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200-300 Further Post Offices In Danger Of Closure

The Fine Gael general election hopeful for Tipperary, Mrs Mary Newman Julian, who with others, has cast serious doubts over the An Post’s agreement with Thurles Shopping Centre, may now wish to “hold her whisht a minute”, regarding this same semi-state body.

The Irish Postmasters Union, speaking ahead of their annual conference in Portlaoise yesterday, warned that between 200 and 300 currently operating post offices could be forced to close over the next 18 months, unless they are granted access to named government services, by our current Fine Gael led government.

The Irish Postmasters Union state that while An Post have introduced a range of new services like credit cards and loans etc., a deal agreed with the present Fine Gael led government last year, to provide for the introduction of services, (e.g. car tax, drivers’ licenses and Leap cards etc); same, though agreed, has not as yet materialised and no progress to date has been made. IPU General Secretary Mr Ned O’Hara now believes this same issue could further lead to hundreds of post offices having to shut up shop.

An Post further has advised that their newly acquired Thurles office in Thurles Shopping Centre, will be in line with the company’s transformation programme, offering a new look retail offering for customers including a move away from the old-style post office counter layout; the inclusion of dedicated customer areas, parcel lockers and self-service options.

While, recently 800 to 1,000 local people and business owners took to the streets of Thurles to protest against this office move by An Post; yesterday’s news from the Irish Postmasters Union does not bode well for the longer-term future of Irish post offices in rural Ireland.

This threatened situation, is further adding to the fact that jobless figures appearing on the Live Register for Tipperary, during April 2019, shows increased unemployment on the previous month’s returns, March 2019, across 7 of the 8 Social Welfare offices. Employees earning salaries in the €25 to €30 thousand range; commuting to work from Tipperary; same unable to afford even basic accommodation in Dublin, are now fed up of paying the demanded 20 Euro toll charges; not to mention the 100 Euro per week in fuel costs; not to mention vehicle costs etc., all necessary to maintain and hold down a job, if you reside in rural Ireland.

It appears that under our present Fine Gael led government; here in rural Ireland, gone are the days when, “A part of everything you earn is yours to keep”.


Richard Bruton Launches Fund For Circular Economy Innovators.

€600,000 available under the EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme EPA043339

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. today launched a €600,000 funding opportunity for novel approaches to promote the circular economy, maximise resource efficiency and reduce waste.

It will fund innovators to develop and demonstrate business-ready solutions in the circular economy for consumers and for commercial clients. This funding call is a key part of Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme, which is led by the EPA.

Minister Mr Richard Bruton said; “Transition to a low carbon circular economy will disrupt traditional business models and create new enterprise opportunities. This fund is an excellent opportunity for early movers to seize these opportunities and lead the way. Ireland uses over 100 million tonnes of materials annually, and too much of the waste from this often ends up in landfill or an incinerator after only a short period of use. This funding initiative provides a bridge to commercial, transferable and scalable solutions that will deliver a circular and low carbon economy in Ireland.”

Applications are invited in areas of national importance such as Food Waste Prevention; Construction & Demolition and Plastics. These are key priorities nationally which require innovative thinking and solutions and are also priorities of the EU’s Circular Economy Package.

Ms Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said; “The EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme supports behavioural change and sustainable choices through targeted funding programmes and sharing best practices. Inefficient consumption and missed opportunities for reuse & recycling leads to more waste and higher greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA is pleased to support smart management of materials to keep them in use longer which reduces demand for raw materials and protects the environment. This is the win-win opportunity presented by the circular economy.”

The National Waste Prevention Programme offers opportunities for innovation funding, networking and partnering. The EPA is planning new strategic programmes with high visibility and influence and is keen to work with other organisations, public bodies and networks in the areas of industry & enterprise, product design and research & innovation.

Further information on the National Waste Prevention Programme and the funding call – Green Enterprise – Innovation for a Circular Economy is available on the EPA website.


Suitable Doorstep Discourse For Campaigning Thurles Councillors

“A country which prefers guns to flowers will live the beauty of the flowers only in its graveyards!” – Quote by Turkish author Mehmet Murat ildan.

Tipperary County Council under the leadership of Mr Joe MacGrath (Chief Executive), through its Community and Economic Development Section, maintain they continually strive to provide a place where its people can enjoy a ‘great quality of life’, ‘Fairness’, ‘Co-Operation’, ‘Communication’, ‘Teamwork’, ‘Partnership’ and ‘Collaboration’.

Health & Safety Ignored

But, when the local residents sought a little financial funding to improve a set of steps leading up into the Moyne Road / Bellevue Housing Estate on a long established ‘right of way’, District Director Mr Matt Shortt (Director of Services, Director of Roads, Transportation and Health and Safety, for the Templemore / Thurles Municipal Council.) had other notions and made a decision to block all future access via this right of way, proving, not for the first time, that ‘verbal agreements are not worth the paper they are written on‘.

Fearful for pedestrians rushing out onto the nearby roadway, Mr Shortt sanctioned the building of a wall across the residents right of way, ignoring the fact that briar’s and uncontrolled, hanging, ivy (see Video) currently remain, forcing pedestrians unto a nearby stretch of road with no footpath. So much for Health & Safety.

Fifty-Eight Years Crying Out For A Coat Of Paint.

The costs of a double grave site in St. Patrick’s cemetery, together with the opening of a grave, especially on weekends, and later the granting of a ‘planning permit’ to erect your headstone (latter permit currently costing €90.00), sees little change out of €2,000.00, when loved one’s finish tidying their grave site.

Most especially in Spring, Summer and Autumn, you will find more footfall in St. Patrick’s cemetery of an evening, than in Liberty Square, Thurles. Grave sites are meticulously maintained by family and friends, through the introduction of floral arrangements, shrubs and planted containers.

So, the very least one would expect to see, is a can of paint being splashed about on entry gates and on existing seating, courtesy of Tipperary Co. Council, to justify their annual revenues collected. Here again is ample evidence of money wasting by Tipperary County Council. Several thousand Euro in payments for new gates will now have to be found, purely because rusty iron work has not been painted since 1961, well over half a century ago (58 Years).

Of course, this will result in grave prices increasing in the future and as usual in their annual accounts a JCB will be claimed in full, showing financial losses of €120,000. Note, Tipperary County Council’s digger works daily everywhere in the Templemore / Thurles Municipal District and is not any more solely for use in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, or indeed was it ever.

This also begs the question; how can they use a digger in the centre of the graveyard? Most grave kerbs are less than 5cm (2ins – See Video) apart, with no access to transport any digger between the gravestones.

Note also, the last person to sweep outside of St. Patrick’s Cemetery gates, in the last 58 years, was the wind.

Currently, weather is eroding earthen banks unto walkways. Wreaths from graves are being dumped in the open, as are the mounds of loose earth, rocks and abandoned path edging kerb stones.

Here is where we should be planting vast swathes of wild flowers, on vast vacant land, instead of wasting money in weekly grass cutting.

It remains a source of great wonder, that politicians and elected councillors, all who have attended funerals in St Patrick’s Cemetery, over the past 40 years; have failed to notice this unforgivable neglect by Tipperary environmental officialdom, turning our graveyard into a place for the disposal of waste; turning it into no better than a common dump.


An Post & The Dead Horse Theory

So, it’s a certainty; An Post is moving to the shopping centre for definite; that’s despite the intervention from the most powerful in our community; namely the politicians, local councillors, those who would like to be local councillors and politicians and a disorientated, dying, Chamber of Commerce, all intent on riding a dead horse.

Together, however, they did have some success; mainly driving home a wedge; dividing Thurles town into two sections, instead of working to improve Liberty Square and Thurles Town as a single unit.

One wonders if the current 127 workers plus business proprietors / owners in the Thurles Shopping Centre, will now be rushing out to an upcoming local election, to vote for party’s like Fianna Fáil or the ‘Party of Protest’ (The Bully Party) and certain Independent representatives, all who attempted to directly affect very limited, local, yet available employment.

The Dead Horse Theory

The efforts undertaken by the “Save Our Square” [S.O.S.] committee had all the hallmarks of the “Dead Horse Theory”, so often attempted by Government TD’s and Local Councillors. Indeed, the tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, which has been passed down from generation to generation, clearly states, “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse the best strategy is to immediately dismount”.

Ignoring the fact that Tipperary County Council, of which many of the S.O.S. committee are card carriers; same are solely responsible for the decline of Thurles town centre and other towns in Co. Tipperary, through the introduction of Parking Charges. Again, ignoring this logical, simple fact the “Save Our Square” committee choose to attempt a new strategy in their dealings with An Post, the now dead horse:-

(1) They bought a stronger whip. (2) Changed Riders. (3) Threatened the dead horse with termination. (4) Appointed a committee to study the horse. (5) Discussed the feasibility of sending councillors to foreign countries to see how other riders rode their dead horses. (6) Provided further additional funding to improve the dead horse’s performance through the introduction of a dodgy “Dead Horse acquisition and refurbishment fund”.

Now, with election votes dangerously reduced, this dead horse is most likely to be promoted to a supervisory post, enabling it to hire a replacement horse.

The solution to the Thurles town centre decline, which will correct this imbalance, is simple; call a halt to the payment of parking charges, before yet more businesses are forced out of our town centre.

Tipperary Co. Council built six social houses at Cabragh, Thurles, at a cost of some €370 thousand Euro each. We saw recently the Peter McVerry Trust acquiring 25 social houses for €5million through a generous donation made by the Dublin Capuchin Day Centre. Do your arithmetic folks; €5 million divided by 25 = €2 hundred thousand Euro. These units were purchased in Dublin and Kildare (the most expensive accommodation areas in Ireland). It is my opinion that Tipperary Co. Council are simply burning taxpayer’s money and frankly do not need parking charges to fund local government.

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”St. Mark Chapter 4. Verse 9.

More advice for ailing Local Councillors and Politicians in our next news bulletin.


New 40 Bed Unit For South Tipp. Gen. Hospital On Schedule.

Independent TD Deputy Michael Lowry in a statement today confirmed that there is no justification or need for hyped up exaggerated concerns regarding the opening of the new 40 Bed Modular Unit for South Tipperary General Hospital [S.T.G.H].

Ground works at S.T.G.H., showing the positioning of the new, welcome 40 Bed Modular Unit; as it looked back in early February of this year.

Mr Lowry stated, “I am pleased to confirm that work on the new 40 Bed Modular Unit at S.T.G.H. is running to schedule.

The new building is now fully erected on site. The works are ongoing. The contractors require another 14 weeks to install floors, fixtures, fittings and ancillary works; including the completion of forecourt paving and landscaping around the building. Internally each room has to be partitioned and fitted with a toilet, basin and shower. Heating and lighting has also to be fixed.”

We understand this two storey building which will have 40 ensuite single rooms will be ready for handover to the HSE in August. In the meantime, the capital funds, already allocated, will be used to source and purchase the equipment and medical devices to service this new unit.

Deputy Lowry continued, “Last Friday I walked through the new building. It is really very impressive. I am delighted with progress. It is a new concept, the first of its kind in Ireland. On my visit to the site on Friday, I met with the Chief Executive of the H.S.E. South/South East and with the Hospital Manager. Both are totally committed and eagerly anticipating the opening of this exceptional new facility.

The H.S.E. has also confirmed to me and the Hospital Manager that the necessary funds to staff and open the Unit, are available.

The Director of Human Resources, with the approval of the H.S.E. has already commenced a campaign at home and abroad for additional personnel. Interviews for some employment positions have already been held and panels now established. The New Unit will be open and available to patients towards the end of this year.

This fantastic, state of the art facility is well on the way to delivery. I am determined to see it through to conclusion”, Deputy Lowry concluded.