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The Forgotten Roads Of North Tipperary

Although some senior Government Ministers are staying at home, this coming St. Patrick’s Day, 23 key Government figures are flying to locations around the world to meet with key business and political figures to sell our wares.

We are told that these Government Ministers are using St Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to promote Ireland to locations around the world.

We understand that the Minister for Transport Mr Noel Dempsey will be in Toronto, Canada this St Patrick’s Day, to attend the Ireland Fund’s St Patrick’s day lunch with 1,000 business and political decision makers, meeting clients and their customers at an Enterprise Ireland business breakfast.  It would appear, however, that Mr Dempsey’s “Ministerial Mercedes”, not to mention the vehicles of local TD’s, Local and County Councillors have not driven on the road from Templetuohy to Johnstown in the past three years.

The video hereunder demonstrates the current state of the road presently tolerated and shared by residents and those trying to transact their everyday business in and around Thurles, Templetuohy and the Moyne areas of Co.Tipperary.

Tipperary’s Rural Roads Are Deteriorating from George Willoughby.

We now ask a simple question “Minister, with the greatest respect, how do you promote a country with a secondary road structure familiar, only, to a fourth world State”

While in daylight this road surface is visible, some night soon some unfamiliar stranger to this area is going to loose their life.

Tanzanian And Kenyan Fairtrade Representatives Visit Thurles

Fairtrade Delegation visits St. Patricks College Thurles

Report by Una Johnston, Thurles Fairtrade Secretary.

A major highlight of Fairtrade Fortnight , here in Thurles, was the visit yesterday to St. Patrick’s College and the Presentation Secondary School by Fairtrade coffee producer Mr Josephat Sylvand, and Mrs Hella Alikuru, Kenya, who represents plantation workers in East Africa.

The visitors were welcomed by the staff and students and by the Thurles Fairtrade committee.

Josephat Sylvand is the Assistant Export Manager at Kagera Co-operative Union Ltd.   KCU was the first exporter of organic coffee from Tanzania and is the largest supplier of organic Robusta coffee to the Fairtrade market. Josephat is a son of a coffee producer who was a committed member of KCU Ltd. By being a member of KCU and its Fairtrade practices, he has managed to educate his family, some even to university level.

Josephat himself joined KCU Ltd in 2005 as a graduate and worked as a coffee trader. At the same time he was being trained on all issues relating to coffee export and marketing. Currently he is an Assistant Export Manager, and his role includes negotiating coffee contracts and offering and receiving bids for the coffee.

KCU is made up of 124 Primary Cooperative Societies representing over 60,000 small farmers since 1988 they have been selling an increasing part of its members’ coffee under Fairtrade terms.

KCU’s mission and objective is to seek, establish and maintain favourable markets in order to improve the income and well-being of its farmers. It is a pioneer of Fairtrade in Tanzania. It has been involved in the promotion of Tanzania coffee abroad, always focused on increased sales and higher remuneration for the farmer. Through active involvement with, and direct selling into, the Fairtrade market, KCU has paid its farmers up to 100% more than generated through the commercial price. It is also involved with Export Promotion of Organic Products in Africa (EPOPA), whose objective is to promote innovative and environmentally sound farming techniques aimed at improving the well-being of the community.

Josephat told the Thurles audience that when members collect and market their coffee together, they create a fund to which deductions from coffee sales are deposited to assist members’ children in attaining education, health services and other basic needs. This chance is usually wasted when coffee is collected by private buyers, who most of the times lack a collective responsibility drive. The Fairtrade social premium has enabled our members to construct/improve roads and bridges to their crop collection centers. Also classrooms and health centers have been constructed, which cements not only the relationship within our members, but also creates a strong partnership between KCU members and the Fairtrade buyers Josephat said. With the Fairtrade minimum price, KCU members have also been able to invest into an instant coffee factory, to ensure that value is added to the coffee that is exported by the union. Josephat said that his organization currently sells 30% of its coffee on Fairtrade terms. With the support of Irish consumers, this can keep rising, ensuring that the social, economic and environmental benefits of fair-trade continue to flow to his colleagues in Tanzania.

Mrs. Hella Alikuru is the Regional Coordinator for the International Union of Food & Agricultural Workers (IUF) Nairobi, Kenya. She advises the trade unions/workers on their participation and their rights within the Fairtrade system. In East Africa, Fairtrade has mainly been involved in flowers, coffee and tea, on large plantations.

On many of these estates there are 3-7,000 people employed and the workers have to live on the estates, which are often remote and cut off from the outside world. Workers earn less than one euro per day and have to buy food, clothing and all necessities with that money. Often they do not have access to electricity or running water. Conditions are very poor in many cases. Children may go to school but often their teachers are unqualified and children are really seen as workers in training. Their poor levels of education ensure that they are locked in a cycle of poverty as they end up as estate workers. Hella worked as a trade unionist on one estate where a woman died giving childbirth and for 5 years Hella campaigned to get some maternity health services in place for the staff.

Hella is involved in Fairtrade activities as an IUF representative for the African region. Although Fairtrade schemes have existed for years on some farms, the challenge has been how to use the premium funds to benefit the workers and enhance their participation in joint employer/worker bodies. In Tanzania, the workers have formed Savings and Credit Schemes and the workers borrow the funds with no interest charged.

In Kenya, using Fairtrade premium funds, some farms have purchased vehicles for the transportation of workers and set up computer training facilities, and in Uganda the funds are mainly used for infrastructure development. For Hella, Fairtrade represents a way out of poverty for the people she represents.

As always it is wonderful to have the opportunity to meet the people from the Fairtrade front line and to hear about the difference that Fairtrade makes in people’s lives. Despite the recession, sales of Fairtrade products are growing so Irish consumers remain convinced that their purchases are making that difference.

Its True - Olly Murs Has Got The HQ Factor

Olly Murs and Simon Cowell

It’s true folks, we have it on very good authority, that the X Factor star Olly Murs has signed a contract to appear in Nightclub HQ in Thurles within the coming weeks.

When contacted separately today HQ Nightclub promoters, Pat Hayes and John Quinn were keeping silent, both refusing to either confirm or deny that Olly is booked to appear.

However sources close to Thurles.Info and within the music business have confirmed that the X Factor star will make an appearance within the coming weeks.

This news comes when just yesterday Olly received the ultimate compliment to his talents, when X-Factor guru and music industry mogul Simon Cowell, signed Olly up for two exclusive record deals with his record company Syco Music and Epic Records.
Sonny Takhar, managing director of Simon’s label, told BBC Newsbeat: “We are thrilled to be involved with Olly. As an artist he ticks every box.”

Despite finishing a close second to Joe McElldery in last year’s X-Factor final, Essex boy Olly Murs has more than convinced both UK and Irish audiences alike of his tangible star quality, helped considerably by his instinctively savvy stage performances, his naturally cool growling rock/pop vocal and his cheeky chappy mischievous grin.

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This boys got talent, there’s no doubt about it. Girls want him and guys want to be him.
Olly’s currently hitting arenas and venues in the UK and Ireland as part of the X-Factor live tour but it looks like he’s being coaxed away from his busy schedule to make this appearance in Thurles’ own premier nightspot, HQ Nighclub.

Should these rumours be true, and our money says it is,  it represents a major coup for HQ Nighclub and Thurles town and will be a night out not to missed.

I for one will be keeping an eye on www.nightclubhq.com and thanking the Man above that my membership is up to date.

Forget the X-Factor Olly, you’ve now got the Nightclub HQ Factor.

50 Euro Dud Notes -Warning

Counterfeit €50 Note.

Businesses in Thurles are being warned to look out for counterfeit money especially €50 notes which are currently in circulation.
Thurles has been the main target for the €50 notes, but Nenagh and Cashel has also been targeted.

Gardaí state that the counterfeit money is not of good quality, but can pass easily in low light conditions such as nightclubs and pubs.

It is understood that the serial numbers on the notes start with the letter V and when held up to the light, the strip is not as pronounced as would be in the genuine note.

Businesses are requested to use scanners on all notes and to be extremely vigilant.

Customers who recieve €50  notes in change from purchases made are also requested to check carefully.

Future Garda Force - Full Powers After 34 Weeks

New training reforms were outlined at a reservists’ passing-out ceremony in the Garda College on Friday last, at Templemore , Co.Tipperary.

New recruits will be given full policing powers, which will include the power of arrest, after just 34 weeks of training.  Presently the current period, before such powers were conferred, was 58 weeks.

New applicants planning to join An Garda Síochána will only be successful if they have a driver’s licence, have first aid training and can swim.

Gardaí will also be offered a range of continuous learning options throughout their careers. Civilians, presently 2,700, working for the Garda force of 14,700 officers, will also be offered enhanced training along side their Gardaí counterparts.

This new training regime has been identified by the Garda Training and Development Review Group established by Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and chaired by former HSE member, Pat McLoughlin.