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Shannon Protection Alliance Meeting In Dromineer

Part of Tipperary's Lough Derg shore line.

The Shannon Protection Alliance will hold a public meeting next Thursday, April 28th at the Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer.

The purpose of this meeting is to raise awareness and if possible also establish another branch of its group which are currently opposed to controversial plans by Dublin City Council to extract massive volumes of water from the river Shannon.

This proposed water extraction scheme is an attempt to boost dwindling water supplies in Ireland’s capital. The proposed plan is to extract water from Lough Derg, the largest of 3 lakes on the Shannon River, at the rate of 350 million litres per day, via a reservoir and treatment plant to be situated near Portarlington.

The Shannon Protection Alliance, which was founded at a public meeting in Athlone on April 20th 2007, state that this water extraction equates to the amount of water which leaks from the present day Dublin piped water system.

This €470 million scheme, if put into effect, would see water pumped from Lough Derg to the Dublin region and to other commuter towns along its path.

However according to Shannon Protection Alliance chairman Mr Gerry Siney, the scheme is unnecessary and the highly controversial plan has not considered the needs of local communities living along the Shannon /Tipperary border and any implementation would immediately effect the future economic development and ecosystem of this mid-west region.

As many people as possible are invited to attend and make their views known at the meeting on Thursday next.



Moneygall Prepares For Obama Visit

J. Austin and son Matthew. Photo courtesy of Irish Independent Newspapers

US President Barack Obama is due to visit his ancestral home in Moneygall, situated on the Tipperary-Offaly border, on Monday May 23rd next, however his visit may be the subject of change, to Sunday 22nd, depending on his busy Irish schedule.

I visited Moneygall village yesterday, to find the locals residents as busy as bees in a  hive, armed with ladders, paint brushes, shovels and power-washers, all engaged in a total revamp of their small hamlet. All locals are intent on ensuring that no stone will be left unturned and all will be ‘Ship Shape and Bristol fashion,’ for when the intense glare of the global media is brought to focus on ‘Obama Land.’

One Tipperary family, are most certainly pulling out all the welcome stops for this highly anticipated homecoming and State visit, with local Jason Austin and his family having  painted their home, in the village, with the Stars and Stripes and the Irish Tricolour.

A continuous stream of tourists and day trippers have already begun to seek out Moneygall. Locals tell of a group of lawyers who arrived visiting from Chicago recently, all boasting connections with President Obama. The CIA and security personnel are currently undertaking their necessary preparatory work and visitors from overseas are beginning to show a distinct tourism interest and appear eager to associate themselves with Obama’s true ancestral Irish roots.

Almost daily now visitors from all over Ireland, are veering from intended destinations anxious to take a peep. When filming  in the town recently, we ran into well known photographer Paddy Phipps, who had travelled from Co Longford and the equally well known Fionán O’Driscoll, member and PRO of the Waterford Male Voice Choir, who had travelled from Waterford.

United States Ambassador to Ireland and Chairman Emeritus of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team Mr Dan Rooney has also gifted the village some Pittsburgh Steelers memorabilia for the occassion.

Moneygall village presently offers a rare opportunity to watch a small, yet lively community, passionately engaged in their preparations for when the worlds spotlight focuses brightly on their community and historical connection. So if you have a chance to visit Moneygall in the weeks ahead, do so and observe at first hand contented people, attired in paint splattered overalls, all playing their part in ‘Welcome Home Mr President’ preparations, and demonstrating what is needed to take us out of our financial recession.

Regrettably, nationally, republican and other members of the far-left fringe of ‘career protesters,’ namely Republican Sinn Féin, the new kids on the block Éirígí and People before Profit, latter organisations with all the problems and no solutions, will be attempting to attract attention for themselves by protesting at all our up and coming high profile visits by heads of State.  Hopefully all press cameras will remain pointed in the opposite direction. I believe it was John Steinbeck sums it up when he said, “It is the nature of a man as he grows older, to protest against change, particularly changes for the better.  A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half remembered glory

Watch out for our short video on Moneygall, to be uploaded soon on this site.


The State Of The Nation Financially

Approx 21%, or 735,000 Irish Adults have an average of €70 left each month after essential bills are paid. Significant numbers of Irish people no longer see a future for themselves or indeed their families here in Ireland according to the Irish League of Credit Unions.

The Irish League of Credit Unions has announced the launch of a new disposable income tracker index called the ‘What’s Left ‘ Index.

Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) CEO Kieron Brennan said: “It has become more and more apparent that many Irish families are seriously struggling in what are very difficult financial times. We have just seen an ECB rate increase last week which is likely to push families and individuals further into mortgage difficulties and arrears. In the mean time increasing mortgage rates combined with increasing fuel costs, the introduction of the universal social charge and cuts in social welfare means that 2011 will be one of the most difficult years for the Irish population in terms of money management.

Mortgage and rent are seen by 72% as the largest / most important bills for respondents. This is followed by utilities 55% and groceries 51%. While Transport / car 26%, loan repayments 25%, credit cards 25% and health insurance 24%,  were all ranked at a similar level of importance.

Approx 19% of Irish adults have between 6-10% left while a further 27% of respondents have 10-20% or just enough of their income left over, having paid for all their essentials. Only 20% have more than 20% left over, which is enough to enjoy themselves.

Nearly 1 million people or 83% of people, who have less than 5% of their income left over, worry about how they will cope if unforeseen expenses arise.

Worst possible finding however revealed that 30% of Irish people believe that with any further changes to the minimum wage they would be better off not working.

The survey was conducted by Market Research Company iReach during the period of 24th March to 1st April using the iReach Consumer Decisions Research Panel which delivered 1,000 responses from adults in Ireland aged 18+ to 65+ and is nationally representative by Age, Region, Gender and Social Class.



Gardaí Seek High Speed Pursuit Training At Templemore

Garda Dave McMahon, a delegate at the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference, said members want a new advanced course covering high-speed chases, to be implemented at the Garda College in Templemore, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Front-line Gardaí are seeking an end to high-speed car chases, until such time as they  receive training in high speed driving.

Currently there is a standard two-week driving course for Garda recruits, but a backlog now means that many officers are currently driving without basic training, acting on the authority of  Chief Superintendent grade.  The (GRA) states officers fear risking their lives and the lives of others during dangerous pursuits of detected criminals.

Garda Dave McMahon, Tralee, Co Kerry stated, “Our concern is we are endangering ourselves, our passengers and obviously other road users.” Garda Officers are only permitted to travel at high speed serious and emergency cases, such as armed robberies and murder, using flashing blue lights and sirens.

Officers are particularly worried about being investigated by the independent Garda Ombudsman or being hauled before the courts for traffic violations.

The GRA, which represents rank and file officers, passed a motion at their recent conference in Westport, Co Mayo, demanding an end to fast car chases until training and regulations are reviewed.

Many of the Garda cars are not fast enough to catch up with some more powerful vehicles currently on our roads and the Garda Force are reporting that old Garda cars are being lost from their fleet at a rate of one a day and are not being replaced, due to cutbacks.


Delays At Thurles Garda Vetting Unit

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

Approximately 55,000 people are waiting for Garda clearance, which will enable them to work with vulnerable adults and children in community and voluntary services, latest figures from the Department of Justice have confirmed.

Around 290,000 individuals were vetted last year, however it is deemed necessary for people who have been ‘Vetted and Cleared‘ already once by the gardaí, that they must be vetted again, should they choose to work for a different organisation.

The Department of Justice, claim that the average waiting time is estimated at 10 weeks, however, many awaiting clearance state that they have been waiting for up to 16 weeks for clearance and cannot take up their appointed rolls due to these delays.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has stated his concerns at the length of time taken to process these vetting applications. He also confirmed that the Department of Finance had sanctioned the recruitment of 10 temporary employees to the GCVU in Thurles, Co Tipperary and these are now being recruited.

A report by the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children, chaired by Mary O’Rourke TD, which reported on the 11th September 2008, recommends that legislation be introduced to regulate and control the manner in which records of criminal convictions and information including “soft information” can be stored and deployed by An Garda Síochána and other Statutory Agencies for the purpose of child Protection.