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Three Billboards Outside Thurles, Co. Tipperary

You have possibly seen the film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a 2017 drama film written, directed, and co-produced by Martin McDonagh and staring Frances McDormand as a mother who rents three billboards to call attention to her daughter’s unsolved murder.

It seems nowadays this kind of action is the only way to highlight neglect and injustice, as large rural Irish towns are abandoned in favour of overcrowded, dirty, crime ridden, sprawling cities.

Large and small business owners and their employees, operating in the heart of Thurles town, found themselves almost completely cut off from customers arriving from the east side of the River Suir yesterday, with both Thurles river crossings operating a ‘Stop & Go’ system of traffic control, because of two separate sets of road works.

Three Billboards Outside Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Business people are aware and fully accept the necessity of repairing the long neglected Barry’s Bridge, but were not expecting the simultaneous and unnecessary road works begun yesterday on the Mill Road, (at the Y junction joining Thurles with Littleton Village and exiting unto Turtulla crossroads).

Traffic from the eastern parts of town had reverted to using this narrow dangerous Mill Road, as an alternative route to reach the centre of Thurles, thus avoiding the crossing at Barry’s Bridge, on the advice of redirection signs posted.

Because of the works being carried out on the Mill Road junction, traffic decided to travel instead once again via the single lane over Barry’s Bridge yesterday, taking vehicles 26 minutes to travel less than ½ a kilometre, with traffic tailed back to the Borroway roundabout. Similar tailbacks occurred on the narrow, and dangerously twisting track that is the Archerstown Industrial Estate exit, all due to a lack of basic logistical communication.

Huge anger is now being expressed by business people, with demands being made that Tipperary County Council immediately state when the promised Thurles Relief Road, announced as being funded under the recent National Development Plan, will actually materialise.

This Thurles Relief Road was already approved by An Bord Pleanala in 2014, however funding had then been withdrawn by the governing Fine Gael / Labour Collision.

For this front window view of a high sided diesel-spewing 12-wheeler lorry, we must pay the highest rate of property tax in Ireland.

The planned relief road, subject to conditions expected to be laid down by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, together with the appointment of an archaeologist to monitor all intended site developments, was agreed to commence from the Clongour area of Thurles to the rear of the present old Erin Foods site, before crossing the river to exit onto the Mill Road, south-east of Thurles Town.

More importantly, residents living on narrow Thurles Streets, e.g. Croke Street, Mitchel Street, Parnell Street, Kickham Street, O’Donovan Rossa Street etc, are now obliged to live with electric lights burning all day in their front rooms, due to slow moving 12 and 18-wheeler, high sided lorries, vibrating their homesteads, while almost at a standstill, due to this now necessary, but nevertheless previously neglected road works.

I am referring of course to those residences who lack front gardens and, in the interest of community pride, are forced annually to paint their homes at least once each year, caused due to the filth from heavy duty vehicles, being splashed on the outer walls of their homes.

These residents are what author Uaitéar ÓMaicín’s (1915-1967) called “The Silent People”, on whom property tax was piled; increased with the permission of elected representatives; and who are forced daily to breath endless diesel pollutants containing unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other fumes; while having to wash the soot from their curtains every week, because they felt the need to open a window.

While today here in Thurles half of our population can’t cross the River Suir, the National Transport Authority (NTA) have announced plans in Dublin for a €3bn underground / over ground Metro service for Dublin.  Ms Anne Graham, NTA Chief Executive said the 26km track should be operational by 2027, if it succeeds in the planning process, (Which means this project is already well advanced).  This Metro service line will run from Sandyford in south Dublin to beyond Swords in north Dublin, taking in Dublin Airport. This service is expected to travel over ground from Sandyford to Charlemont, before vanishing underground to the airport.

The 26km distance, will, NTA boast, mean a journey time of just 20 minutes from the city centre to Dublin airport and 50 minutes from Sandyford to Swords, with trains travelling every two minutes in each direction. (Compare these drive times in Thurles, 26 minutes, to travel just ½ a kilometre.)

How long more the residents and businesses here in Thurles will continue their silence; we can’t be sure, but patience is most certainly running out fast. This lack of patience was previously highlighted when it was decided that Fine Gael TD’s, in government would no longer be elected in the county, and were found to be totally eradicated following the last General Election results held on Friday February 26th 2016.

Already there are whisperings to boycott local elections, because of town centre parking charges. Charges to commuters using Irish Rail for example and who park their cars at Thurles railway station, must now pay €4.50 on top of the cost to their over priced, standing room only, rail tickets, making it cheaper to simply drive to our larger cities.

With Local Elections due to be held in all local government areas of the Republic of Ireland in June 2019, and National Elections expected this autumn of 2018; politicians be warned, the days of receiving salaries for simply updating their social media sites, with unsubstantiated claims to power; are coming to an end.  Businesses are being expected to pay high rates, massive insurance and heavy taxes, in a town where its streets are becoming slowly derelict and its roadways more akin to gravelled driveways.  Regardless of current delays on Barry’s Bridge, it would be easier at present to access Thurles from the east by rowing boat, rather than by motor vehicle.

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2 comments to Three Billboards Outside Thurles, Co. Tipperary

  • John Fogarty

    The Three Billboards Outside Thurles should say “We Are Closed ” ridiculous scheduling of works even today Dublin road had single lane restrictions.
    If any councillors are reading this they might at least get hedges trimmed at back of golf course a good 2 ft of roadway lost to car scratching Blackthorn.

  • George Willoughby

    They are reading it O.K. John, however they have absolutely no power to give any instruction or to make any decisions. All they can do is “CALL FOR” this, that and the other. €24,000 a year PLUS to double job and update their social media, which they even do that badly. Have to go to one meeting a month, plus whatever committees boards they choose to become a member on. Their sole purpose it seems is not to join together for the common good of those who elected them, but rather to attack each other in the interests of the “PARTY”. We pay parking fee’s to partially cover their wages. Best if they were removed all together. Funny they have the power to raise property tax, but can’t fill a pothole.

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