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Planning Granted For Redevelopment of Cashel Palace Hotel

Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

It has been confirmed by Deputy Mr Michael Lowry TD, that planning for the redevelopment of the Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, has, this week, been granted in full.

Readers will remember that Trevester Ltd; a joint venture between the Magnier family and a group of International investors, acquired the valuable property in late 2015; which had closed without warning in 2014.

This development group also acquired the famous Cashel pub ‘Mikey Ryan’s’; which is adjacent to the hotel gardens. Refurbishment work has already started on the pub, which is due to reopen in the 3rd quarter of 2017, and will employ 25 people.

The completion of this project will ensure that the iconic Cashel Palace will once again become the heartbeat of the town as a vibrant, high quality, service provider for both locals and visiting tourists alike.

This welcome development, when fully complete will provide in total 61 bedrooms, together with top grade function facilities, a Spa & Leisure Centre, restaurants and hotel Taverns.

The construction phase will involve 100 people working on the project, which will take 18 to 24 months to fully complete.  On completion, the hotel will employ a further 100 employees; 40 of which will be retained on a full-time basis.

In addition to the expansion of the hotel, the proposal will deliver a 3-acre town park as set out in the Cashel Development Plan and further enable the reinstatement of the famed ‘Bishop’s Walk’, allowing connectivity from the Rock of Cashel to the town centre.

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Tipperary Live Register Figures Rise

The number of persons signing on the Live Register in Co.Tipperary rose again in May 2017, with 10,906 people singing on in the county;  5,881 in South Tipperary and 5,025 in North Tipperary.

These figures represent an increase of 107 persons when compared to the previous month of April 2017 when, according to then Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures, 10,866 persons (5,841 in South Tipperary and 4,958 in North Tipperary) were dependant on the Irish State.

This Live Register increase within the county is not reflective of the overall national trend, latter which observed a drop some 0.8 %, according to the same C.S.O figures published.

Tipperary TownsLive Register Increases & Decreases.

Increases:-  Carrick-on-Suir 32;  Cashel 5;  Clonmel 35;  Nenagh 35;  Thurles 63.  Total Live Register increase – 170.
Decreases:- Cahir 7;  Tipperary Town 25;  Roscrea 31.  Total Live Register decrease – 63.

Compared to one year previously (May 2016), we see an overall fall in Live Register figures of some 1,723 persons, when compared to May of 2017.  These reduced figures for the most part are most likely due to emigration and migration, and certainly cannot be attributed to any major job creation in the county, despite Fine Gael / Labour pre-election promises.

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Tipperary Co. Co. Call For Expressions of Interest

Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2017 – Call for Expressions of Interest

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2017 (an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential) was recently launched by the Department of Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The scheme is specifically targeted at towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000. (Note: Census 2016 – Population of Thurles Urban 6,814 and Thurles Rural 2,314; Rural & Urban together 9,128 – Yes Thurles Town Qualifies.).  A National Fund of €20m will be made available on a competitive basis for projects developed at local level. The Department have indicated that they will approve nationally up to 300 projects, (or over 66,000 per project) to be commenced in 2017 and completed by mid 2018.

The focus of the Scheme is on rejuvenating Ireland’s rural towns and villages to make them more attractive places in which to live and work, and to increase their tourism potential.

Tipperary County Council is seeking Expressions of Interest from town/village groups who may have a suitable project for consideration under the scheme.

All expressions of interest will be assessed by the Council based on the priorities as contained in the Scheme Outline. A maximum of 15 proposals can be selected for County Tipperary, including those put forward by the Council itself, for development into detailed applications which will be submitted by the Council to the Department. It is the Department who will make the final selection and approval of projects to be funded by the Scheme.

Project proposals must include activities that will have clear positive impacts on the town or village making them more attractive places in which to live and work, and to increase their tourism potential. Extra priority will be given to projects which stimulate economic activity in the town/village and between it and neighbouring townlands.

Up to 80% of the total cost of a project can be provided for any individual project; 20% match-funding has to be provided. A town/village project application can include several linked components to support the rejuvenation of the town/village. The minimum grant which is available is €20,000 and the maximum, generally, is €100,000.

Please find ‘Expression of Interest Form’ etc linked HERE

Any interested town/village group must complete the ‘Expression of Interest Form’ and return it to the Community & Economic Development Section, Tipperary County Council, Ballingarrane House, Cahir Road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary or email to townandvillage2017@tipperarycoco.ie no later than 12.00 noon on Friday 26th May 2017.

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Bord na Móna Briquette Factory To Cease Operations

Yet another significant employer vanishes from the North Tipperary landscape.

The Bord na Móna (BNM) Briquette Factory, at Littleton, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, is to close by April of 2018. This afternoon Management met with staff at the Littleton, Tipperary and Derrinlough, Offaly plants to make the expected announcement.

The Littleton, Co. Tipperary factory was first commissioned 36 years ago, in 1981.

The semi-state company, a significant employer in a region of high unemployment, announced that the Tipperary facility will close down in April next year, with the loss of at least 69 jobs.

There is also expected to be some bearing on 56 other employees, all who work as part of the peat harvesting operation in the Tipperary area. The company will begin consultation shortly with both unions and employees, to further discuss these job losses.

The Derrinlough plant, which currently employs 61 people, will now be the sole location for the production of peat briquettes, and into the future, the production of a new biomass briquette, for which the company have confirmed, it is to seek planning permission to begin production.

BNM defend their decision to close Littleton, claiming sales had come under pressure due to increased competition, consumer trends, low oil prices, carbon tax and other unnamed factors.

Meanwhile, the Bord na Móna group of unions have stated that they do not accept the decision to close the factory, and they will oppose today’s decision, using all legitimate means.

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Is The Purchase By Government Of The Thurles ‘Black Castle’ Justified?

At Kilshane House, Co. Tipperary recently, attended by over 200 guests from the Multi-National and Indigenous Sectors, Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, as well as high profile figures drawn from the world of Sport and Entertainment were LR; Tipperary Co. Council Chairperson Siobhan Ambrose, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mitchell O’Connor with the very able Tipperary County Council Chief Executive (CE) Joseph MacGrath.

Here in Co. Tipperary we respectfully ask the questions:
(1) Is Thurles Co. Tipperary ‘THE PLACE, ‘THE TIME’ for to encourage the government to “join other leading organisations”, to couple with our “rich culture of heritage?
(2) “Is a purchase, by Government, of the ‘Black Castle’ here in Thurles justified, given our present economic situation nationally?
(3) Should the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, M/s Heather Humphreys or Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation M/s Mitchell O’Connor be asked, by our local politicians, to bring this ‘Black Castle’ purchase matter before Cabinet, recommending its purchase?

History of the Black Castle
For those not familiar with the historic Black Castle in Thurles, do please read on; remembering that same building has now come up for sale as part of a commercial lot, having been previously in private ownership.

The sale of the Black Castle, which is located on the west side of Liberty Square, presents an ideal opportunity for the present government to now, through the Office of Public Works (OPW) who maintain the State’s property portfolio, bring this historic castle into public ownership.

The castle was once the home of Elizabeth Poyntz, formerly of Acton Court, Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, England,[A]  known as Lady Viscountess Thurles, following her marriage to Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, in 1608. Thomas Butler was son of Walter Butler “Walter of the Rosaries,” latter probably the first of the Butler family to take up residence in Thurles Castle.[B]   Viscount Thurles was summoned from Tipperary, to England in 1619 to answer charges of treason, but the ship, conveying him, was wrecked off the coast of Wales, in an area known as The Skerries and he was drowned on 15th December 1619. His wife Elizabeth Butler (Poyntz), the celebrated Lady Thurles was now a widow and the lone parent of three sons and four daughters.

After the death of Viscount Thurles, Lady Thurles, married again, about 1620, Captain George Mathew of Radyr and Llandaff in Glamorganshire, Wales, by whom Lady Thurles had a further two sons and a daughter.

Captain George Mathew died at Tenby in Wales in 1636. A period portrait, oil on canvas, of Lady Viscountess Thurles is in the possession of the Tipperary County Library, situated in the Source building, Cathedral Street, Thurles.

Memorial Plaque marking the burial place of Elizabeth Butler in St. Mary’s Church Thurles. Note Elizabeth Butler (Poyntz) was also progenitor (ancestor) to Honora “Nano” Nagle (1718-1784) the “Lady with the Lantern”, founder of the “Presentation Sisters” and a pioneer of Catholic education in Ireland. The Presentation Sisters here in Thurles this year celebrate 200 years of being resident in the town (1817-2017). Nano Nagle was declared venerable in the Roman Catholic Church on 31st October 2013 by Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio).

Elizabeth and Thomas Butler (Lord & Lady Thurles), through their first son James FitzThomas Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond, is a direct progenitor (ancestor) to Charles Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of the present Queen Elizabeth II.

The late Princess Diana is also connected to the history of the castle and through the daughter of Lord and Lady Thurles, (Mary Butler), and her ancestors the Hamiltons, descendants of whom married into the Spencer family. Indeed the late Princess Diana was the 12th cousin, twice removed, of Lady Viscountess Thurles.

Despite a visit from Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian army during the period 1658 to 1660, Lady Thurles and her children resided in the castle for a great deal of her life. Following her death in 1673 she was buried, at her own earlier request, in Thurles, inside the earlier pre 1820 ‘Little Chapel of St.Mary’, now St. Mary’s C of I Church. A commemorative polished limestone plaque, within the church building, recalls this historic period.

Does Rural Ireland Receive its Fair Share of Government Funding?

Here in the Thurles half of our Templemore / Thurles Municipal District of Tipperary, our appointed fiscal executives at both Municipal District and County Council level, correctly and carefully count the cost of administration, prioritising our spend.  Thurles after all is part of a forgotten rural Ireland; which the present Fine Gael government fully agree has been totally neglected for at least the past 15 years.

According to our recent 2016 Census returns, between 2011 and 2016 the Thurles Urban Electoral Division population actually dropped by 115 persons (From 6,929 to 6,814), while Thurles Rural Electoral Division increased only by 14 persons (From 2,300 to 2,314 – a miserable .61% increase). Of course the figures posted in these 2016 Census returns are not in fact actually true; instead these figures reflect the numbers of persons forced to migrate or emigrate elsewhere in order to find work; with all employment prospects in the town completely absent.

On April 27th last, we posted details of Fáilte Ireland’s recently announced €11.5m funding, to be invested in the refurbishment of ten key OPW sites in Dublin, within Ireland’s Ancient East Region. I pointed out that within a 33 miles radios of Dublin’s popular O’Connell street, went the majority of funding; yes over €8m in total. This included €3m towards a new museum and viewing platform in ‘The Record Tower,’ at Dublin Castle; €300,000 towards a Phoenix Park tourism and amenity study.  While twenty-five miles’ away the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre got €2.58m; and thirty three miles away Newgrange got €1m with Knowth a further €1.4m.

Continue reading Is The Purchase By Government Of The Thurles ‘Black Castle’ Justified?

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