A delegation of County Councillors, representing Tipperary, Clare and Mayo, met with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Pascal Donohue, T.D., in Dublin today to express their concerns about the proposed sale of Aer Lingus to IAG.
The meeting was organised by Cllr. John Crowe (FG) (Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council) who was joined in Leinster House by Cllr Michael Fitzgerald (FG) (Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council) and Cllr Damien Ryan (FF) (Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council).
While unable to attend this afternoon’s meeting, the Mayors of Limerick, Galway and Kerry have also backed the message delivered to the Minister, latter which outlined that Elected Members in the West rejected any commitment from IAG that does not “explicitly guarantee” Aer Lingus’ long term commitment to services between Shannon Airport and London Heathrow, as well as transatlantic services.
“At today’s meeting we stressed the necessity of securing a 15-year guarantee from IAG in respect of Shannon’s Heathrow slots and service levels as the 5-year guarantee proposed by IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh does not give sufficient confidence to companies seeking to invest in the region and does not assure the connectivity that is required for the West of Ireland. Furthermore, we asked the Minister to also relay to Cabinet that guarantees should be secured in respect of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic services,” said Cllr. Crowe.
“Shannon Airport is thriving again thanks to the efforts of the new management and board in place at Shannon. The retention of existing and development of new Aer Lingus services is central to future growth at Shannon as well as maintaining existing activity and investment in industry and tourism,” he added.
“Minister Donohoe took our concerns on board and pledged to bring them to Cabinet as it discusses its options going forward in respect of the IAG’s bid,” concluded Cllr. Crowe.
Counties Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary are three counties which, when joined together, make up the ‘Mid-West Region,’ latter which is also known the ‘Shannon Region,’ due to its close proximity and distinctive corridor carved out by the lower River Shannon and its basin.
At a specially convened meeting of Clare County Council this evening, the local authority’s 28 Elected Membership unanimously rejected any commitment from IAG that does not explicitly guarantee Aer Lingus’ long term commitment to services between Shannon Airport and London Heathrow.
This call follows IAG’s statement today that it will keep the Aer Lingus Heathrow slots for Irish routes for at least five years if the company’s proposed takeover is successful.
Clare County Council however, has warned that any guarantee that omits a specific reference to Shannon is “unacceptable” and that the Government should retain its 25.1% shareholding in the airline.
“If IAG chief executive Willie Walsh and his company were truly committed to maintaining and strengthening Aer Lingus then he would already have made clear moves towards appeasing the very real concerns of the people and businesses of the West of Ireland who have contributed to establishing the Shannon-Heathrow route as one of the airline’s flagship services,” said Cllr John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.
Speaking following this evening’s meeting, Cllr. Crowe confirmed the Members of Clare County Council are now calling on the Taoiseach, Minister for Finance and the Government to “unilaterally oppose” the sale of Aer Lingus and retain its 25.1% shareholding.
Members are also requesting that Aer Lingus management increase connectivity and levels of service to Shannon Airport to “ensure balanced regional development and on commercial grounds to grow market share for Aer Lingus.”
Cllr Crowe said he will be formally writing to An Taoiseach to outline the Council’s concerns, as expressed at this evening’s meeting.
“There is a sense of déjà-vu amongst my colleagues that Aer Lingus, under the guise of IAG, could repeat the woeful decision of the airline to remove Shannon’s Heathrow slots in 2007. It didn’t make commercial sense then nor does it now, but it is clear that IAG are unwilling to guarantee these slots in the future hence our unanimous opposition to the sale of the airline,” stated Councillor Crowe.
“Underpinning the significant developments in improving infrastructure and expanding the tourism and business sectors in the West of Ireland in recent years is proper access to this region. The Shannon-Heathrow link is of absolute critical, strategic importance to maintaining existing development in the industry and tourism area and to position the wider region for further growth and investment into the future.”
“The growth of Shannon Airport since separation from the DAA demonstrates the capacity of management at the airport to achieve future growth. It is critical the airport can continue to operate in an environment which facilitates such growth into the future. Any reduction in connectivity consequent to a sale to IAG would have a serious negative impact,” said Councillor Crowe.
The Council of the Year Award 2015 has been won by Tipperary County Council.
Tipperary County Council have deservedly won the ‘Council of the Year’ award at the Local Authority Members Association (LAMA) Community & Council Awards 2015, held in association with IPB Insurance, latter event which took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin last Saturday night, (24th of January 2015).
Pictured above receiving the award on behalf of the overall Tipperary Council Team are M/s Ruth Maher (Project Leader, IT Section, Tipperary Co Co), Cllr John Carroll (Leas Cathaoirleach Tipperary Co Co), Cllr Micheál Anglim (Tipperary Co Co), and Cllr Andy Moloney (Tipperary Co Co), with Mr Ronan Foley (CEO IPB Insurance, Sponsor) and LAMA Chairperson Cllr Mags Murray (Mayor of Fingal Co Co.)
This annual awards event, hosted this year by M/s Miriam O’Callaghan, recognises and celebrates Community and Councils working together and provides a great opportunity to highlight and celebrate the work undertaken within communities, while also rewarding unsung heroes.
This deservedly won award, as expected, was quickly branded in the press and on local radio, by populist negative Tipperary Independent TD Mr Mattie McGrath, as ‘premature’; latter no doubt anxious to associate himself in some degree with this hard won accolade.
Mr McGrath, in his usual negative tirade failed to mention that all the targets set by this new joint Tipperary authority has been achieved; no easy task when attempting to combine North and South Tipperary into one single unit.
While many logistical problems still continue to demand solutions within this latest merger, Tipperary CEO Mr Joe MacGrath and his Council Team must be fully congratulated in their welding together the uncoordinated hallucinations of Mr Phil Hogan, latter the former dictatorial government Minister, whom history and future elections will record as having contributed greatly to the downfall of the present Fine Gael administration.
Meanwhile a Message to Tipperary Independent TD Mr Mattie McGrath.
“Sir, You were one of five apparently powerless elected Tipperary public representatives who attended at the Horse & Jockey in Co Tipperary on Friday April 25th 2014, for the launch of the “Derrynaflan Trail Tourism Project.” Your attendance was observed by all, as a self promotional long ‘weekend away‘ for Tipperary TD’s, latter whom were originally sent by the counties electorate to represent Tipperary in our National Parliament.
As a Co Tipperary elected representative, please now inform your electorate of your success to-date in changing the current non-lending policies of our Dublin based National Museum and Government, with regard to loaning the Derrynaflan Hoard for three months, to Thurles this year.
Latter Derrynaflan Hoard was taken, without permission or right of ownership, from its rightful home (Co Tipperary), and is now used to attract overseas visitors to Dublin’s already flourishing economy, at the expense of the county you claim to lovingly represent.”
I wonder what day will Vincent Browne be arriving in Thurles for his ‘People’s Debate’ ?
Still today, with the weather so cold, it seems we can relax according to one contributor on Facebook who posted; “Its so cold outside I saw a politician with his hands in his own pockets.”
I wonder was he wearing his own coat?
Tipperary’s Canon Stephen Neill with US President Barack Obama.
Church of Ireland Rector, Canon Stephen Neill, the man who confirmed US President Barack Obama’s ancestral roots with Moneygall, has decided to pull up and relocate his own roots.
The 45 year old has announced he is leaving his Cloughjordan and the Borrisokane Group of parishes to become Rector of Celbridge and Straffan with Newcastle–Lyons. His Service of Institution as Incumbent of the latter parishes will take place on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 next at 8.00pm in Christ Church, Celbridge, Co Kildare.
Canon Neill has ministered to Cloughjordan residents for the past seventeen years and as part of his move, he now relinquishes his Church of Ireland “Canon” status; laughingly admitting “I will be getting €50 less a month in salary, so I’m not going for the money.”
In explaining his desire to uproot, Canon Neill explains that he now seeks new challenges and fears becoming “too comfortable,” latter which has caused “an itch that needs to be scratched.”
Canon Neill admits that leaving the Cloughjordan and Borrisokane Group of parishes won’t be easy for himself, or for his wife Nicola and their teenage son Aaron. He feels a sense of guilt and regret walking away, after such a long time, having secured strong bonds of proven loyalty and tested friendships with those within his community; all of whom have stood together with him, through thick and thin.
The Dublin born Canon, who is also Precentor of the joint chapter of St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick and St Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe, made headlines around the world after his research led to the confirmation that US President Barack Obama’s great-great-grandfather Joseph Kearney had been baptised in the parish of Moneygall. Indeed his personal contribution, within the wider midland regions of Ireland to encourage tourism alone, have far surpassed Fáilte Ireland’s derisory attempts at marketing and highlighting this area.
Canon Neill himself is a very keen reader, blogger and writer, contributing opinion pieces on his website and on local and national newspapers. Previously Curate Assistant in Monkstown, Dublin and in Limerick City Parish, he is a committed ecumenist, believing that the future of our Churches is in gaining closer bonds between all Christians of all traditions, while at the same time discovering where God is at work outside the walls of churches.
Rev Ruth Gill, latter who is already familiar with the Cloughjordan & Borrisokane Group of parishes will now serve as interim Priest-In-Charge for the time being.
In a recent Blog Canon Neill wrote:-
“As I write these notes I am conscious that there is still an occasion to come when I will have a chance to say a formal farewell to you my friends in this group of parishes. But for those of you who may not be able to be present may I thank you on behalf of myself, Nicola & Aaron, for the warmth and generosity you have shown us since our arrival in August 1998. It has been a privilege to be your rector and fellow companion on the journey of life. We will always consider this place very special and it is you the parishioners who have made our time here a happy one. We leave with good memories and not a little sadness. May God bless each and every one of you as you have blessed us.”
Moneygall Development Association made a presentation last Monday night in Ollie’s Bar to acknowledge Canon Neill’s contribution to their community; described him as being selfless and having strengthened bonds between faiths which will remain a lasting legacy. Using President Obama’s quote, “We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it” the association whole heartedly agreed that Canon Neill’s presence in their community had definitely shaped a brighter future for the area.
North Tipperary’s loss is most definitely a gain for the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and so we wish Canon Stephen every success in his new journey and in the words of the old Irish Toast; “May you have warm words on a cool evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.”
“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase commonly used to describe the persuasive power of numbers and in particular the use of statistics to bolster the spin of powerless government representatives; in their efforts to support even weaker arguments regarding local employment policies.
The CEO’s Tipperary Live Register series gives a monthly breakdown of the number of people claiming Job-seekers Benefit, Job-seekers Allowance and other Registrants as registered with the Department of Social Protection. Figures like those shown hereunder, are published from each local social welfare office in Tipperary. This same Live Register, for some unknown reason, however is not designed to measure true unemployment figures. It includes part-time workers (those who work up to three days a week), seasonal and casual workers entitled to Job-seekers Benefit. It also does not appear to include Registrant figures for those leaving the Unemployment Register to seek work overseas or Registrants leaving only to re register again at another Social Welfare office as part of their efforts to find employment in our major cities.
North Tipperary Unemployment – Both Sexes – All Ages = 6,271
Nenagh – Both Sexes – All Ages = 2,542, Roscrea – Both Sexes – All Ages = 1,193, Thurles – Both Sexes – All ages = 2,536.
South Tipperary Unemployment – Both Sexes – All Ages = 7,864
Cahir – Both Sexes – All Ages = 1,135, Carrick-On-Suir – Both Sexes – All Ages = 1,699, Cashel – Both Sexes – All Ages = 1,031, Clonmel - Both Sexes – All Ages = 2,478, Tipperary Town – Both Sexes – All Ages = 1,521.
Total Current Unemployed Persons in Co. Tipperary up to and including December 2014 = 14,135
For those of our readers who have been somewhat dubious as to the accuracy of unemployment figures posted here on Thurles.Info and our criticism of local newspapers and websites, who continuously insist on publishing TD’s inaccurate spin, please Click Here and browse the combinations and permutations for yourself.
In the words of award winning columnist Gene Kerrigan (Sunday Independent) “I’m not sure why the media co-operates in this charade – Why do for free, work for which ‘consultants’ are paid enormous amounts?” Journalistic comment in all its forms certainly hit a new low in 2014. Of course the use of the internet and the need to be “first with the news” to generate traffic, has led to a “copy / paste, check and update later” mentality within almost all media sectors.
Look at the recent ‘Press Releases’ posted out by elected North Tipperary TD’s, and published by local media and websites;
(1)“Fine Gael Tipperary TD, Noel Coonan, has congratulated the eight organisations across Tipperary which have been approved for National Lottery funding by the Fine Gael Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly under the 2014 funding programme.” All hail James Reilly.
(2)“Local TD and Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has welcomed the announcement by his colleague Kevin Humphreys of an allocation of €483,561 for five Tipperary projects.” All hail Kevin Humphreys.
National Lottery Funding of course comes from the everyday grocery store gambling habits of the tax payer. Proceeds are then collected and distributed at the whim of vote catching elected public representative, who in turn want you to believe this funding is their money, to approve and distribute in omnipotent fashion. Of course for some reason such doled out aid further attests to the belief that these same elected public representatives are the great “sustainers’ of your local universe.”
“We know you all, and will awhile uphold (Until Next Elections) the unyoked humour of your idleness.”
Apologies to William Shakespeare – (Henry IV [part 1])
Five powerless elected public representatives. (Four from Tipperary).
The above five senior politicians, Mr M. McGrath, Mr N. Coonan, Mr T. Hayes, Mr J. Deenan & Mr A. Kelly took a long self promotional weekend away from Dail Éireann on Friday April 25th 2014, to appear at the Horse & Jockey in Co Tipperary for the launch of the “Derrynaflan Trail Tourism Project,” but currently remain powerless to control National Museum policy, which could remove up to 300 people from our ever increasing Thurles & Tipperary Unemployment Registers.
Figures released recently, via the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, indicate that overseas tourists spent just over €3.5 billion in Ireland this year and 7.3 million overseas visitors to Ireland in 2014 represented the highest number in the sector in the past six years. The Confederation also claim that tourism businesses employed in excess of 200,000 people, with 5,000 employees having been added in the past year, and the prospect for a further 8,000 jobs to be generated in our current starting year.
With Tipperary’s recent growing unemployment figures published by the CSO this month and the closure of several well known hotels in this county, it is quite obvious that Tipperary tourism businesses failed to contribute to aiding our counties unemployment during 2014; consequently we have failed as a county to attract and have lost control of our tourism industry due to our failure to demand our fair share of tourism funding.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Ms Heather Humphreys has recently announced the provision of an extra €2m in Arts funding, to be expended on Museums in Dublin and in Castlebar, Co Mayo, (latter only six minutes normal drive time via the N84 from Derrywash, Islandeady, the renowned birth place of Taoiseach Enda Kenny). The purpose of this funding has little to do with supporting Arts or Culture, instead it was granted to support yet again the Dublin Tourism Sector.
Continue reading Tipperary Employment – Lies, Damn Lies And Statistics