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Are You Entitled To School Clothing & Footwear Allowance?

Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection.

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) helps those on low incomes to meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children returning to school.

The Allowance Scheme for 2018 is presently open, with the closing date for application set at September 30th, 2018.

BSCFA is paid to many residents of the State automatically by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, meaning that for some lower income families, they do not have to make an application for such payment.

To avail, of BSCFA, parents or guardians must be getting certain social welfare payments or taking part in training, employment or adult education schemes. Their siblings must be aged between 4 and 17 years of age, on or before September 30th, of the year for which you apply (2018). If still in second-level education, siblings must be aged between 18 and 22 years of age on or before the same date.

For those who qualify automatically, they should have received their payment at the weekend just gone. (Ending Friday July 13th 2018)

Those who feel they have an entitlement and have, as yet, received no payment; they will need to apply to the Department if you have not to date received a payment notification letter in 2018.

Note: First time applicants will need to complete an application form.

For more Information do visit the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection website, latter found HERE.

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Thurles – Definition Of Urban Decay

It ceases to amaze me how businesses are expected to trade successfully and still continue to pay their Rates, when surrounded by ruinous, neglected and unsightly derelict structures, as is the case in fact, in the areas of Westgate, Wolfe Tone Place, Friar Street and Croke Street, Thurles.

Tipperary County Council, to be fair and in order to improve the street-scape and public demesne of Thurles, and indeed any other town in the county, offered generous supports in recent years, to property owners to improve and enhance properties and public areas. They widely advertised this year, offering; if applied for before June 1st, 2018, up to 50% of the approved cost of any works undertaken, subject to a maximum of €500.00.

Many availed of this grant, but many sadly did not grab a paint brush.

Definition Of Dereliction
(A) Structures / buildings which are accepted as being in a ruinous, derelict or dangerous condition.
(B) Neglected, unsightly or objectionable sites/ land which may or may not contain a structure thereon.
(C) Sites with a presence of unsightly litter, rubbish, debris or other waste deposits or collection.

Under the Derelict Sites Act 1990, Tipperary Local Authority can serve an order on any building requiring its owner to undertake the necessary work to refurbish or to demolish, especially if it is determined to be a safety issue. In the event of non-compliance with the Local Authority, an annual levy of 3% of the estimated market value of the property can be levied against the owner of the property; latter owner quickly identified through a Land Registry Folio.

The Local Authority must, however, first write to the identified owner informing them of their intention to place the identified property on their Derelict Sites Register; together with a report stating the necessary upgrading needed to raise the offending building/ land to a required standard; thus forcing owners to clean up their vacant sites/ buildings and/or dangerous structures.

Derelict Sites Register
Each Local Authority must keep a register of all derelict sites in their area, with same containing the location of every derelict site; the name; the address, together with full details of any/all action taken by the Local Authority regarding the identified property. If property is owned or occupied by a Local Authority itself, the register must contain details of what the local authority intend to do with the property. The register must give details of the current market value of every site listed. Owner do have the right to appeal the valuation to the Valuation Tribunal within 28 days of receiving the notice.
A Derelict Sites Register must be made available for public inspection.

Compulsory Purchase
Local Authority can recover the cost of essential work deemed necessary on any derelict site from its owner. The local authority can buy the derelict site, either by owner agreement or by compulsory purchase. Any proposed compulsory purchase must be advertised in the local newspaper and a notice sent to the owner or occupier of the land. In the case of an objection, the Local authority cannot buy the land without the consent of An Bord Pleanála.

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Thurles – Accidents Just Waiting To Grant Compensation

To be fair Templemore/Thurles Municipal District Councillors are great for ‘Calling’ for things, especially on local radio; and more especially when health and safety issues are at stake, like hedge cutting etc. However Ratepayers and those paying Property Tax in Thurles should note that their subscriptions to both worthy causes are in danger of greatly increasing, with town Councillors continuing to ignore accidents just waiting to happen.

What with dangerous footpaths and giant potholes evident everywhere, no one is looking skyward, especially while in the vicinity of Slievenamon Road, Thurles, just outside Hugh Ryan’s Funeral Home. [Note: Careful gawking if you are driving please.]

For some weeks the guts of a public street light has been precariously dangling some 30ft above the pavement/road. With even a slight breeze there is a real danger that wires attached will break off, resulting in a pedestrians head being split open or a passing car being seriously damaged.

We have contacted Thurles Gardaí and Tipp County Council (Tel: 0761 06 5000). Despite giving the Council an accurate address, they were anxious that we supply them with a ‘Pole Number’. (God Help Us, but sackings are necessary.)

What Do You Think: Maybe before the Schools reopen?
Meanwhile, Thurles.Info, some months ago, highlighted the dangers at the the Cathedral Street pedestrian level crossing, but again no mention at Council meetings.

Quote from our report dated February 1st 2018,, “One hundred and twenty yards away, in August 2017 last, a high sided truck made the careless decision to adjust the automated pedestrian crossing lights outside of Thurles Cathedral. The bulbs on this crossing used to feed motorised traffic information have been changed on two occasions since, yet the pedestrian information lights have not been realigned, leaving pedestrians unable to view the crossings signals, causing unnecessary delay to motorists. This is a busy crossing used by over 600 school children twice daily to get to and from rural school buses, not to mention the several hundred church pilgrims and local shoppers out walking each day.”

Guys you have got to write these things down with the butt of your pencil, or better still, go on local radio and highlight the issue.

UPDATE: Thurles.Info is happy to relate that as and from 5.00pm this evening an ESB technician has rectified the danger to pedestrians on the Slievenamon Road, Thurles, just outside Hugh Ryan’s Funeral Home.

Begorra,  (Latter an exclamation of surprise traditionally attributed to the Irish), I think I might run for the local Council at the next local elections. I might try to get on Tipp FM to-morrow and announce my candidacy, or sure maybe I could run for President and if unsuccessful, work my way down.

Of course the one year old problem of the Cathedral Street pedestrian crossing and the danger to school students hasn’t been fixed yet, but I am ‘Calling’  on Tipperary County Council to be proactive in fixing this also, especially while screwdrivers are still out of the toolbox.

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Neglect Of Thurles – Immoral & Malicious Without Motive

A fourth assessment examining the administration failures in Thurles by Templemore / Thurles Municipal District and Tipperary County Council.

First Click on Link (A) http://www.thurles.info/2018/07/02/polution-of-river-suir-continues/

Second Click on Link (B)  http://www.thurles.info/2018/07/09/st-patricks-cemetery-gates-reflect-an-image-of-thurles/

Third Click on Link (C) http://www.thurles.info/2018/07/10/thurles-administration-their-fitness-to-practise-in-question/

Back on August 27th, 2017, we asked a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, “Does the Thurles Town closed-circuit television (CCTV) , latter used in public area surveillance, actually work?”

The question was then raised because of malicious damage caused within the Thurles town centre, during that period and prior to that date which had gone undetected.

News of CCTV being introduced into our towns public areas had been initially welcomed back in December 2012. This new public area surveillance system was costed as being in the region of one hundred thousand euro (€100,000), with 70% of the cost to be covered by “Pobal”. (Pobal: a not-for-profit company managing programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the EU; supporting communities and local agencies in their efforts to achieve social inclusion, reconciliation and equality.) A further 20% of the cost was provided by Thurles Town Council, while the final 10% was aided by local business through Thurles Chamber of Commerce.

Back then we were informed that the entire system would be designed, installed and maintained by three Tipperary companies named as:- Hall Alarms based in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary; Future Security in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary and Amarach Technologies, latter also based in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.

Hall Alarms was awarded the tender to install the Thurles town centre CCTV system.

Relevant Legislative Pertaining to the Introduction of CCTV.
Section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 requires the Garda Commissioner to authorise the installation and operation of CCTV in public places for security and public safety reasons. Section 38(3) describes three categories of persons who may be authorised by the Garda Commissioner to install and operate CCTV systems in public places – (a) members of An Garda Síochána; (b) person s retained under contract by An Garda Síochána; and (c) “persons who meet established criteria and whose application for authorisation in respect of a specified area within the administrative area of a local authority who has been approved by the local authority after consulting with the joint policing committee for that administrative area”.

This is the fundamental legal basis for CCTV in the Thurles community

In November 2015 we were informed that the local authority was required to assume responsibility for the management and operation of the CCTV system in compliance with Data Protection legislation, [See pdf page 3].

Three years on, we now understand that this CCTV system has not properly functioned since early 2017, and while just some of the cameras continue to work today, the actual recording equipment has fully ceased in its capacity to function.

In June 2017 we became aware that the server for this CCTV was not operating and remained at the old Council offices, at Slievenamon Road, following the move by staff and officials to their new offices in Mathew Avenue.

In the words of William Shakespeare, “Ah, there’s the rub!”.  Were Gardaí to seek Co. Council management’s permission to view this now presently non-existent recorded footage, we learn that the council’s access operator / administrator, is presently not available due to sick leave issues.

Yet, back in October 2017 we were informed that discussions were ongoing with Gardaí with regard to CCTV in Thurles and that cameras would be installed at Thurles Town Park , which would have covered the Skateboard Park shown in video above, [See pdf page 7 and page 8]. In that same month it was known that the system was not functioning properly.

Today Gardaí would have to be actually sitting in front of a screen watching a crime, in order to make an arrest, however without CCTV recorded footage, the possibility of obtaining a prosecution would be “slim and none.”

Thurles Skateboard Park
From the video above we glean that the two-year-old Skateboard Park is now unsightly, with graffiti everywhere in abundance. In fact, the area rarely sees an actual skateboard. Instead, in the late evenings, youths are using the previous days uncollected supermarket trolleys to create their fun on the skateboard ramps.

‘The Source’ Car Park
Next door in the car park situated under the newly built Source Arts Centre & Library, (Again see Video) youths gather in small groups.  This €10 million Thurles Regional Arts Centre; Branch Library; a 250 seat Theatre boasting a large, shared, exhibition space, and Restaurant; situated in Cathedral Street, first opened in the late summer of 2006, (less than 12 years ago), bringing a contemporary urban design to the medieval fabric of our town.  This accessible, non-CCTV monitored building with its dirty neglected wooden façade, has become the target of idle hands. Insulation positioned on the low ceilings within this car park area is slowly being ripped apart over the entire vast area, with the bodies of parked and vacant vehicles often used as scaffolding, and for this same reason.

Street Landscapes.
Street furniture and other items existing on our thoroughfares are the constant target of graffiti vandals. One Latvian man currently living in Thurles has been arrested by Gardaí and indeed has pleaded guilty to some 18 charged of criminal damage and having in his possession a number of markers, with intent and without lawful excuse, to further damage property at unknown locations, but this arrested man is not acting alone and without our inactive €100,000 CCTV system’s recordings, well…………

It will be interesting to read the 2018 Tidy Towns Report this year, that is if we have applied to be judged at all.  Last year they gave us, most certainly out of an act of kindness, a mark of 293, out of a maximum of 450 marks.  You can read their report for 2017, by clicking HERE.

This Thurles community are not blaming Councillors and Municipal District Management for acts of vandalism and criminal damage through graffiti; [We raised the growing matter of graffiti in August 2011, October 2012, September 2017],  however, Councillors and Municipal District Management must accept fully, responsibility for their gross failure in delivering and dispensing even the simplest modicum of rudimentary administration.

A voice crying in the wilderness!
Right now the Thurles.Info website remain, to use the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice that crieth in the wilderness” with regard to the neglect of Thurles.  Surely there must be some other strong voices who are saddened by the fact that the major assets of this once prosperous town are being squandered and wastefully discarded, by those whose wages we pay.

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Thurles Administration – Their Fitness To Practise In Question

“If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.” [From a quote attributed to Plato (Greek philosopher).]

A third assessment examining the administration failures in Thurles by Templemore / Thurles Municipal District and Tipperary County Council.

First See Link (A) http://www.thurles.info/2018/07/02/polution-of-river-suir-continues/
Secondly See Link (B)  http://www.thurles.info/2018/07/09/st-patricks-cemetery-gates-reflect-an-image-of-thurles/

“A Question Of Fitness To Practise”
The entrance into any town in Ireland will quickly relay to the average visitor, information not just on the towns prosperity, but more importantly will indicate that this locality is a great place to live; a place to find work, with quality educational facilities; a place to visit and holiday in safety.  All of these signals observed will automatically relay to any visitor the existence of a thriving commercial and business centre.

Current signs displayed on entrance roads leading into Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Spot the 10 year old neglect.

So, let us examine 4 signs currently on view today to visitors entering Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on July 10th 2018.

Picture (1): Welcome To Thurles – Home of Erin Foods
This “Welcome To Thurles – Home of Erin Foods” sign still greets all Tipperary TD’s; Co. Council Elected Representatives and Tipperary Co Council Management as they enter our town.
The Thurles Erin Foods factory closed over 10 years ago, back in June 2008, after 46 years in production; with the loss of 140 jobs. It would have closed earlier were it not for an existing contract that Erin Foods held with the company ‘Batchelors‘ to supply goods and stock for some eight months after the initial purchase. The range of products that was then manufactured in Thurles are, now for the most part I understand, manufactured in British.

No replacement industry was ever found or put in place here in Thurles.

Picture (2): www.thurles.ie
This current sign which remains on view for the website ‘www.thurles.ie’ tells a further tale of the neglect of the town.  Someone in the Templemore/Thurles Municipal District or in Tipperary Co. Council, forgot to pay the annual €9 charge for the host name ‘Thurles.ie’. Same financial reminder would have been sent to the responsible body at least one month in advance and for several weeks after the failure to make payment.

On the March 21st 2017 the unpaid host name was again offered for sale and purchased by a Swedish casino site, Mardukas Technologies Limited, latter who then cybersquatted on the host name informing Thurles visitors that they would “Vi guidar dig till de bästa casinobonusarna” which translated means, “We will guide you to the best casino bonuses.”

Tipperary Co. Council have now regained control of the host name, since the 8th August 2017, but almost one year on in 2018, nothing has been done to put same back on line. We are not aware of how much of tax payer’s money, was wasted in any repurchase arrangements with Mardukas Technologies Limited. We are aware however that the site, together with the build and administration, originally exceeded well over €10,000.

Picture (3): Disc Parking In Operation – (“Buy discs where you see the sign P”)
Today this sign also greets visitors, however if you go looking for to buy Parking Discs where you see the sign P, expect to find details of a hefty fine stuffed behind your front windscreen wiper, when you return.

Disk Parking was introduced here in Thurles some 10 years ago. Certainly, Disc parking was in vogue in 2009, while pay-and-display parking was later introduced possibly in 2010. The Road Traffic Act of 1994: gave local authorities the power to make bye-laws governing the type of paid parking controls to be introduced in their areas. These bye-laws included, disc parking or pay-and-display parking.

Today we operate eParking, a new and improved “Park by Phone” system, introduced across Tipperary including Thurles town. The new car park here in Thurles for example is being funded using tax payer’s money.  Same will then be the subject of eParking or Pay-and-Display parking metres, to be imposed on these same tax payers who paid for its very introduction and development. One wonders who will feature in the picture as the blue ribbon is cut?.

Picture (4): North Tipperary Co. Council – “Working with the Community”.
The biggest joke and final insult to Thurles people, however must be the remaining sign shown as Picture No.4 above.

The website shown here on this sign is www.north tipperary.ie to which Google asks “Did you mean: http://www.southtipperary.ie”, latter in turn which does not exist either and suggests the Homepage of South Tipperary Dementia Project. No HTTP 301 permanent redirect code was inserted here by Tipperary Co Co Web Designers and Administrators.

Gone also is “AERTEL page 622″, with the new RTE Aertel desktop completely revamped several years ago, and without page 622.

As for a commitment to “Working with the Community”, for God’s sake give us a break. Right from the very top level of management, we need sackings here, to ensure that this situation of sheer neglect is no longer allowed to continue; after all we pay the wages.

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