 2014/15 winter, the exorbitant rise brought about by Carbon Tax and an unusually high demand for cheaper timber fuel products, this season, had led them to drastically reduced sales of their peat products and it was being forced to implemented a ‘lay-off contingency plan’ to deal with this situation.
When questions were raised in Dáil Éireann this week regarding these lay-offs by the normally silent TD’s Coonan and Lowry; our Junior Minister with responsibility for European Affairs Mr Dara Murphy, latter speaking on behalf of Energy Minister Alex White, stated it was not the role of Government to intervene in an ‘operational matter’.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD wisely remained silent on both the above Thurles employment issues, after all when the sums are done, 80 jobs lost, minus 40 jobs gained, still means an increase of 40 on the CSO’s unemployment register come May 31st next.
Still I suppose ‘if the worst comes to the worst’ as we say here in Tipperary, sure Jobbridge are always recruiting and sure you can’t pay for water if you have no money; anyway there is always a life in Canada if you have an IEC working holiday visa and a passport.