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Pres. M.D. Higgins Warmly Welcomed To Cabragh Wetlands

A large crowd turned out on Saturday evening last, May 19th 2018, in Cabragh Wetlands Thurles, to welcome two visiting guests; the President of Ireland, Mr Michael D. Higgins and his wife, Ireland’s First Lady, Mrs Sabina Higgins. President Higgins was visiting to officially open the Trust’s new and recently erected Visitor Centre, situated on the property.

The President and his wife was formally welcomed by Mr Tom Grace (Wetlands Trust Chairperson); Mr Michael Long; Independent TD Deputy Mr Michael Lowry, and Fianna Fáil TD Deputy Mr Jackie Cahill.

The building was officially blessed by the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, His Grace Kieran O’Reilly, [(SMA) Society of African Missions].

Addressing the assembled gathering President Higgins spoke of global changes seeming overwhelming. “We are now witnessing the most negative manifestations of human influence: the catastrophic effects of climate change produced by the emission of greenhouse gases and changes in land-use, such as the drainage of bogs and wetlands; the alteration of the phosphorus, sulphur, and as we know so well in Ireland, the nitrogen cycles, each one an ecological process vital to life on our planet; disruptions to the terrestrial water cycle, so vital to rain-fed agriculture in a pastoral economy such as our own; and of course, most tragically, the onset of the sixth great mass extinction event in the history of our planet, in which so much biodiversity has already been lost.”

Yet, despite global changes he pointed out that the Wetlands Trust project here in Thurles, was born at a challenging time for the then workforce in Thurles and the beet farming producers of Tipperary when, in 1989, Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann decided to close the sugar factory, which had been “such a fixture of the economic life of the area since 1934”.

Praising the challenges faced and dealt with by the organisation, the President concluded, “This Visitor Centre is a fitting testament to your efforts over the many years. It comes in the midst of our planetary emergency, and is more urgently required than ever before, for it provides us with hope for a better, more socially just and ecologically sustainable future.

May I then pay tribute once again to all those who brought this vision into being, in particular the Chairman of the Trust, Tom Grace, and wish you all the very best in the future”.

The President and his wife were later taken on an educational tour of this very fine local facility.

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Lowry Confirms Provision For Special Needs Assistant Posts

Independent Deputy Mr Michael Lowry has confirmed the provision for additional ‘Special Needs Assistants’, all of whom will be allocated to schools here within Co. Tipperary, as and from the start of the next school year.

This announcement means that 12 additional Special Needs Assistant posts are to be created in Co.Tipperary. In all, this will bring the total number of Special Needs Assistant posts in Co. Tipperary schools to over 463, with effect from September of this year, 2018.

“As student enrolment continues to grow in our school’s annually, these extra Special Needs Assistant posts, when filled, are to be wholly welcomed, thus allowing students who require special needs education to continue their tutelage in a mainstream school setting”, stated Deputy Lowry.

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“The Flying Nun” Celebrates 80th Birthday & Diamond Jubilee

Author, Poet and Journalist Tom Ryan reports:
Presentation Sister Patricia Wall from Ballingarry, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, affectionately nicknamed “The Flying Nun”, after she did a skydive for charity at the age of seventy five years; reached further new heights last Saturday.
The hugely popular nun, who is a former ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award winner and sister of former Tipperary All-Ireland Senior Hurling Team Captain of 1958, Tony Wall, celebrated both her 80th birthday and the Diamond Jubilee of her profession, at a convivial function attended by family members, including her brother, Tony and several hundred parishioners, in Anner Hotel, Thurles.

Other family members present at the special Mass, celebrated by Fr. Joe Walsh with Fr. J.J. O’Rourke also present, included Sister Patricia’s sister, Mrs Helen De Veale; her brothers, Aidan, Tony and Michael and other relatives, neighbours and friends.

The presentation of symbols at the Mass featured Sister Patricia’s Volunteer Award; a lantern; a book, and flags of Zimbabwe and New Zealand, where she has ministered in the past.

Sister Patricia Wall, formerly of No.10, Fianna Road, Thurles and other Presentation Sisters renewed their Vows on the very special and unique occasion when many tributes were paid to the good- humoured, caring and selfless nun of many talents, as outlined by Ms Clare Cashman, latter Manager of the Millennium Resource Centre in Glengoole.

Local County Councillor, Imelda Goldsboro and Fr. Joe Walsh also lauded the sterling qualities of the ever-energetic Sister Patricia who is regarded as a great organiser.  Other Public Representatives present included Dáil Éireann Deputies, Jackie Cahill, Seamus Healy and Mattie McGrath.

Present also were representatives of the numerous voluntary and community organisations in historic Slieveardagh where the Irish Tricolour was flown for the first time in Ireland, said Sister Patricia. This writer learned many years ago that it was brought over from France to Waterford, but Thomas Francis Meagher wished it to be flown for the first time near the historic village of The Commons, Ballingarry (SR), scene of the significant 1848 rebel uprising, (battle of the Widow McCormack’s Cabbage Patch) as a major symbolic gesture from a European context.

Sister Patricia, who featured in a video presentation by Mr Kealy of Ballingarry Community Development committee, spent 40 years devoted to teaching and “bringing the charism and vision” of the Presentation Sister’s foundress, Nano Nagle, to the classroom and in one instance into the home of a person for five years for home schooling.

She spent 12 of her 40 years in school work in New Zealand (six years) and in Zimbabwe (six years). She has been Principal of Presentation Secondary School in both Thurles and Ballingarry and was a good friend of the Arts here in Thurles, indeed I can personally vouch for her help with the production of a play of mine, “Children of the Nation”, which won awards for Presentation Secondary School, Thurles in the Co. Tipperary Schools Drama Festival.

Among those present on the night were Mr Denis and Mrs Sadie Heffernan, who have done so much for theatre in Slieveardagh Region. Teachers and former teachers present included Mr Joseph Moran, former National President of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI).

Sister Patricia spent the last 20 years doing volunteer work in the Slieveardagh area, where she is a legend in the true sense of that word and to whose people in Glengoole , Ballingarry, Ballynonty, etc.
She has given unstinting and devoted service, displaying her many talents in the process and achieving so much, as outlined by Millennium Resource Centre Manager in Glengoole, Ms Clare Cashman.

A sumptuous repast was enjoyed by all, in the best traditions of the Presentation Order and Slieveardagh people, and a night of music followed when many happy memories were exchanged.  Music for the Mass was provided by Sister Theresa of Presentation Secondary School, Ballingarry, with both the Mass vocals and music truly uplifting.

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Special Needs Report Issued In Error For School Project

Independent.ie report today that confidential education details, given to a senior infants class on paper intended for use as a colouring project, has now become the subject of an investigation at a Co. Tipperary primary school.

It is understood that part of this confidential education report, which concerned a special needs boy, was handed to five and six-year-old senior infant students, in the form of A4 sheets for use in a drawing project.

A detailed assessment of the 10-year-old boy’s educational needs were clearly legible on the reverse side of an A4 sheet, detailing how this older special needs boy; latter experiencing emotional and special education issues, should be managed. It is believed that pages from this report may were accidentally gotten mixed up with blank A4 pages, intended for use in the classroom.

The issue came to light when the primary students were permitted to take their colouring project home, and an older sibling of one of these children became curious about the messaging on the reverse side of the A4 project page.

Realising the significance of this written material; this older student then brought it to the attention a parent, who became dismayed and shocked by the information contained thereon; which included the boy’s name and his date of birth.

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French Second Level Students Visiting Tipperary.


A number of French Transition Year and 5th year students; part of a student exchange programme undertaken by Scoil na mBraithre Chriostai (C.B.S) secondary school, and Coláiste Phobal Ros Cré, are presently visiting the towns of Thurles and Roscrea this week.

Here in Thurles, on Monday morning last the group were the guests of Hayes Hotel, who kindly invited them to partake of mid-morning tea and scones, together with a one-hour history lecture on Ireland’s Great Famine (1845-1850).

The group is being led by French and English-speaking teachers; Mary Kennedy, Pauline Deegan, Anne Marie Mullins, Isabelle Herlet and Sylvie Lissillour.

The all fluent English-speaking students, were formally welcomed to Thurles town by Independent T.D. Mr Michael Lowry, Ms Philomena Cunlu (Asst. Man. Hayes Hotel) and Mr Tiernan O’Donnell (Principal Thurles C.B.S.).

Lady Elisha (Elizabeth) Mathew
The students were surprised to learn that during the Great Famine period in Ireland’s history, while England may have ruled Ireland; Thurles and its lands were owned by a French diplomat of aristocratic descent.

The once owner of Thurles Town, Francis James Mathew, 2nd and last Earl of Llandaff, had been a spendthrift. To pay his enormous racing and gambling debts, he had sold all the family estates in Wales and some of his Irish estates; while heavily mortgaging the remainder including Thurles.  He died suddenly, intestate, in Dublin on 12th March 1833, leaving no issue.  His divided estate lands here in Tipperary then passed to his sister, Lady Elisha (Elizabeth) Mathew, born in 1781, and who herself died unmarried at her house in Molesworth St., Dublin, on 14th December 1841.

Following her death, Lady Elisha Mathew, in her legal right, and through her Will, bequeathed the Mathew, Earl of Llandaff (Welsh: Eglwys Gadeiriol Llandaf,) estates, including Thurles, Co. Tipperary (latter 1,713 acres), to her cousin the Comte de Jarnac, Viscount Chabot, (1815-1875), of the house of Rohan, France.

Thomas F. Meagher – Irish Flag.
The student group also learned, possibly for the first time, that Thomas Francis Meagher and William Smith O’Brien leaders of the failed Irish Nationalist uprising at Ballingarry (SR) Co. Tipperary, (Also known as the Battle of Widow McCormack’s Cabbage Patch), in 1848; having visited France to study revolutionary events there, had returned to Ireland with the new ‘Flag of Ireland’, a tricolour of Green, White and Orange made by, and presented to both men by French women sympathetic to the Irish cause.

Today, Article 7 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, Constitution of Ireland, confirms; ‘The national flag is the Tricolour of green, white and orange’.

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