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Photo Competition Tipperary Gardens & Parkland

Sweet Daisies - Photo G.Willoughby

When it comes to promoting and highlighting all that is great about Tipperary, the Credit Unions in the county have been, over the past number of years, doing the work for which Bord Failte are paid. ( SeePlaces To Go,’) and find Tipperary on their Map.)

This year is no different, while Bord Failte are squandering large sums on promoting already established tourism destinations like Kerry, Waterford, Limerick and that area known as The Pale (Dublin), the Credit Unions of Tipperary in association with Tipperary Libraries have come up with their own novel way of promoting the neglected Premier County.

The Credit Unions of Tipperary and Tipperary Libraries are offering all photographers an opportunity to showcase their work and through this promotion compete for a share of a €1,200 prize fund.  The theme of this photographic competition is “Gardens and Parks of Tipperary,” and photographs can include scenes from the small domestic household garden to the large parkland areas, showing Tipperary at its best.

Over the past eight years the Credit Unions of Tipperary have produced an annual calendar which has been proven extremely popular, with many thousands of copies being distributed throughout the county and indeed internationally, through Tipperary natives now forced to work abroad. Similarly, Tipperary Libraries have encouraged photographers to showcase their talents through competitions based on a number of themes highlighting the many and varied attractions of our beautiful unspoiled County Tipperary.

Broadening the scope of the competition is now the aim of these two great organisations. Four major prizes will be awarded this year and at least 36 of the entries entered in this competition will be chosen for publication in the calendar for 2012.

So drop in to your local Credit Union office and look for a copy of the rules.

Remember: The latest date for receipt of entries is close of business August 31st 2011, so get out there snapping.

Note Participating Credit Unions:

Cahir Credit Union, Clonmel Credit Union, Carrick On Suir Credit Union, Cashel Credit Union, Borrisokane Credit Union, Roscrea Credit Union, Nenagh Credit Union, Tipperary Credit Union, Thurles Credit Union, and Templemore Credit Union

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Roscrea And Borrisokane Courthouses To Close

Nenagh Courthouse

There has been angry vocal reaction to the decision by the Irish Courts Service to close both local Courthouses in the Tipperary towns of Roscrea and Borrisokane.

Under these new proposals, from next January, both town’s local court sittings would be transferred to the upgraded accommodation presently provided by Nenagh courthouse, which  just 32km from Roscrea and 16km from Borrisokane.

Presently there are no consultation rooms or cells in Roscrea or Borrisokane, with security, facilities for legal practitioners, defendants, witnesses, victims of crime and the public, at well below modern requirement standards.

The Courts Service, in a statement, also explain that at present private business is being conducted on corridors and security remains an serious issue. The proximity of Borrisokane and Roscrea to Nenagh, together with the low frequency of court sittings, and therefore small annual case loads, in both towns, make it logical to transfer court business to the larger town.

Roscrea’s legal community are set to meet to discuss the issue this week, however, in our current financial climate there is little prospect of being able to improve facilities in Roscrea or Borrisokane, bringing them up to the standard which users are now entitled to expect.

While most local anger is being expressed by Solicitors and the business community in these areas, many residents feel that both communities would now be better served seeking more profitable alternative uses for these structures, which have changed little since first constructed back to the 1800’s.

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Single Farm Payment Brought Forward

Fine Gael Tipperary North / South Offaly TD Noel Coonan has strongly welcomed the decision by the EU Commission to bring forward the awarding of the Single Farm Payment (SFP), following representations made to the EU Commission by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney. Farmers will now be able to draw down 50% of their SFP from 16th October instead of having to wait until December as previously intended.

“The Single Farm Payment forms an increasingly significant part of farmers’ annual income. The news that this payment will be available two months earlier than originally planned will make a big difference for farmers in South Offaly and North Tipperary,” said Deputy Coonan.

“Minister Coveney made a strong case at the recent meeting of the Council of Ministers for the payment to be brought forward. In the current economic climate, the SFP has become increasingly important, especially considering the difficulties people are having accessing credit. Cash-flow is paramount for farmers, particularly those on low incomes, and the timing of these payments is extremely important. Farmers are more and more reliant on the SFP to subsidise the running costs of their farms. Very often the payment constitutes an amount greater than the net farm income,” concluded the local Fine Gael TD.

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Ballina House Fire Claims One Life

The body of a 53-year-old man has been recovered from a house fire in Co Tipperary early this morning. Two women, also occupants of the house, escaped from the blaze.

An alarm was raised shortly before 2.00 this morning, when flames were spotted emanating from a private residence at Grange Road in Ballina. Fire fighters and Gardai were quickly on the scene and the remains of a male resident was later recovered and removed to the mortuary at Limerick Regional Hospital.

The Office of the State Pathologist has been notified, and a post mortem is expected to take place later today.

Gardai believe the male victim was overcome by smoke and got trapped inside the burning dwelling. Gardai in Killaloe are investigating all circumstances surrounding the fatal fire and the scene is currently preserved until a technical examination is fully complete.

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Michéal Lowry Elected Mayor Of North Tipperary

Mayor Michéal Lowry

North Tipperary’s newly elected Mayor, Councillor Michéal Lowry formally received his chain of Office, at a meeting of North Tipperary County Council in St.Patrick’s College, Thurles, yesterday.

In his acceptance speech to the Elected Representatives present, Mayor Lowry stated:

We are all aware of the economic difficulties that face our country at present. The government is committed to saving a further €3.6 billion in the 2012 budget. This is outside our control and has to be achieved as part of the IMF/ECB deal. Despite this there is a huge demand on the Local Authority to provide an ever increasing array of services to a worried and beleaguered public in North Tipperary.

However it is vital that, as Public Representatives, we are realistic in what we can achieve for our constituents, during a time when Local Authority resources will be restricted even further. Therefore it is my intention during my time as Mayor to work closely with our County Manager to identify resource and support deficiencies within the core units of housing, roads, water services and environment. I will use my Office to convey to Government in clear and concise terms the importance of continued, and hopefully in some areas, improved investment in our county.

To have a real impact on our national recovery, the members of the Council must recognise that our economic crisis has also precipitated a moral crisis for many of our national institutions and organisations. Confidence is low and national morale needs an injection of energy and creativity at every level. Our financial institutions and their rules including the indicators by which they measure economic performance, consistently place financial values ahead of human values. Traditionally we have measured economic performance against gross domestic product (GDP), which simply measures the rate at which money flows through the economy. I believe we would be better off if our economic performance was measured in real terms by the indicators which matter most to us, the health and well-being of our family, our children and our community. It is my belief that a strong economy must have strong local roots and maximise our county’s local resources. It is in this context that I would like to highlight the following priorities that will be the foundation of my tenure as Mayor.

The immediate expediting of Departmental funds, to allow the Council carry out all outstanding necessary improvements and repairs to its housing stock ensuring that all Council owned properties are fit for purpose and habitable at all times. This simple measure will allay the frustration of many people on our ever growing housing list who constantly question the number of boarded up Council properties.

We must ensure that our road network is maintained and improved to allow both motorists and pedestrians to travel safely.  Significant progress has been made in recent years on the main roads and I would like to acknowledge the work carried out by our Engineers and outdoor staff in achieving these improvements. However it is now time to impress on the Department that investment is long overdue, with regard to our minor county roads. We must also continue to press for delivery of critical infrastructures such as the Thurles Bypass and Link Road, and the Ballina/Killaloe Bridge.

Tourism within the County has huge potential economic benefits. We have natural and historic tourist attractions, notably Lough Derg and Holycross Abbey, and now coupled to these Moneygall has grown to international prominence. The proposed Tipperary Venue has the capability of attracting international as well as national visitors to our area. There is a need for the continued development of a clear Tourism strategy between North and South Tipperary and Offaly Councils to maximise the tourist opportunities that these locations offer.  This strategy must engage all interested parties and promote every aspect of tourism within the county.

On the business front we need to protect our agriculture sector. Our reliance on food imports needs to be reduced and we must strive for local food independence by continuing to build our local food systems, based on family farms and small independent producers. Currently Bord Bia works with more than 350 Irish artisan and food companies. These have an annual estimated turnover of over €500m and support more than 3000 jobs.  It is thought that the sector has the potential to double these figures by 2016. I believe that Tipperary is ideally positioned to participate and avail of this growth as it possesses some of the best farming land in the European Union. It is my intention as Mayor to promote at every opportunity, the Tipperary farmers and food producers, who provide exceptional produce for national and international consumption, while creating opportunities for much needed employment.

We need to continue to support those with an entrepreneurial flair in setting up their own businesses. The Government and County Council must do all in their power to promote responsible local ownership of business by people who have a stake in the health of their local community and local economy. The recent establishment of the Enterprise Support Unit by the County Manager and the new enterprise centre at Tipperary Institute are most welcome. These developments in tandem with the imminent launch of the Tipperary.com website will provide invaluable assistance to start up companies and established companies that are looking to expand.  It is my hope that the Minister at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government will attend the launch of the website and provide a platform for both the County Manager and I to impress upon him the huge economic potential of our county.

These are some of the key pillars of policy and practice that will engage me over the coming year. I will endeavour to ensure that every opportunity available is grasped for this county, because I believe we have a fabulous product here that can be marketed and sold all over Ireland and beyond. The moral well-being and health of our County can act as a barometer for the rest of the country and so my commitment is about much more than money and jobs; it is about moral courage and conviction; it is about belief and creativity; it is about faith in this great county that I am proud to lead over the next year.”

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