Deputy Kenny and Deputy Coonan met with the Chief Executive officer of Tipperary Institute Mr Paidraig Culbert, who confirmed that the college would actively partake in establishing a Centre for Energy Innovation in the Mid West Region.
At the historic Hayes Hotel, both Deputies met with representatives from Thurles Chamber, together with Fine Gael local election candidates, local supporters and deputations from surrounding towns and villages, who had travelled especially for the visit by both Deputies.
Assembled deputations together with Thurles Chamber members, latter led by their President Thomas V. Ryan, voiced numerous concerns to Deputy Kenny over issues such as:
- The spiralling banking crisis.
- Rising unemployment in the county.
- The property tax on second homes.
- The security of small businesses in the locality.
- Tourism and the alarming destruction of Thurles Heritage.
- The serious lack of confidence in the Governments handling of economic issues.
Deputy Coonan confirmed that he is continuously pushing for Thurles industries and is presently seeking state investment to deliver natural gas to Thurles and to this end, is in discussions with the CEO of Bord Gais on this same issue. Deputy Coonan stated:
“Ireland as a whole, has an unusually high dependence on oil. Approximately 56% of all energy comes from oil, compared to 36% worldwide and 41% in Europe. New sources of supply are expected to come on stream after 2009/10, including the Corrib gas field and potentially the Shannon Liquefied Natrual Gas (LNG) terminal. There is also further indigenous production and storage opportunites in the Celtic Sea.”
Following their visit to Hayes Hotel, the deputation went to Tipperary Institute where they met with Chief Executive Padraig Culbert. The CEO highlighted the broad range of strengths the establishment has in the energy sector and how it could progressively contribute towards the Fine Gael Proposal for a Centre for Energy Innovation in the Mid West Region.
“This college has been instrumental in generating interest in farm based renewable energy and currently is heavily involved in establishing a bio-energy industry and in generating information on home energy saving schemes. This college also offers courses in Building Energy Rating, Renewable Energy and Domestic Sustainable Energy courses.”
A presentation by Ciarán Lynch, Director of Sustainable Rural Development at Tipperary Institute, outlined ongoing problems with planning applications, development in rural Ireland and the importance of social inclusion.
Fine Gael recently issued 13 proposals to support the people of the Mid West as they deal with changing economic situations in the region. One such proposal is the goal of Ireland being a net exporter of green energy within a decade, aided by an energy centre fund which could be financed by both the public and private sectors.
Tipperary Institute confirmed their commitment to working to become an originator of energy research and a driver for energy change in Ireland. This confirmation was warmly welcomed by all present who expressed their eagerness to work with Fine Gael and to continue to move current projects forward.