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real feel: 3°C
wind speed: 4 m/s SW
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sunset: 8:46 pm


Könnten Wir Bitte Ihre Leere Plastikflaschen Und Dosen Haben?

Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The city is regarded as the cultural centre of the Westphalia Region and renowned as the bicycle capital of Germany. Recently a friend of mine visited that lovely city and returned with the following true story.

Leading a group of some 20 other persons in Münster; my friend became aware that they were being followed, from a distance, by two elderly and possibly homeless persons. My friends group paused for a while at a nearby recognised picnic site, to consume some snacks and drinks, before being approached by these gentlemen, who inquired formally in German, “Könnten wir bitte ihre leere Plastikflaschen und Dosen haben?”  One of the company who spoke the German language translated; “Please can we have your empty plastic bottles and cans”?

My friend explained that in Münster as indeed in Germany, a deposit refund system was in place, to repel the growing plastic waste crisis. Every drink can and plastic bottle collected, when returned to vendors, is rewarded by a payment of 15 cents each, which had been previously charged when the product was initially purchased. These two men would redeem €3.00, if 20 plastic or metal drink containers were returned to vendors.

The returned containers are then reused or recycled. This system of recycling has proven to be extremely effective in the recovering of up to 98% of all such containers.

Drink containers are the convenience packaging for products used for outdoor recreation.

Here in Ireland our metal cans and plastic drink containers are to be found dumped in every nook and cranny. “Tidy Towns” judges, together with the “Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL)”, regularly highlight the issue within towns and villages, but rural country areas remain ignored with same items dropped to roll around on our streets; to be thrown into our gardens and unto our road sides by passers-by and motorists; while also being dumped into our rivers and onto the 7,000km of our golden beaches, to become the flotsam and jetsam of “God knows where,” depending on the currents and Tides.

The “Repak Model” of recycling is seen as being adequate by a short sighted Irish Department of the Environment. However, while it may be profitable for Repak; do take a look around our streets and you will see Ireland operates a “one use and then litter” model, with immediate change now fundamentally crucial. It would appear that our appointed legislators are possibly under pressure, from waste collection business operators, latter who only manage to recycle about 39% of our cans and plastic bottles (given to them for free), leaving 61% (43,000 tonnes) to decorate our green landscape.

But imagine the difference it would make to our unspoiled coastal regions; our rural countryside, our villages, towns and cities, if a deposit refund system were to be put in place, in a state that is growing more and more dependent on regular foreign Tourism.

The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark have operated successful ‘deposit refund systems’ for years. The UK have just announced they are about to introduce a similar deposit refund scheme, while Ireland continues to drown in its own litter, dependent on individuals to come out, voluntarily, to pick up and clean up after those who dump their unwanted garbage.

God be with the late 50’s, when my friends and I would rush down to the village with our empty ‘Taylor Keith’ cochineal reddened, fizzy, lemonade bottles and with the refund, buy a few Peggy’s Legs or a few strawberry flavoured Bubble Gum Balls, [latter banned in my house because same were seen to be ‘dirty’ and ‘unmannerly’, according to my grandmother, especially “in front of other respectable visiting adults.”].

Here in Ireland we will probably have to wait until the EU make ‘deposit refund systems’ compulsory, and the sooner the better. Understandably reverse vending machines operating a deposit-and-return drinks container regime, is not as popular with our elected County Councillors, as are Parking Metres in our town centres.


Death Of Noel Connaughton, Thurles, Tipperary

It was with a great personal sadness that I learned of the death yesterday, Sunday 1st April 2018, of Mr Noel Connaughton, No. 5 Clobanna Tce, Mitchell Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary and formerly of Lanesborough, Co. Longford.

Predeceased by his brothers Declan, Lorcan and sister Mary; Mr Connaughton passed away peacefully, following a long illness most bravely borne, and while in the loving care of Milford Hospice Co. Limerick.

His passing is most deeply regretted by his loving wife Josephine; daughter Bernadette; Brothers Sean (Newbridge), Michael and Joseph (Lanesborough); brothers-in-law; sisters-in-law; nieces; nephews; cousins; extended relatives, and a wide circle of friends.

Funeral Arrangements
The earthly remains of Mr Connaughton will lie in repose at Egan’s Funeral Home, Dublin Road, Thurles on tomorrow evening Tuesday 3rd April 2018 from 5.00pm with removal at 7.30pm to the Cathedral of the Assumption, Cathedral Street, Thurles to arrive at 8.00pm.

Requiem Mass will be held on Wednesday morning at 11.00am, followed by interment immediately afterwards in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Moyne Rd, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Note Please: No flowers. Donations in lieu, if desired, to Milford Hospice Limerick.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.


2018 Tipperary Rose Is Laura Durkan

Headed For The Dome!

Congratulations to twenty six year old Miss Laura Durkan, a native of Glenconnor, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

The lovely Miss Durkan has been selected as the 2018 Tipperary Rose to represent the Premier County, for the coveted title of International Rose of Tralee, at the Rose of Tralee Festival.

Miss Durkan was chosen from some 12 other hopefuls, to represent Co. Tipperary at a special selection event in the Anner Hotel here in Thurles last night, and will now travel to Tralee to represent Tipperary, this coming August.

Rose of Tralee International Festival – 17th to 21st August 2018

The Rose of Tralee International Festival remains one of the largest and longest running festivals in Ireland, celebrating 59 years in 2018. The heart of the festival is the selection of the Rose of Tralee which brings young women of Irish descent from around the world to County Kerry, Ireland, for a global celebration of Irish culture.

The festival will also includes street entertainment, carnival, live concerts, theatre, circus, markets, funfair, fireworks and Rose Parades.

To Miss Durkan go our congratulations and every best wish in this upcoming event.


OPW Heritage Sites Free To Visit

The Swiss Cottage Cahir

Access to most OPW-managed heritage sites will remain free to visit on the first Wednesday of every month, again this year.

Families looking for a cheap day out in areas around Ireland, now have no excuse to remain caged up at home, over the coming weekends, for the duration of the upcoming holiday season.

So if you want to visit the towns of Thurles, Cashel, Cahir, Clonmel, Roscrea, Nenagh, or even further afield, with your family, now is your chance at very reasonable cost for your outing.

Do remember that Tickets are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and visitors are advised to arrive early to avoid delays at some of the busier sites.

Visit heritageireland.ie for more information.


Mikey Ryan Calls HSE’s Actions Into Question

“Mikey, have you ever noticed that all women’s problems start with “MEN”, well as a general rule anyway? said I after much reflection.

Mikey Ryan & myself were above in the The Arch Bar in Liberty Square, for the first time ever, of a Good Friday night, when I broached; well what I considered at least, to be a very debatable question.

“How do you mean ‘Men’; I’m not sure I fully understand your question?” replied Mikey.
“Well, women suffer an awful lot from the MENopause, MENtal illness, MENstrual tension, they are well noted for often behaving like MANiacs, and are forever visiting GUYnaecologist, not to mention undergoing HISterectomies”, I replied, “Now, if that don’t indicate an overall male influence on women, then what does?”

“Tell me, this and tell me no more; talking about medical problems”, said Mikey, “But is it me or is it that feckin Health Service Executive (HSE), that has gone totally mad?”

“I’m not sure I understand what exactly you mean”, said I, truthfully.
“Well, in the strictest confidence”, said Mikey in a low tone, “Paddy, that’s me 85-year-old father, went over to the Doctor on Wednesday last, for his half yearly check-up, to be told he would need to supply a sperm count, as part of his physical examination”.
“The doctor gave me father, Paddy, a bottle”, continued Mikey, “Telling him to take this container home and to bring him back a sperm sample tomorrow.”

“Well, the very next day me father made the return trip to the Doctor’s Surgery and gave him back the bottle; unused and as clean as a whistle. Needless to say, the Doc wanted an explanation”, continued Mikey.

My father explained, “Well, doc”, said he, ’twas like this, first I tried with my right hand; nothing. Then I tried with my left hand; still nothing. Then I asked the wife to assist. She then tried, first with her right hand, then with her left; still nothing. She tried with her mouth; first with her teeth in, then with her teeth out; result still nothing. Sure I even called in Mary and her sister Kay from next door.  They tried, first separately and then together, first with both hands, then using an armpit, and sure Mary even tried squeezing it between her knees, but still nothing.”

The doctor’s complexion turned sickly pale, before seeking confirmation, “Your telling me, you actually asked your next door neighbours”, he queried in disbelief. According to Mikey, his father replied, “Doc, I’m sorry to say it, but it’s a fact; and despite all our efforts, we still failed miserably to remove the screw cap off that feckin bottle.”

“Give us the same again their Pat”, said I, “I think it’s your turn to do the honours this time Mikey; am I right?”