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Thurles
Cloudy
23°C
real feel: 22°C
wind speed: 5 m/s S
sunrise: 6:23 am
sunset: 8:45 pm
 

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Thurles Road Resurfacing Gets Under Way On R498

Yesterday, Tuesday 7th August, the Tipperary Co. Council website decided to inform us that as and from today, 8th August 2018, road resurfacing is expected to get under way near Semple Stadium, on the R498 Roundabout connecting the Nenagh Road junction with the Jimmy Doyle Road, here on the outskirts of Thurles

Alternative traffic arrangements will come into effect on the Roundabout for the duration of the works to be carried out and delays can be expected.

These resurfacing works are expected to last for the duration of seven days.

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Rural Neglect Or Just Plain Arrogance

The first photograph shown on the slide-show hereunder was taken on January 1st, 2000. I had waited, well wrapped up against the frosty darkness, at the entrance to the Lady’s Well pedestrian pathway for the first rays of sunlight to break the eastern horizon.  This, after all, was to be the dawning of the first day of a promising new millennium for Thurles; that interval of time consisting of one thousand years.

On that morning, the view before me reminded me of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

Here for anyone with even a modicum of imagination was a blank canvas presented by Mother Nature; being offered to develop a footpath attraction, which would entice safely for those who wished, for an hour or two, to avoid the noise; the glower of insipid tarmac and characterless cement, not to mention the stench of petrol and diesel exhaust emissions.  Here was the perfect opportunity to scatter naturally occurring, wild, flower seeds; Meadowsweet, Oxeye Daisies, Montbretia, Lady’s Smock, Red Clovers, Poppies, etc, thus developing a retreat, nay a safe place, for sharing with our bees, butterflies, birds, moths and other precious Irish pollinators.

Here was an opportunity to update a protective railing; add a few more park-style benches along the riverbank, allowing the rambler to sit and view a wild flower spectacle, which in the words of poet W. Wordsworth; just like his daffodils, could later “flash upon that inward eye, which is the bliss of solitude”.

Here in Tipperary politicians talk consistently about the need for better mental health supports.  Humans are becoming less connected with nature, and in doing so are losing an essential health buffer.  Yes, there exists strong mounting evidence that contact with nature has major and significant positive impacts on our mental health.

Our second picture was taken on July 29th 2018 last. Eighteen years on and the area has become further deteriorated, with only a few families daring to traverse the subsiding river bank, latter being consistently washed away each winter by torrential flooding.

Still, I suppose the Lady’s Well pedestrian pathway is not necessary as an everyday public walkway, unlike the pedestrian crossing at Cathedral Street, Thurles, which also further highlights the neglect by Templemore/ Thurles Municipal District Council management.
Readers will be aware that modern pedestrian signals on such crossings incorporate countdown timers into their design, that display the signal for pedestrians to cross using a green light.

Article 14 of the Road Traffic (Signs) Regulations, 1962

14. Either of the following types of mechanical signals may be used to control the crossing of a road by pedestrians at a place where traffic is controlled by traffic lights as prescribed in Article 13 of these Regulations:—
(a) a single lamp, which shall comply with the following conditions:—
(i) it shall face the pedestrians whose movements it is intended to control;
(ii) it shall show, when lit:—
(A) a green light through the full area of the lens or,
(B) a figure of a pedestrian in green on a black ground or,
(C) a message (such as the words ” Cross Now”) in white on a black ground, indicating that pedestrians may cross the road.

On February 1st 2018, we highlighted the fact that these pedestrian crossing lights were pointed in the wrong direction and do notface the pedestrians whose movements it is intended to control“.

On July 16th 2018, we again highlighted the fact that pedestrian crossing lights remained pointed in the wrong direction.

While less than a dozen people will traverse the collapsing Lady’s Well pedestrian pathway in any one day; when our schools re-open at the end of August 2018; together with Mass goers, shoppers and secondary school pupils, the Cathedral Street, pedestrian controlled intersection will exceed some 1,500 crossings per day, all of whom will remain blind as to their right to cross.

From a vehicles point of view, Road traffic regulations state that “a pedestrian shall exercise care and take all reasonable precautions in order to avoid causing danger or inconvenience to traffic and other pedestrians”

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Potholes Of Ballycahill, Co. Tipperary

You have all heard of the Cliff’s of Moher; the Doolin Cave; the Aillwee Cave; the Tipperary – Mitchelstown Caves and now here in Co. Tipperary a new tourist attraction has been developed by Tipperary Tourism; welcome to the “Potholes of Ballycahill, situated near, Thurles, here in Co. Tipperary.

No brown directional signposts have been erected as yet, but one such heart-shaped hole can be found coming up to the 80k speed sign, found when exiting this most picturesque of rural village. (See photograph below.)

It was right here that last Friday a motorist, travelling to Limerick, seriously damaged a front brake disk, resulting in one his front wheels heating up to such an extent that it buckled, forcing him to abandon his vehicle.

Meanwhile on the direct route from Thurles to Templetuohy, again here in Co. Tipperary; local residents appear to be filling their own tourist attractions after dark, much to the annoyance of local County Councillors.

Same Councillors are aware that if our young people, forced to emigrate for work from the area since 2008, were attracted to return home on holidays from abroad, they could claim evidence of higher tourism figures visiting the Premier County.

Ah Yes, Tipperary, the Place, the Time.

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State Of Thurles – Thursday April 26th, 2018

Thursday April 26th, 2018 – Picture A shows potholes deemed suitable for filling this week. Picture B shows neglected potholes deemed unsuitable for filling due to cutbacks in rural Ireland.

Thurles, like a lot of midland rural towns, has had its heart ripped out by the recent recession. Its inhabitants have watched helpless as their young people were forced to travel abroad and yes failed by those whom they elected to rule over us.

Today, Thursday April 26th, 2018, €22m of European support was announced for a Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking between the European Union and the private sector. The project is to be based at a new bio-economy campus in Lisheen, Co. Tipperary, converting AgriChem Whey dairy by-product, know as ‘whey permeate’, into lactic acid. This product can be used in industry as a biodegradable plastic; bio-based fertiliser and minerals, according to the project’s promoters.

Politicians and County Councillors lined up for radio interviews this morning, all seeking credit; all not contradicting themselves, but none of them able to confirm a start date. [No doubt an official opening will be organised just before the next election].  Some of them thought it was a €21 million fund; others spoke of €30 million; some spoke of massive job creation for locals; others agreed that those holding bio-economy science degrees in Tipperary were scarce on the ground, suggesting outside job creation to be most likely. None were asked to explain bio-economy.

Meanwhile back in Thurles on Thursday April 26th, 2018, Council staff carry out their boring Thursday routine, filling the potholes in the town. This week they continue to make saving to our local town exchequer, by filling only potholes of a certain depth with poor quality cold tarmac. Next Thursday they will fill the holes again, and the following Thursday, and the following Thursday and so it goes; “like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel”.

This is the joke folks:  We are being asked to believe that these elected representatives, from all political groupings, attracted €22 million of European financial support, while at the same time unable to properly regulate / control / administrate / govern, the filling of one simple pothole.

The EU must be a right ‘soft touch’.

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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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