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Fine Gael Minister Phil Hogan Ain’t No Plumber


“You are going to be down to a trickle,” promises Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan.

One question being asked in Thurles this evening; “Is Phil Hogan the second Fine Gael Minister to breach Irish Data Protection this week?”  This question has come about following his indiscreet announcement yesterday, which exposed in advance, intimate details regarding the cost of water charges, to this countries rain-soaked and miserable water sodden taxpayers.

Same final details were agreed only officially at lunchtime today, despite same being ‘leaked’ (no pun intended) in advance by Phil who was adamant that his colleagues in Labour had a major part to play in its introduction. It had been three weeks since a Cabinet meeting had supposedly ended in disarray, with no deal what-so-ever on the shape of the water charges to be implemented, being agreed. But then maybe our Phil was just ‘testing the water,’ (again no pun intended).

Water Charge Tax for adult family of 7 people to exceed €700 annually or about €13.50 per week regardless of who is in paid employment.

Anyway, as Phil told us yesterday, it is now agreed by Fine Gael and Labour today that the threatened ‘Standing Water Charges’ are being abolished, the average bill will remain at around €240 a year and every household is getting a free allowance linked to the number of children under 18 living in each household. This latter allowance will help to make up for the cuts made by Labour in recent budgets affecting Children’s Allowances. (With 7 adults residing in my house at weekends – mainly home to get their laundry washed – all paying water charges in their own right – should I now charge them a two-day admission charge at the door, prior to entry?)

This thoughtful government outfit has also been more than generous with regard to the disabled, the pensioners, those suffering certain medical card conditions and carers who will all get an extra free allowance on top of this charge, roughly valued at €100 a year, to be assembled from the social welfare budget which they also cut in recent budgets – this gift further proof (as if it was needed) that this country is now in full-scale recovery mode.

This Fine Gael and Labour government will also give a free gift of 30,000 litres of water per household per year, in the knowledge that the average household in Ireland use 140,000 litres of water a year, based on 2.7 people living in a house.

As my headline above suggests, our Phil is no plumber. He suggests, in his usual affable way, that those who refuse to pay water charges will see their water pressure turned down to a trickle, so I’m off to my builders providers tomorrow to get a couple of extra storage tanks for the roof. Sure at night the water pressure is bound to increase due to lack of usage, filling my extra tanks without Phil’s knowledge and allowing me to waste as much water as possible the following day.

One wonders now, with only a trickle of water coming through our household water system, will we need extra Home Insurance for our electric showers or will this Fine Gael and Labour government compensate us when our electric shower element burn out?

Then again here is a perfect opportunity to create local employment. Fill up all those nice neat round holes, designed for water metres, with a shovel of ready-mix concrete; sure someone will have to dig them out again with a Kango hammer. OK, don’t all yell, it was just a thought solely in the interests of reducing unemployment and getting this country back on its feet again.

Good Lord, as a law-abiding citizen myself, far be it from me to go encouraging anyone to break Irish law, particularly causing hurt to one of the largest money wasting quangos (Irish Water) ever set up in this country, I hope you understand.

I wonder who will get my vote in the Local & European election on May 23rd next.

Tipperary’s Kilcooley Estate Owner Identified

KilcooleylThe historic Kilcooley Estate, near  Gortnahoe, Thurles, Co Tipperary, on the Tipperary/Kilkenny border which had previously been sold in 2008 by the Ponsonby family to the McCann family company of ‘Castleway International,’ for a reported €6 million, has once again found a new owner.

A 62 year old Newry multi-millionaire businessman and energy exploration entrepreneur of some 40 years, Mr Tommy (Tom) O’Gorman, who has global oil and gas interests, as well as being involved with Blarney Golf Resort, Cove Energy, Fastnet Oil and Gas, confirmed yesterday that he was now the new title holder.

Mr O’Gorman purchased the estate in late 2013 via Mr Marcus Magneir of Colliers for a reported €2.1m. The estate, including an important 18th century mansion, was offered for sale, via NAMA, by Colliers in 2013 and then included 1,200 acres with 950 acres leased to the Irish state-sponsored company ‘Coillte,’ mature woodland, 220 acres leased to local farmers, together with five estate staff houses, extensive courtyard buildings, a lake, boathouse and a Chapel and old Cistercian Abbey, latter which is a popular tourist attraction and continues to hold religious services.

Mr O’Gorman has also purchased, for a reported €1.5m, the freehold on the aforementioned 950 acres of forestry leased to Coillte, for which he states he has already had approaches from timber producers to purchase much of the associated forestry. Land leased to Coillte had a legal stipulation that it be returned to a proper agricultural state when the 150 year lease expired sometime in the 2080’s.

This lease is now ended after Mr O’Gorman’s €1.5m deal with Coillte and he believes the value of the land and forestry has now greatly multiplied in value, rising possibly to as much as €10 million, following his €3.6 million overall investment.

It is understood that when approached, the Irish State had declined to buy the Kilcooley estate in the early 2000’s, which today remains a national monument of great interest and which was home to the Ponsonby family since c. 1770.

Tipperary Water Charges Unconfirmed

waterAn Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed today that his cabinet has failed to sign off on plans for water charges, at its meeting held earlier this morning.

Speaking today during Leader’s Questions, the Taoiseach appeared to confirm that households would pay at least €240.00 on average per year for the next two years. However he also confirmed that the Government had not signed off on agreed figures.

Mr Kenny also admitted that this new charge would be difficult for households to accept, but stressed that the need for a new entity that can provide new water infrastructure was imperative, with up to 40% of the water in Dublin city currently leaking into the ground.

He said that on the advice received from the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, the maximum subvention allowed cannot exceed €537m and this equates to an average bill of €240 per household per year. No information was made available on the implications of water charges for families, specifically in relation to metering and each citizens ability to pay. A free allowance is expected to be available to all households, but the extent of same remains also not yet clear.

Unconfirmed reports state that an added standing charge of less than €50 per annum is also being proposed and it is also understood that households that have not been metered when these water charges come into effect in the autumn, will now be accessed on the basis of the number of persons living in each household.

Homeowners will be charged for using water from October 2014, but will not have to pay until January next year.

Thurles, Templemore & Roscrea Top 100 Poorest Towns

tippIt will come as no surprise to North Tipperary residents that Templemore, Roscrea and Thurles have been named in the top 100 of Ireland’s poorest towns.

Well that is according to a recent published survey undertaken by Teagasc, latter the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, who have studied the effect of the economic downturn on rural Ireland, taking into account emigration and unemployment over recent years.

The downturn has been felt everywhere, but its impact has been far from equal, with Carrick-on-Suir in South Tipperary rated 4th poorest in the country.

This report on the Economic Strength of Rural Towns in Ireland has found that there is a wide variation in how they have been affected by the economic crisis. The report by Teagasc found that there is a significant difference between towns within a particular region and found that the Midlands, South East and West have the highest concentration of the weakest towns, while areas of the South West have the highest concentration of strongest towns.

A government plan to assist rural towns is expected be launched next week and Teagasc Senior Research Officer Dr David Meredith said the solutions to the challenges that these towns now face will have to be tailored to their own specific needs rather than a ‘one size fits all strategy‘ which he believes will not simply work.

This new report was undertaken to support the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas, which is expected to be launched on Monday next and appears to contradict recently published employment figures which showed that 96 people in Thurles had left the live register of unemployed persons, many choosing instead to either emigrate or return to unassisted further education.

Public Meeting On Local Development in North Tipperary

ntlpImportant Community Notice

North Tipperary LEADER Partnership invite you to attend the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh, Co Tipperary on Thursday April 10th, 2014, at 8.00pm sharp.
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss responses to serious changes which will affect community development and the Rural Development Programme (LEADER) in North Tipperary.

What are the issues at stake in Tipperary?
• Proposed Privatisation of Community Services.
• Loss of Social inclusion Services.
• Loss of nearly €3 million funding for additional programmes and investment brought into North Tipperary through other schemes.
• Loss of community involvement in decision making.

NOTE: All are welcome to attend.

For further information, please contact: Tel: 067-56676

Mr Jim Finn, (Chairperson of  North Tipperary LEADER Partnership) reports;

“You may be aware of plans that are being progressed at national level, that will fundamentally change how rural and community development is delivered around Ireland. These changes signify a shift away from delivery by the community and voluntary sector towards statutory agencies and private companies. The implications of the planned changes are serious for all Local Development Companies including North Tipperary LEADER Partnership and the communities which we serve.

We are writing to invite you to a public meeting, the purpose of which is to raise awareness among individuals, community groups and other third sector organisations across North Tipperary of the planned changes in the delivery of the Local and Community Development Programme (social inclusion) and the Rural Development Programme (LEADER). The event will highlight the current role of NTLP and the impact of proposed changes on both communities and individuals. It will outline the implications for local communities and the community and voluntary sector in general of proposals that will likely lead to the privatisation of service delivery in some instances. It is envisaged that beneficiaries of our programmes/services will have an input at the event and that a cross section of goods and services will be displayed.

The Board and Staff of North Tipperary LEADER Partnership would very much appreciate your support and welcome your attendance at a Public Meeting on Thursday April 10th, 2014 at 8.00 pm in the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh.”

These serious proposed changes are being viewed by rural inhabitants as a denigration of rural community democracy and therefore as many people as possible are invited to attend, including those who currently are seeking office in the upcoming local & European elections.

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