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February 2016
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Thurles L.I.T. Strike Over Crisis Within Education


Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) lecturers outside the Thurles Campus, strike over crises within the educational sector.

Institute of Technology academic staff represented by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) went on a one day strike today, (Wednesday February 3rd 2016), thus commencing a campaign of industrial action regarding a number of crisis issues within their sector. Last December, third level members voted in a national ballot, by a margin of 92%, in favour of a campaign of industrial action up to and including strike action.

Today’s action was brought about following key concerns of chronic underfunding of the sector, a 32% rise in student numbers over a time when lecturer numbers have fallen by 10% and the precarious employment status of many of the lecturers themselves.

The TUI, which represent 4,000 lecturers and researchers in Institutes of Technology and are urging the Department of Education and Skills to engage meaningfully with them and to urgently attempt to address these serious issues.

Speaking to the strikers today, we understand that on a daily basis, that Institute of Technology lecturers observe at first-hand what damage an era of austerity cuts can have on the student experience within higher education. According to the striking workforce the Institute of Technology sector has been brutalised by an era of anti-educational cutbacks and the latest figures speak for themselves, i.e. Funding cut by 35% (€190m) between 2008 and 2015; Student numbers rising by a staggering (32%) 21,411; Lecturer numbers falling by 9.5% (535) etc. This situation is having a daily direct and detrimental effect on the quality of services available to students not to mention the working conditions of the academics themselves.

While the vast increase in numbers participating in third level education is being welcomed, the complete failure to provide appropriate funding and to maintain appropriate staffing levels is now long past the stage of having a negative impact on the student experience at higher education levels. Students now experience much larger class sizes, less access to laboratories and libraries and a sharp cut to tutorials and other student supports.

Lecturer workloads currently being undertaken have increased significantly to the point of being intolerably in recent years. Recent findings via a survey carried out by TUI show that lecturers are experiencing high levels of work related stress as a result of cutbacks and rationalisation measures which were put into force.

This sector has made an enormous contribution to social, economic and cultural development, yet their success is being dangerously undermined by short sighted and vicious austerity cuts. In the absence of any move towards remedying this unacceptable situation, academic staff in the institutes have been left with no option but to take necessary strike action.

They now urging the Department of Education and Skills to take serious heed and engage with them on these crisis issues.

Thurles & Tipperary Garda News

Tipperary Gardaí – Community Initiatives

GardaOur picture (on left) shows Garda John Hognett and Garda Annette Connolly, Thurles, visiting Littleton Primary School recently, with their dog ‘Harley’, latter representing the South Eastern Regional Dog Unit.

To the joy of the children present, ‘Harley’, under the strict and safe supervision of Garda John, gave a demonstration of how to keep riotous people under control at close quarters and how his dog can sniff out drugs and explosives.

Garda Annette spoke to the assembled children on the various daily necessary operations of An Garda Siochana in Tipperary and the need by children, in particular, to identify with Gardaí as their protector, advisor and friend, particularly in times of danger.

The police presence on the day was extremely well received by both the school’s students and their teachers and could be an initiative to be undertaken by other Primary Schools throughout the county.

Thurles Gardaí Reuniting Stolen Property With Rightful Owners

Efforts to reunite stolen and otherwise recovered property back with their rightful owners across the counties Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford and Waterford will get under way at Thurles Garda Station tomorrow, Wednesday 3rd February 2016, from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Labelled as being a “South Eastern Regional Property Recovered Day”, members of the public are being invited to attend at Thurles Garda Station to view and identify items of property from across the South Eastern Garda Region.

Should any member of the public not be in a position to attend Thurles Garda Station on the 3rd February 2016, catalogues of the property will also be available to view at the Divisional Community Policing Seminar at St Patrick’s College Thurles at 7:00pm on the following day, February 4th 2016.

The public can also view all property by logging onto https://www.flickr.com/photos/gardasiochana/albums/72157662624868730 and viewing the items in Garda custody.

Keep in mind that if any member of the public has any knowledge regarding any of the item of property visible on this site or any information on other stolen or lost property they should contact their local Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line Tel: 1800 666 111.

NOTE: 2016 Divisional Tipperary Policing Seminar

The 2016 Tipperary Divisional Community Seminar will take place at St Patrick’s College, Cathedral Street, Thurles, on next Thursday, February 4th, beginning at 7:00pm sharp.

An Garda Siochana in Tipperary are committed to maintaining their strong links with communities. Therefore this Seminar is intended to give clear insight on their strategic imperatives for the year ahead under the twin pillars of Crime Prevention and necessary Community Engagement. With people nationally complaining daily about rising crime levels, here is your opportunity “to light that single candle rather than to continuously curse the darkness”, so where at all possible the public are invited to attend this Seminar, which will be addressed by Chief Superintendent Mrs Catherine M. Kehoe.

“Those That History Forgot” – Borrisoleigh Historical Society

BorrisoleighThe next welcome guest speaker at the Borrisoleigh Historical Society’s monthly series of lectures will be Borrisoleigh native, Mr Gerry Kearney.

Gerry will lecture those in attendance on some of the personalities of our past history, who for various reasons are now conveniently erased. History is generally written by the victors, and narratives are mostly handed down from their perspectives, thus the input and contributions made by many are often never fully recognised or worse still, deliberately and conveniently excluded.

From War of Independence, the Civil War and many other momentous and defining events that have happened since then, people, whose contributions were more more than significant, are either totally unknown or alas, largely forgotten in the fading mists of time.

Gerry, who is a senior civil servant, based in Dublin, has for many years studied these, now, somewhat hazy events and the people involved. He will identify to those assembled who these forgotten people are; the reasons for their often exclusion; the politics and petty jealousies that caused this event to happen and shine a light on the lesser known, yet hugely significant happenings that have contributed enormously towards the making of our country.

The lecture will commence at 8.00pm sharp, on Monday next January 25th in the Community Centre, Borrisoleigh, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

M/s Delia Ryan, representing Borrisoleigh Historical Society, contacted us here on Thurles.Info this morning.

She is sorry to have to relate to our readers that the societies monthly ‘Lecture Series’, which this month was to feature, Mr Gerry Kearney, has to be temporally postponed.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the event, which was fixed for Monday night January 25th 2016 in the Community Hall Borrisoleigh, will now instead take place on February 22nd, 2016.

Delia apologises to all our readers for any inconvenience this cancellation may have caused.

Inflation Remains Low, But Business Costs Rise

Mr Mark Fielding CEO ISME

Mark Fielding CEO. ISME.

Thurles, Co. Tipperary born Mr Mark Fielding, Chief Executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has warned that while inflation remains low, business costs are steadily rising.

“Increasing costs are one of the most pressing issues facing SMEs at present. It is difficult for small businesses to grow and hire new staff, when their cost base is continuously rising and their margins reduce,” said Mr Fielding.

ISME warn of rising business costs despite new figures showing low inflation levels. Consumer prices increased by just 0.1 per cent over the year to December, according to latest figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Transport-related costs fell by 4.3% over the year,due to a decline in the prices paid for petrol, diesel and air fares.

Motor Insurance premiums increased by 31% in the year to December, due to insurers continued to hike prices.

Clothing and Footwear costs were down 4.1%, due mainly to heavy discounting by retailers, while household-related items, e.g. furnishings fell by some 1.5%.

Alcoholic Beverages sold in Supermarkets and Off-Licences were lower in the period.

Education, Miscellaneous Goods and Services demonstrated the largest yearly price increases, with same up 3.8% and 2.6% respectively.

Fuel related prices and Communications costs rose by 2.1% and by 1.7% respectively over this same time frame.

Mark Fielding: As well as being Chief Executive of (ISME) Mr Mark Fielding is a member of the Company Law Review Group, the High Level Group on Business Regulation and the Advisory Group on Small Business. He also sits on the administrative council of UEAPME, the European employers’ organisation, latter a recognised European Social Partner representing more than 12 million enterprises, while employing 55 million people across Europe.

Next Borrisoleigh Historical Society Lecture – 7th Dec. 2015

Monday night, 7th December 2015 – Lecture by Seán Hogan – “Seamus Burke – Tipperary TD, 1918 – 1938”

Seán Hogan, author of best-selling book “The Black and Tans in North Tipperary” will be the welcome guest speaker at Borrisoleigh Historical Society’s lecture on Monday night next, December 7th 2015.  His lecture will feature the life of a neglected figure from recent Tipperary history and a man with deep Borrisoleigh connections. Séamus Burke (1893 – 1967) was a TD for Tipperary from 1918 to 1938. The elements of privilege, tragedy, loss, achievement, celebrity and controversy will be found in Hogan’s telling of the story of Burke’s life.

Lovers of history here in Thurles will be particularly interested in travelling to this lecture. Back in March 1919 it was reported that the tone of speeches made by Séamus Burke; a recently elected Sinn Féin members of Parliament, showed increasing hostility towards the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC).  One such speech was indeed given by the same Seamus Bourke, asserted that the correct way to deal with RIC officers was not to shoot them, as this was being irresponsible, “but (instead) to make their life unbearable, treat them as outcasts of society, as we cannot be in any place that some of these ‘vipers‘ are not in our midst.”

Séamus Bourke was duly prosecuted by the RIC for these apparent inflammatory remarks. His arresting officer was none other than District Inspector Michael Hunt from Thurles, who was later shot dead by first cousins Jim and Tommy Stapleton from Finnahy, Upperchurch and Jim Murphy (Latter known as “The Jennett”) from Curreeney, Kilcommon, on June 23rd 1919, as the former entered Liberty Square. The RIC County Inspector believed then that his involvement with the case against Séamus Bourke was the main reason why District Inspector Hunt had been targeted for assassination.

Séamus Aloysius Burke – Sinn Féin Teachta Dála, Irish Cumann na nGaedheal founder member and later Fine Gael politician.

Séamus Burke’s parents were originally from Borrisoleigh and his family gained a considerable fortune in America, enabling them to live amongst the existing social elite. His early life was blighted by the deaths, from ‘Scarlatina’ (Scarlet Fever), of his two elder brothers. Séamus (James) went on to be educated by the Jesuits in both Fordham College, New York and Clongowes Wood; qualifying as a barrister in 1916.


Seamus A. Burke (Identified by red frame in picture of 1st First Dáil – January 21st 1919,)standing beside school friend Kevin O’Higgins, (on his right), latter who was assassinated on Sunday July 10th 1927 in revenge for his part in the executions of IRA men during the civil war.

Burke’s story encompasses a critical period in Irish politics, in which he was a significant player on the national scene. On December 14th 1918, at the age of 25, he was returned as Sinn Féin Teachta Dála (TD) for mid-Tipperary. One of his roles during the turbulent years of the War of Independence was raising funds in America for the underground Irish Republican movement. However, he was the only Tipperary TD to support the Treaty in 1922 and during the Civil War which followed, his home at Rockforest House was burned after Anti-Treaty IRA men; Frederick Burke (Ileigh), Martin O’Shea (Borrisoleigh), Pat Russell (Thurles) and Patrick McNamara, (Ballina), were executed in Roscrea on January 15th 1923.

Burke headed the poll in Tipperary in subsequent elections and became Minister for Local Government and Public Health in W.T. Cosgrave’s Government of 1923 – 27. His was a very significant contribution to the development of the new State during difficult years, going on to become a founder-member of Cumann na nGaedheal. Although largely absent in the standard texts of the period, Burke’s political contribution was of the same order as his well-known Ministerial colleague and school friend from Clongowes, Kevin O’Higgins, who would be assassinated in 1927.

Burke’s married in 1929; his wife none other than Zenaide Bashkiroff, further adds to the intrigue surrounding his life and times. Zenaide was the niece of Prince Felix Youssopoff, who assassinated Grigori Rasputin, the Russian peasant, faith healer, advisor and trusted friend of the family of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia. Zenaide supported Séamus Burke well in his political endeavours, writing a memoir of their lives entitled “Views from a Window.” (Note if anyone has a copy I would love to read it.) During the 1930’s he was active in debates about the merits of Fascism and Communism in Europe. He was a trenchant critic of Eamonn De Valera and eventually lost his seat in 1938. He retired from politics after narrowly failing to take the last seat in the 1943 election. He later moved to England where he died in 1967.

In his meticulous style as a Tipperary historian, Seán Hogan has now researched extensively on matters relating to Burke’s life. He is a public servant in the Department of Environment, which is the successor in title to the one in which Burke laboured to create for the new State in the very challenging 1920’s, impacting in many ways on the future lives of Irish citizens.

This well-illustrated lecture promises to be yet another memorable event for Borrisoleigh Historical Society; in the societies endeavours to promote Tipperary history.

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