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Mary Hanifin Announces €6.3 Million Sports Funding

Mary Hanifin T.D.

Thurles born Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sports, Mary Hanafin T.D.has announced the Irish Sports Council’s funding package for the National Network of Sports Partnerships.

The 32 Partnerships have been allocated almost €6.3 million in funding in 2010 and this will be matched by revenues from other sources bringing the total invested in local participation initiatives through these Partnerships, to more than €12.5 million in the current year.

At a meeting of the Sports Partnerships in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Minister Hanafin also launched the 2009 SPEAK (Strategic Planning, Evaluation and Knowledge) Report, the evaluation mechanism that tracks the activities of the Partnerships year on year. Among the many highlights were that 112,000 people participated in 744 directly delivered participation programmes and 3,500 clubs were supported in the delivery of their sports activity targets.

Under this announced funding, in 2010 North Tipperary will receive €178,264, while South Tipperary will receive €146,671.  Women’s sports projects will further benefit by €6.500 overall for the county as a whole.

For those of our readers who would like to read the full text of the SPEAK Report, click here.

Note: This report is based on the information provided for the year 2009 by 33 Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) using the SPEAK self-evaluation system.

Natural Gas In North Tipperary – Bord Gáis Not to Blame

Bord Gáis is ready and willing to introduce natural gas to major North Tipperary towns, but a lack of Government commitment is hindering this initiative.

On Wednesday last Bord Gáis Chief Executive, Mr John Mullins, addressed the Oireachtas Communications Committee, of which North Tipperary Fine Gael TD Deputy Noel Coonan is a member.

Responding to Committee’s questions on Wednesday morning last, Mr John Mullins stated:

“We have identified 73 towns where we could introduce natural gas but only four were successful.  At the end of the day, we do not make the decision on what towns get connected. Only four out of 73 towns in our most recent study got connected and it is fair to say Thurles was not far off the mark. I have no problem in laying pipes in North Tipperary and providing cheaper energy than current existing energy arrangements. The CER take our submissions and decide what we can and cannot do. I have no difficulty in bringing gas to towns if the body politic want that to happen. We did put our best foot forward.”

Following the meeting Thurles.Info spoke to Deputy Noel Coonan, who stated:

“I asked John Mullins whose fault is it that Thurles, Nenagh, Templemore and Roscrea are still without natural gas and the CEO went out of his way to confirm that Bord Gáis want to lay pipes in these towns but the Government and Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) have the final say in these matter. Bord Gáis has the engineers, the staff, the resources and the willpower needed to push ahead. Of course they are eager to do so as it would mean more customers for them but there is no financial commitment or Government support.  Natural gas recently came to Tipperary Town and I question if this was influenced by having a Government Deputy residing in the constituency. We need to bring gas to these North Tipperary locations, to lower the cost of energy and to help support people in their existing jobs. It is clear that state funding is needed to deliver gas to these towns.  Will the Government rise to the occasion and ensure there is competitive infrastructure in rural areas like these? I will continue to pressurize Minister Eamon Ryan on this matter.We do not have a natural gas pipe supply in the four main towns in North Tipperary and this is not satisfactory and is part of the reason why the north of the county is being left to decay.”

North Tipperary High Priority for F.G. In Government

Simon Coveney TD, Mayor Denis Ryan, Party Leader Enda Kenny, Deputy Noel Coonan and Cllr. Ger Darcy

Well over 300 people attended a public meeting hosted by F.G. Deputy Noel Coonan in  Damer Court Hotel on Monday evening last.

During the meeting Deputy Coonan received assurances from Party Leader Enda Kenny that Roscrea and North Tipperary will be high priority for Fine Gael in Government and the party will do its utmost to ensure that this now neglected region flourishes.

Roscrea town was chosen as the location for this inaugural meeting of Fine Gael’s National Campaign on the Party’s Jobs Plan NewERA which was launched last Thursday. Speaking in the Damer Court Hotel on Monday night, Deputy Coonan said he believed the large turnout sent a clear message to Deputy Kenny and Simon Coveney TD, Communications Spokesperson, that our concern is to make Roscrea a leading provincial town in Ireland as we continue to feel the brunt of this recession following the recent closure of Taro Pharmaceuticals.

Deputy Coonan, who hosted and chaired the event, kick-started the meeting stating:

This is the first in a series of meetings to outline Fine Gael’s jobs policy and it will give hope to those who have lost their jobs or struggling to hold onto jobs. We intend to provide a positive outlook for the future which is especially important here in North Tipperary, a region which has been ravaged by job losses. I have made North Tipperary a high priority of mine in the Dáil and Deputy Kenny and Deputy Coveney have responded to that priority by coming here tonight to give confidence to the people.

Continue reading North Tipperary High Priority for F.G. In Government

Co Tipperary Payments To County Councillors 2009

In 2009, nationally, County and City Councils spent in excess of €31 million in payments to their Councillors according to today’s Irish Times Newspaper.

In the two Riding’s of County Tipperary, the overall cost was just short of €2 million, with North Tipperary splitting €890,000 between their 21 Councillors  and South Tipperary splitting €1.04 million between 26 Councillors.

According to regulations, gratuity payments, which are taxable, are made to councillors if they are not re-elected. In this regard South Tipperary and North Tipperary paid out in excess of €400,000 to former councillors. Nationally Councillors who retired or who failed to be re-elected in last year’s local elections received more than €4.76 million in gratuity payments last year.

Payments received by elected County and City Councillors include a basic salary, called a Representational Payment, which is subject to PAYE in the normal way and PRSI as appropriate.

Councillors also receive an annual allowance for reasonable expenses incurred in attending meetings associated with their council business and miscellaneous costs such as postage, travel expenses, and can also claim up to €600 in a mobile phone allowance annually.

The overall amount a councillor can spend on expenses was capped by Minister for Local Government John Gormley in February last when the Local Government Act 2001 Regulations 2010 were finalised. This limited councillors’ expenditure on conferences, seminars and other meetings or events.

Many County Councillors additionally receive payments as members of local Urban District Councils also.

The influential and well paid post of County or Local Councillor, peculiarly, remains the only employment currently obtainable within the Irish State where an Interview, IQ Test, C.V. or Educational Qualification is not part of any qualifying process and the only post where work performance is regarded as of little consequence.

Parking Charges To Increase In Thurles

P.Hayes and PJ. Shanahan shake hands with the new Technological VAT Collector

It was confirmed to Thurles Chamber of Commerce during a recent Bi-Monthly meeting with Thurles Town Clerk, Mr Michael Ryan and the County Manager, Mr Matt Shortt that VAT at the rate of 21% will officially apply to public parking in Thurles town with effect from the 1st July 2010.

This further imposition of VAT arises from a case referred to the European Court of Justice, by private cark park operators. They maintained that while they needed to charge VAT on their parking spaces, Local Authorities who are in direct competition in some cases, did not.

The European Court heard that under the European Sixth VAT Directive, if a Public Body supplies the same services as a private business then VAT is applicable to the public service. The European Court ruled that Ireland must comply with this Directive.

On 4th February a Government Finance Bill made it incumbent on Local Authorities to charge VAT on many of its services from the 1st July 2010.

Continue reading Parking Charges To Increase In Thurles