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Refresh Thurles – Tidy Towns Group AGM

Refresh Thurles – Tidy Towns Group Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2016 will be held on Tuesday night next, October 11th, at 8.00pm in the ‘Commercial Room’ of Hayes Hotel, in Thurles.

This year’s National Tidy Towns Competition; generously sponsored for the past 25 years by SuperValue (part of the Musgrave Group), saw Thurles marked under Category E, and receiving 285 marks out of a possible total of 450.

Please find full ‘Adjudication Report’ (Thurles. Ref 627, in Alpha Order), HERE


Marks given by National Tidy Towns Judges in respect of Thurles Town, following their 2016 adjudication.

The local Thurles Tidy Town Committee have some new projects in the pipeline, for discussion at Tuesday’s AGM, that should contribute to the towns continuing upward trend of results in this competition. They point out that the National Winner in 2016 had just 327 marks, so winning this Competition should be seen as realistic and an achievable objective for Thurles into the future.

Thurles Tidy Town Committee would like particularly to acknowledge and thank, most sincerely, everyone over the past year, who contributed to making Thurles Town attractive; a nice place to live and indeed an exceptionally nice place to visit.

Please do remember that the Thurles Tidy Towns Annual General Meeting will take place on October 11th at 8.00pm in Hayes Hotel and please do make an effort to attend this important community meeting.

‘Thurles Community Estates’ and ‘Streetscape Competition’ winners
Meanwhile the Local ‘Thurles Community Estate’ winners for 2016 were recently announced. This year’s adjudication came courtesy of a qualified landscape architect, latter now working in the area of Community Development. Same adjudication will lead to each estate receiving professional advice on how to improve various aspects of their particular immediate area.

Thurles Estate Winners 2016
The names of the Winners and full Adjudicated Results are shown as follows:
Large Estate – Moyne Road Bellevue, Thurles, – 95%
Medium Estate – Hazelwood, Dublin Rd, Thurles, – 91%
Small Estate – Windsor Grove, Dublin Rd, Thurles – 82%
Following adjudication, each winner will now receive a prize of €200 to fittingly reinvest in their community areas.

Alas, there were no entries in the ‘Streetscape Competition’ this year; nevertheless this competition will again run in 2017, with a late May closing date. Refresh Thurles look forward to more estates and streets entering next year.


IBAL Report – Thurles Clean To European Norms

A survey carried out by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) has ranked Thurles as being in joint 24th position out of some 40 towns / cities surveyed in their recent report and declared our town as being “Clean to European Norms.”  Thurles was the only Tipperary town included in this recent listing.

Overall Survey Summary

Liberty Square, Thurles.

Thurles Town – “Clean to European Norms.”

Some of the top ranking sites surveyed in Thurles included Cathedral Street and the new Thurles Town Public Car Park adjacent to the Source Theatre and Thurles Leisure Centre.

These latter two sites were not just clear of litter, but were described as “very well presented and maintained”. According to IBAL, there were no seriously littered sites in Thurles, but warned that care needed to be taken at River Walk beside the Source Theatre, to “prevent it from further deteriorating”.

On a less positive note, they found that the Tesco Service and Loading Area was somewhat littered with plastic wrapping and cardboard boxes, but acknowledged that these materials were very much associated with the store itself, rather than through any littering by the general public.

Judges Actual Report Based On Each Of the Areas Examined

Aldi Supermarket Site: Grade A. This site got the top litter grade, but only just. The overall impression was of a very clean environment with car park surface, ornamental trees etc. all in good order.

Cathedral Street: Grade A. An excellent site, with all aspects of the area surveyed in very good order e.g. paving, road markings and surface, street signage, bins, bollards and ornamental trees. There was a complete absence of litter throughout.

Liberty Square: Grade A. Liberty Square was in very good order. Despite heavy volumes of traffic and car parking it was clear of litter. There were some lovely ‘olde’ style street lamps and many of the premises were very nicely presented. Not all premises were in good order but thankfully these ones didn’t become a magnet for litter, as can so easily happen.

N62 Horse and Jockey Cashel Road: Grade A. A very good route leading into Thurles, creating a positive first impression of the town. The road surface, signage and markings were all in good order and there was an absence of litter throughout.

Public Car Park adjacent to Source Theatre & Thurles Leisure Centre: Grade A. An excellent site throughout. Not only was it completely clear of all litter but it was exceptionally well presented and maintained. The paving was very fresh and clean and the area was enhanced by planting and ornamental trees.

College Green and Beechwood Lawns: Grade B. There was a definite litter presence in this residential area. While the communal grass areas had been freshly cut it was let down by food related litter. There were heavy levels of graffiti on one wall area.

N75 Approach from M7 to Cathedral Street: Grade B. Much of this route was in good order, but it was let down by some isolated areas which were littered e.g. the entrances to some fields and premises on the perimeter of the town.

Thurles to Portlaoise N75 – M7 Connecting Road: Grade B. The overall presentation and maintenance of this connecting road was excellent, with freshly cut grass verges and signage etc. in very good order. Unfortunately it was let down by some food related litter, particularly on the passenger side of the car.

Tesco Service and Loading Area: Grade B. The litter at this site was primarily plastic wrapping and cardboard.

River Walk beside Source Theatre: Grade B. The adjacent Source Theatre is excellent and litter free. However, there was notable litter trapped at the promenade area beside the river at the bridge nearby – perhaps the area is difficult to clean but it will only deteriorate further if not addressed.

To all those who take on the responsibility of cleaning our town; “Well done” and a massive “Thank You” from everyone here in Thurles.


What Does The River Suir Mean To You?


Thurles, Anner Hotel, Thursday 21st July last – Crowd settle for discussion on the upper River Suir in Thurles, Borrisoleigh & Holycross.

Great turnouts and lively debate were the order of the day, following recent River Suir Community meetings. Over the past two weeks widely advertised evening meetings were held at six riverside locations throughout the River Suir catchment area, to ask local people “What does the River Suir mean to you?”

As we already informed our readers, public meeting were held in both Co. Tipperary and Co. Kilkenny, at the following locations:-
Newcastle Community Hall, Tuesday 19th.
• Golden Community Hall, Wednesday 20th.
Thurles, Anner Hotel, Thursday 21st.
• Cahir House Hotel, Tuesday 26th.
• Fethard Community Hall, Wednesday 27th.
• Piltown, Kildalton College, Thursday 28th.

The purpose of these appointed evening meetings were to open up serious discussion on the river Suir, with regard to water quality and other natural water issues, while also exploring possible opportunities that our river and its tributaries could provide in future to local communities.

These meetings were organised by the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office; to coincide with public consultations by the Office of Public Works (OPW) on Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAMS). All meeting opened with a presentation by Dr. Fran Igoe who gave the background to a new approach to the management of our natural waters; these included rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries, the coast and wetlands.

The importance of the River Suir, from a European perspective, was explained, including why the river was selected as a ‘Special Area of Conservation’ based on the myriad of wildlife being supported. The meetings were opened to the floor and attendees were invited to contribute regarding benefits and issues, from a local perspective. Needless to say, this was a lively affair at all named venues, with discussions ranging from sewage present in the river; excessive vegetation growth; access restrictions for walkers and to the future potential for river based tourism.

Following this discussion there was an overview of the structure and role of the national Waters and Communities Office and the draft River Basin Management Plan, latter which will be available nationally for public consultation from December 2016 to June 2017.

Continue reading What Does The River Suir Mean To You?


Have You A Vision For Our River Suir?

 Descriptive extract below from that wonderful children’s book, “The Wind in the Willows”, by Kenneth Grahame (1859-1952).

The River Bank

“He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before, this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a shake and a shiver, glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated.”

The Source

Rising on the slopes of Devil’s Bit Mountain, just north of Templemore in County Tipperary, the River Suir flows south through Loughmore, Thurles, Holycross, Golden and Knockgraffon. It merges with the river Aherlow at Kilmoyler and further on with the river Tar, before turning east at the Comeragh Mountains, thus forming the border between Co. Waterford and Co. Tipperary. The Suir then passes through Cahir, Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir before reaching the sea at Waterford.

Important Workshops
Over the coming weeks the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office are holding a series of important public workshops to discuss the future potential of the River Suir and its tributaries; possible management options; funding for various projects, culminating it is hoped, in a shared vision for its long term future.

Initially at these now selected meetings there will be no agenda other than to get an important conversation under way, and see, as a community, where open, shared debate can take us into the future. The meetings will start at around 7.00pm; lasting for about one hour at the stated venues listed hereunder.

Selected Meeting Venues

Note: Shown below are the dates of upcoming meetings and their selected venues in relation to various district catchment areas:-

Tuesday, 19th July 2016, Newcastle Community Hall, Newcastle Village, Co. Waterford.
Wednesday, 20th July 2016, Golden Community Hall, Golden Village, Co. Tipperary.
Thursday, 21st July 2016, Anner Hotel, Dublin Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Tuesday, 26th July 2016, Cahir House Hotel, The Square Cahir, Co. Tipperary.
Wednesday, 27th July 2016, Fethard Community Hall, Fethard, Co. Tipperary.
Thursday, 28th July 2016, Kildalton College, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny.

Dr Fran Igoe, Regional Co-ordinator, who has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in river based projects and his colleagues, together with a representative from Tipperary County Council, will be on hand to help develop a shared vision and provide practical advice based on past experiences.

On the River Suir the existing built heritage, historic weirs, navigation tow-paths, angling pools and boating traditions will illustrate just how important the river Suir has been over the centuries. Today, this importance continues in the form of Angling, Tourism, Kayaking and many other recreational pursuits. The importance of a plentiful supply of clean water is self-explanatory whether it is for drinking, provisioning for livestock or for bathing.

It is well known that the River Suir holds the Irish record for a salmon caught on ‘rod and line’ weighing in at a massive 57 lbs. More over this river remains an internationally important Brown Trout fishery and is recognized internationally for its habitats supporting a large range of rare mammals, fish, birds and invertebrates.

The evening meetings have been organised to compliment the Office of Public Works (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) public consultation days, which are being held to get the public’s view on potential flood management options being considered for areas at risk of flooding.

The ‘Waters and Communities River Suir’ meetings will be held immediately after the OPW Public Consultation meetings, with the aim of exploring how we see the river in our local area; what we want from it, and how we might best manage it in the best interests of the common good.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, “The Lorax”.

Need more information?  Click HERE.


Govt To Freeze Bin Charges


Waste Operators showing Telephone No’s and E-mail Addresses who offer services in Co. Tipperary.

Various reports today claim that new rules, recently introduced by former Tipperary Labour Minister Alan Kelly, on new bin charge legislation are set to be frozen, as the present Government investigate massive price hikes in the industry and as yet unsubstantiated claims of companies operating cartels, (Cartel – An association of  suppliers coming together with their sole purpose to maintain prices at a high level, thus restricting competition).

Claims made today appear to confirm that  the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Mr Simon Coveney is all set to freeze the charges in his bid to give his department yet more time to further examine these earlier allegations.

Mr  Coveney met with Waste Management companies in Athlone on Friday last, to further discuss plans to implement pay by weight charges, which were set to come into effect from July 1st 2016 next.

Meanwhile the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is also set to examine this pricing controversy after numerous consumers complained they had received notifications indicating massive price hikes of between 200% and 300% introduced as a result of these new regulations.

With just 12 days to go; as yet no notifications have been received from some 10 registered waste collection agencies, operating within Thurles and Co. Tipperary, as to any new or future pricing regulations. One suspects that these agencies were hoping that if details were left too late then everybody would simply accept the inevitable and lie down; as is a previous attitude, thankfully changing here in Ireland.

Already we are aware of people using public litter bins in our town’s streets, daily, to dispose of their basic household waste. Soon, if this system is not satisfactorily regulated, forgotten rural areas will experience a new kind of tourism; as visitors arrive to dump waste product in our lanes and hedgerows.

With regard to these newly introduced pay-by-weight bin charges and customers using waste and recycling service; one must ask the following questions?
(1) Do we weigh the waste product ourselves, agreeing scales readings prior to collection?
(2) Do we wait patiently beside our waste bins for our chosen collection service to call, before agreeing and signing for the actual weight being charged?
(3) Do we simply accept the weight recorded by our collection service agency as being gospel truth?
(4) Will invoices detailing actual waste weight be pushed through our letter boxes on each collection date?

Minister Coveney is understood to be meeting with waste companies again early next week and one hopes that the proposed system and the various service agencies will be forced to become more transparent in their dealings.