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Is This What They Label As “Fake News”?

A new €2million initiative has been launched in an effort to boost tourism across ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ region, with a promise of further funding to follow this initial €2m allocation.

‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ is the latest brand to be launched by Fáilte Ireland following their ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and even less convincing ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’.

This ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ promotion will covers parts of Leitrim, Roscommon, East Galway, East Clare, North Tipperary, Offaly, Westmeath, Longford and Cavan.

Same, we are informed will encourage tourism through the promotion of walking, cycling and boating, as well as fishing and other activities in and around towns and villages within the region. A series of food networks and trails will also be developed; with the flood prone River Shannon marketed together with Waterways Ireland to encourage tourism both on and off the river.

Today was obviously a slow news day everywhere; with national and local TV, Radio, Press and social media outlets, all grabbing the “Fake News” for their various publications.

Photo-shopped children appeared; jumping off boats into Lough Allen in one publication; in others a water scape showed a leaking waterlogged boat on a reeded shoreline, and all designed to drive visitor growth across the Midlands region, thus exposing the Midland’s rich natural assets, which includes our God given lakes, walkways and ‘Sunday Blueways’. (They are right in one stated fact; to immerse yourself in the heart of rural Ireland you do need a canoe.)

Is ‘Drive’ the Clue?
Sounds great, but it would appear that Fáilte Ireland’s members; their CEO Mr Paul Kelly and Mr Paul Keeley (Director of Commercial Development), apparently just don’t get “out and about”, much, anymore. While they have been sweating; involved “in months of extensive market testing”; gleaned they claim both from here (I can’t find one person contacted in North Tipperary, in relation to this new branding) and overseas, it would appear that most of the gathered information came from tourists abroad, and from persons who have never driven on Ireland’s secondary road surfaces.

Keep in mind that this new initiative, which has little for North Tipperary natives to get into a bee-like frenzy about, is expected to tap into that “off the beaten track” experience.

But perhaps the biggest chuckle, is that this new ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ brand was officially launched by Mr Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport who sped down the M4 & M6 motorways for an announcement ceremony in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. (Home of Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran).

Latter named Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Minister Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who first revealed the name of this new brand as ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’, declared it to be a beautiful name, which had proven very successful in pre-trials, (Me I would have preferred a more descriptive brand name myself, something like “The Deep Pot Holes, Beyond The Luas Line”

No, Mr Moran and Mr Ross made no mention of structural failures on off-motorway road surfaces, caused by flood water in the underlying soil structures; as they gazed grinning from behind a cardboard cut-out.

Why does my late grandmother’s dissenting description now echo and spring to mind; “Asses looking over a whitewashed wall”.

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Motorist Dies In Tipperary Vehicle Crash

A male motorist has died following a single-vehicle crash in Co. Tipperary overnight.

The motorist, believed to be aged in his early 50’s, was fatally injured when the car, he controlled, struck a fence at Ardmayle, Cashel, last night

The accident happened at about 11.30pm, after which his body was removed to the mortuary at South Tipperary General Hospital.

Local diversions have been put in place, with the road currently closed for examination purposes by Garda forensic collision investigators.

Gardaí­ are appealing to anyone, who may have witnessed the crash, to contact them at Cahir Garda Station Tel: (052) 744630, the Garda Confidential Line Tel: 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

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No Respect For How Taxpayers Money Is Spent

On 7th February 2018, Thurles.info wrote to the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross, regarding the then state of Thurles Bridge (Barry’s Bridge), the towns main arterial thoroughfare to and from the east.  Pertinent photographs were also attached.

On April 5th 2018 (almost 2 months later) his office replies.

Our Ref: SR/18/20917.

Dear George
I refer to your email of 7th February regarding the poor condition of the Thurles Bridge in Tipperary.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The construction, improvement and maintenance of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

I have, therefore, forwarded your email to Mr. Michael Nolan, Chief Executive of TII, for his attention and direct reply.

With best wishes,
Shane Ross
(Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport)
The Minister is a Designated Public Official under the Regulation of Lobbying Act, 2015 (details available on www.lobbying.ie).

Pictures Left-Right: (1) Wed 4th April 2018; (2) Friday 6th April 2018, and (3) Friday 6th April 2018.

We replied to Minister Shane Ross immediately (4 hours later) on April 5th 2018.

To Mr Shane Ross (Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport)

Sir,
I thank you for your communication of the 5th instant, April 2018.

Perhaps you would take the time to read link; http://www.thurles.info/2018/04/04/work-to-begin-again-on-barrys-bridge-whenever/. Please also see; (dated 2011) http://www.thurles.info/2011/08/09/thurles-bypass-halted/

Following the evidence shown in this link, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in conjunction with the local authorities concerned; it would appear are incapable of undertaking this work. This bridge surface has been replaced / repaired for the 3rd time in less than 6 months, and very shortly will require repairs to be undertaken again. It is unlikely that this matter will be conveyed to Mr. Michael Nolan, Chief Executive of TII.

With the greatest respect Minister, what Thurles now needs is the promised Bypass, initially pledged some 16 year ago, and which was recently announced and targeted in the recent National Development Plan.

Sir, with everything in place except funding; (that’s according to local Councillors); What we now need is a Bypass start date.

Again thank you for your communication.

Kindest regards, Thurles.Info.

Thurles Cathedral Street Car-park
On April 4th 2018, we wrote on Thurles.Info. Quote:- “Here in Thurles again today, the Council truck did its daily sweep of the town, filling an occasional water laden hole with cold tarmac, which will be reduced to gravel within 48 hours”.

Picture on left above is the entrance to Thurles Cathedral Street Car-park after water laden holes were filled with cold tarmac on April 4th 2018.  Today is April 6th 2018, and today this is how the entrance to Thurles Cathedral Street Car-park looks just two days later. (View pictures in centre and on the right shown above).

I hasten to add that this is not the fault of the employees who undertook this work, but rather the fault of those who sent them out, with substandard incorrect materials, demonstrating little respect for taxpayers money.

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Work To Begin Again On Barry’s Bridge – Whenever

The word on every person’s lips here in Thurles today is ‘JEEP’ – which as you know stands for ‘Jump Excitedly into Every Pothole’.

Around the year 1650, McRickard Butler’s workforce knew how to build a bridge. Using construction materials consisting of a combination of rubble and dressed limestone, and with their skilled hands they chiselled large lumps of limestone rock creating triangular cut-water pillars to meet the southward flowing water of the river Suir. On top of these same cut-water pillars, they formed seven round arches with dressed voussoirs, (latter wedge-shaped or tapered stones used to construct the arches), visible from both north and south elevations.

Barry’s Bridge Thurles begins to unravel after 4 days.

This limestone road bridge served us well, until around 1820, when it was reconstructed. In more recent years it was widened, its old stone walls replaced by footpaths and steel railings; its road resurfaced by concrete.

Today, 2018, despite major strides in education and communication the knowledge on how to fill a pothole has been lost. On Friday, March 30th last after three weeks of tolerating single lane, “Stop & Go” twenty-minute, traffic management delays, Barry’s bridge was reopened, having been resurfaced.

One hopes no cheques have changed hands, as yesterday, just 4 days later, already this new surface has begun to unravel. Someone in Tipperary Co. Council’s engineering department remains convinced that it is possible to glue tarmac to a sloping road surface and then run heavily laden 12-wheeler trucks over it.

You can only get from people what they are willing or able to give was always the definition of the quote, “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.”  But it appears that when it comes to the ratepayers and taxpayers of Thurles Town; yes, we turnips do actually produce blood and can be continuously squeezed.

Meanwhile, here in Ireland, there are still several streets in existence with no pot holes. These streets are now some 60 years old. Back then they used a miracle product for such surfaces. It was considered environmentally friendly; could be recycled, and contained no expensive petroleum. The miracle product was called cement.

Here in Thurles again today, the Council truck did its daily sweep of the town, filling an occasional water laden hole with cold tarmac, which will be reduced to gravel within 48 hours.

There is still no confirmation on the promised Thurles Bypass, initially pledged some 16 year ago.

There were just 6 votes separating Mary Newman and Garrett Ahearn at the recent Fine Gael selection convention here in Thurles, and it’s now thought that the Cashel woman may be added to the ticket for the next general election in October. One wonders will “The Bypass” arrive before then.

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Work Due To Begin On Proposed New Thurles Car Park

The long established Co. Limerick based company of Smith Demolition, based in Newcastle West, has been awarded the contract to demolish Griffin’s shop, (Red Shop Front pictured right above), on the ‘Money Side’, South on Liberty Square here in Thurles.

Smith Demolition, who operate throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom, will also clear the site for the proposed car park, behind this soon to be demolished building and directly opposite the 18th-century, Hayes Hotel. It is understood that full site clearance will take approximately 10 weeks to fully complete.

Smith Demolition have today removed a portion of the east wall of the public car park (See picture left above), situated at Slievenamon Road, Thurles; and have cordoning off a small portion (two car parking spaces), of this public parking area, to initially facilitate their site office and lock-up.

Slievenamon Road Works
Meanwhile the long awaited roadworks which were scheduled to begin on the Slievenamon Road last October 2017, and announced on TippFM this morning as beginning today, April 3rd 2018, have so far failed to materialise.

We understand however that work may begin on this area tomorrow, following the completed upgrade to the Barry’s Bridge project. The Slievenamon Road project is expected to take up to 7 weeks to complete.

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