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Tipperary Casino Given Go-Ahead By An Bord Pleanála

Model of proposed Two-Mile-Borris Casino

An Bord Pleanála, went against the advice of it’s own planning inspectorate today, and has given the go-ahead for a Casino, an eight storey 500 bedroom hotel and an indoor racetrack complex / golf facility at Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, here in Co Tipperary. However, the board refused permission for a proposed 15,000 seater music venue on the site.

A number of local people together with An Taisce had strongly opposed the plan, with An Taisce stating its scale and size would have significant environmental and economic consequences for the local area and would cannibalise local businesses and already established racing and golf venues in Munster.

See Planning Application HerePlanning Appeal Here.  See Planning Inspectors Report Here.

Note, that while a An Bord Pleanála Inspector appears to recommend refusal, the project has now been given the go ahead, supported by a number of major horse breeders in the Munster region.

So far the only mention of financial backers for this project are ‘a foreign consortium.’

The site, which has a stated area of circa 330 hectares, is within the townlands of Noard, Newhill, Leigh and Borris c. 11km to the east of Thurles town centre, 1.8km to the south-east of Twomileborris and c.4km to the north-east of Littleton. The site is bounded by the M8 to the north, the N75 to the north-east, agricultural and Coillte Forestry lands to the east, Bord na Mona bog lands to the south and agricultural lands to the west. Of the 330 hectares approx. 110 hectares comprises of agricultural land with the remainder (c.220 hectares) under commercial forestry.

Horseracing Ireland, Bord na gCon, Horse Sport Ireland, Shannon Development and the Thurles Chamber of Commerce are among the bodies who made submissions in favour of the project.

The promoter behind the Tipperary Venue, Richard Quirke of Dr Quirkey’s Emporium on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, had already stated that the project would not go ahead if the proposed Casino element was not allowed. Mr Quirke also stated that about 1,000 jobs will be created during construction, and 1,350 full-time jobs when project is completed.

This would appear to be the first time, in the history of the Irish State, that major planning permission has been granted for a project, for which overdue national legislation has not been publically discussed or approved by Government.

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Limerick V Waterford In Semple’s Field Thurles Tomorrow

Waterford V Limerick Semple Stadium

Hurling managers Davy Fitzgerald and Donal O’Grady have confirmed their starting line-ups for tomorrow’s Munster SHC semi-final in Semple Stadium, Thurles.

Limerick Senior hurling manager Donal O’Grady has handed debuts to 3 three Championship newcomers in their clash against Waterford.  Named players to make their debuts in Semple field are Richie Mc Carthy, Sean Tobin and Kevin Downes. Young forward Declan Hannon, who was impressive during Limerick’s Division 2 title-winning run, is absent due to current Leaving Cert examinations.

Limerick are seeking their first win in the Munster championship since 2007, a challenge made difficult by last year’s internal wrangling which placed them in Division 2 this year. The Limerick side also shows 13 changes from the side that lost to Cork last year.

Limerick’s 15:- N. Quaid; D. Reale, S. Hickey; T. Condon; W. McNamara; B. Geary, G. O’Mahony; D. O’Grady, P. Browne; J. Ryan; R. McCarthy; N. Moran; S. Tobin; K. Downes; G. Mulcahy.

Meanwhile, Clare legend Davy Fitzgerald and Waterford team management will open up their defence of the Munster SHC, having named their team. following final training last night. Players include Fives, Mahony and O’Sullivan who played for Waterford’s Under-21s in their Championship loss to Tipperary last week, along with Noel Connors and Maurice Shanahan, who will start at corner back and wing forward this weekend. Eoin Kelly, Waterford’s regular free-taker over the past number of years, has been omitted from the team.

Waterford’s 15:- C. Hennessy; D. Fives; W. Hutchinson; N.Connors; T. Browne; M. Walsh; K. Moran; S. O’Sullivan; R. Foley; P. Mahony; S. Molumphy; M. Shanahan; J. Mullane; S. Walsh; B. O’Sullivan.

Throw-In is 4.00pm in Semple Stadium, Thurles.

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No New Garda Recruits For Templemore Training College

The final group of 126 student Gardai will graduates from the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, next Thursday and there will now be no new students in training, due to the moratorium on recruitment with effect from that date.

Presently, there is no indication when any further new students will begin training at the Templemore college and fears are being expressed that experienced Garda officers nationally will now begin leaving the Republic’s force in the coming months.

Present Gardai, employed here in the Republic, are also expected to be attracted by a new recruitment campaign, targeting their members, by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) who are launching a campaign designed to attract senior officers from existing police forces both in England and the Irish Republic, thus providing an increased policing service in the North to effectively meet current terrorist threats. Financing of this new recruitment drive, by the PSNI is being provided by an additional grant of €245m to the PSNI earlier this year, to assist the Northern Ireland force in combating serious security threats, posed by criminal dissident republicans.

This student vacuum created at the Templemore College is now expected to result in a redeployment of some experienced training officers and other staff, who will be offered operational duties elsewhere, while the immediate future of the college will be become dependant on ‘In Service ‘ and ‘Pre Retirement Courses,’ providing some work for the few remaining full-time personnel.

The Republic’s overall Garda Force now stands at 14,000 and the Government have confirmed their intention to reduce this number by up to 1,000 members by 2014.

Templemore and Thurles view this situation as a serious financial blow to both town’s local economies.

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Restoration Of Portumna Bridge Nearing Completion

Section of the bridge being replaced in 2008.

Bridge being replaced in 2008.

Restoration work currently being undertaken on Portumna Bridge is nearing completion.  A  works programme costing in the region of €2 million has been underway, on this five-span road bridge over the Shannon, since October of last year.

North Tipperary Co Council have now been informed that this prolonged works on the Bridge, originally designed by C. E. Stanier of London as the largest early-twentieth century swivel bridge in Europe, should be completed by mid July of this year.

The Shannon River at this point consists of two channels divided by ‘Hayes Island,’ the one on the North Tipperary side being about 79 m (260 ft) wide, and that on the Galway side being about 73 m (240 ft) wide.

Each channel is spanned by three pairs of mild-steel plate girders, either 24 m (80 ft) or 27 m (90 ft) in length, resting on 3 m (9 ft) diameter concrete-filled cast-iron cylinders.

This present restoration works follow on from the 2008 replacement of the vehicular crossing of the bridge, which has served as a key crossing point on the Shannon for North Tipperary, South Offaly and East Galway since it was first construction in 1911. This latter replacement work was completed during a 9 day road closure of the N65 at Portumna, with the road being re-opened ahead of schedule.

The present work is being overseen by the National Roads Authority, with the contract being carried out by specialists L&M Keating engineers. The work is being carried out under difficult working conditions, with traffic being managed by the installation of a traffic light system, which has resulted in traffic tailbacks on both sides of the bridge, causing understandable, yet necessary, annoyance to both workers, travellers and local business in the area.

So if you are travelling in that direction over the next month, do plan your journey to allow for some delays.

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Korean TV Documentary To Feature Thurles

Sunyoung Lee, Film Coordinator and Ji-Dong Joo who visited Thurles recently.

Representatives of Munhwa Broadcasting Corp (MBC) visited Thurles recently with a view to making a two part film documentary for South Korean broadcasting, based on the Irish Potato.

The representatives, led by Miss Sunyoung Lee, Film Crew Coordinator, were met by a member of the new Tipperary tourism group ‘Hidden Tipperary,’ headed by George Willoughby and taken to lunch, courtesy of  Mr Frank Mulcahy at the Anner Hotel, Thurles, before being shown points of interest within the Thurles area, including St. Mary’s Famine museum.

MBC’s Wonju City film crew have now confirmed that they will be filming in Thurles, on the afternoon of Thursday June 16th next.

The populous Wonju City, which is 140 km (90 Miles) east of Seoul is in the province of Kangwon-do (6,522.81 Sq Meters) and also known worldwide as being historically one of the most sophisticated and finest food and cuisine areas in Korea. Wonju city is home to three major universities which attract many students from Seoul and elsewhere.

The city is home to two U.S. Army bases, Camps ‘Long,’ and ‘Eagle.’ An active foreign population of English teachers currently live in Wonju and frequent the many wonderful restaurants and bars within the city. Wonju is also within 20 km of two ski resorts, Hyundai Sungwoo and Oak Valley, which attract many foreign visitors throughout the ski season and provide a range of runs for beginners and for the more experienced skier and snowboarders, who frequent the area. The city is also home to one of Korea’s top basketball teams.

Recently Wonju City was appointed as a ‘Seed Potato Provider,’ for Eastern countries in Asia, and MBC, as the Regional Broadcasting Media are charged with delivering in-depth documentary feature films on the stories behind national branded potato and cuisines in other countries, with Ireland and Germany targeted as being the coverage destinations.

Two areas in Thurles have been identified to be featured in the upcoming documentary. These are Inch House, who grow most of their own organic vegetables to supply their own legendary restaurant and St. Mary’s Famine Museum, who tell the tale of a less enjoyable side to the history of our beloved Irish potato.

Photo Courtesy: George Willoughby

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