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Financial Boost For Arts Fund In County Tipperary

The Source Arts Centre

The arts here in Co Tipperary are set for a major financial boost following the announcement of nearly €400,000 in funding from the Arts Council.

The Arts Council has confirmed it will invest in five Tipperary organisations around the county, based on their already proven track record to date.

The organisations to benefit are as follows:-

Source Arts Centre Thurles, who will benefit to the tune of €65,000.

North Tipperary County Council Arts Office,who will receive €105,000.

Clonmel Junction festival, in South Tipperary, who will receive €118,750.

South Tipperary County Council arts office, to receive €69,358.

Tipperary Excel Heritage Company, who will benefit to the tune €37,500.

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English Rugby Grand Slam Failure

Losing the Grand Slam to Ireland was not bad enough, now England must suffer the blushes brought about by a leaked YouTube video, not to mention the thousands of unwanted commemorative T-shirts, (I said don’t mention the T-shirts) following Saturday’s 24-8 defeat at Aviva Stadium Lansdowne Road.

England’s official kit suppliers Nike produced a special video under the title ‘Grand Slam Champions 2011,‘ which features a montage of Benjamin Foden, (Thurles born Una Healy of The Saturday’s Girl Band fame must be laughing) Toby Flood and Chris Ashton, together with other players, all living the dream in expectation of completing their first Six Nations clean sweep since 2003.

Much to the delight of Tipperary and Munster staunch rugby supporters, it also emerged that Nike had printed 5,000 special limited edition T-shirts, which were due to go on sale after the final whistle at Waterloo, Kings Cross, Euston and Charing Cross train stations.

Still one of these T-shirts could become a collectors item in the future.

Despite their Grand Slam failure, England still claimed the Six Nations championship but find themselves behind Ireland in the world rankings.

Never count the chickens until they are hatched” I believe is the appropriate quote.

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Moriarty Tribunal Inquiry Publish Lowry Findings

The second and final report of the Moriarty Tribunal has been finally published.

This inquiry was initially established in 1997,  to examine the financial affairs of former Taoiseach Charles James ‘Charlie’ Haughey and former Fine Gael Communications Minister and newly elected Tipperary North Constituency Independent TD, Michael Lowry.

Deputy M. Lowry

This newly published final report (For Report click Here) details the investigation into possible links between businessman Denis O’Brien and Michael Lowry.

Ireland’s second mobile phone licence was awarded to Denis O’Brien’s company Digifone in 1995. Mr Lowry was then Communications Minister when the controversial  mobile phone licence was granted.

The report states that it is ‘beyond doubt ‘ that Michael Lowry imparted substantive information to Denis O’Brien which was ‘of significant value and assistance to him (Denis O’Brien) in securing the licence.

The report refers to Mr Lowry’s ‘cynical and venal abuse of office,‘ his ‘brazen refusal ‘ to acknowledge the ‘impropriety ‘ of his financial arrangements with Mr O’Brien and Mr Ben Dunne, and his ‘contemptuous disregard ‘ for his taxation obligations.

The report is also damning of evidence given by the North Tipp Deputy to the Tribunal, stating that his evidence was ‘formulaic, and entirely inconsistent and at variance with evidence.

Deputy Michael Lowry stated in a response, that he totally rejects the tenure of the Moriarty report. “His report is factually wrong and deliberately misleading. Moriarty has outrageously abused the Tribunal’s ability to form opinions which are not substantiated by evidence or fact.

In a statement following this latest publication Mr Denis O’Brien said, “I wish to state in the most categoric terms, once again, that I never made any payment to Michael Lowry in his capacity as a government minister, as a public representative or as a private citizen. I believe it is unprecedented in the history of this country that a High Court judge would make such fundamental errors which went to the heart of the credibility and integrity of a Tribunal process.

Fine Gael Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stated, “This is a report that deserves serious analysis and it will get that from this Government.”  He said, “This is a matter of grave importance with major implications for the State and for the taxpayer.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil a short time ago that members of of his Party would be available to answer questions in the Dáil, regarding any part they played in the awarding of the mobile phone licence to Esat Digiphone, in 1995.

This reports findings now raises profound questions, regarding Mr Michael Lowry’s suitability to remain in public Office.

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Second Tipperary Venue Type Casino Sought For Dublin

Casino Gambling

It was only a matter of time I suppose, but today, ‘The Irish Times‘ newspaper brings us news of a proposal for yet another €300 million Super-Casino, this time on the banks of the river Liffey.

Treasury Holdings, whose loans are presently in Nama have submitted a proposal to the Department of Justice, in conjunction with an international casino operator.

Treasury Holdings founding shareholder, Johnny Ronan, dubbed The Buccaneer, went into business in his twenties with his father, who started out as a pig-trader in Tipperary and went on to work in property. Ronan then studied accounting in Waterford Institute of Technology and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Treasury Holdings state that its Spencer Dock site near Dublin Port is an “ideal location” for the construction of a large-scale Casino as part of a regeneration of this area.

Rather like the Tipperary Venue, it also claims the development could attract three million visitors a year and create 2,200 new jobs in the Dublin region. The venture could boost spending in the local economy by up to  €75 million a year and generate more than €40 million per year in gaming taxes.

According to the submission, a large-scale casino, including hotel, convention and spa facilities, along with restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and a bowling alley, (No Racecourse) would be 50,000-75,000 sq metres in size and would cost between €250 million and €300 million to develop.

The proposal states, that for a large scale Casino to be financially viable, there must be sufficient demand. “This generally means locating the Casino Resort in or near population centres, where it is easily accessible by local customers and tourists.”

The submission also claims the development would employ 1,750 people as well as creating 450 jobs in tourism. About 2,000 jobs in construction would be created over a 2½-year period.

The name of this company has been withheld on the documents released on grounds of commercial sensitivity.

It rejects the contention that problem gambling will rise, with the introduction of such large-scale casinos.

Meanwhile a planning decision on the Tipperary Venue is expected very shortly.


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Barack Obama’s Ancestoral Church & Schoolhouse Moneygall

Deputy Noel Coonan has warmly greeted the news that US President Barack Obama will visit Moneygall in May and highly complimented the efforts of Rev Canon Stephen Neill and the residents of Moneygall, in helping to secure this visit.

The local Fine Gael TD spoke with Taoiseach Enda Kenny prior to his St. Patrick’s Day trip to the US last week and hand delivered documents, from Canon Neill, to the Taoiseach which were then taken to America.

School & Templeharry Church, where US President Barack Obama's ancestors attended.

These same documents outlined the President’s strong ancestral history in Moneygall ( Village name means ‘shrubbery of the foreigners.’) and Deputy Coonan said he is pleased that his efforts have further assisted this historical visit to come to fruition.

Deputy Coonan stated: “I look forward with great excitement to President Obama’s visit, which will also be a huge tourism boost to this area. The people of Moneygall have shown great patience, good will and dedication to ensure that this visit materialises and those same traits will be fully recognised when President Obama comes to our constituency in May next. It will be indeed a momentous and uplifting occasion for our constituency.

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