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Contemplative Thurles Elected Reps. Fail To Answer Basic Questions

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – Quote George Santayana (Spanish Philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist.)

The historic flagstones upon which Padraig Pearse read the 1916 Proclamation outside of Dublin’s General Post Office (GPO) have gone missing, possibly lost for ever to future generations.

The responsible body, namely Dublin City Council, admit that they do not know where these historic paving stones presently exist or whether they were ever reused elsewhere in its city streets.

Dublin City Council has since confirmed that following the refurbishment of O’Connell Street, sometime between the years 2004 and 2007, these historic stones were removed by the Road Maintenance Services and sent to a storage depot in Railway Street, Mountjoy in Dublin.
It was planned that they should be re-used by Road Maintenance Services crews in Dublin city centre locations, where similar paving required complementing.
Regrettably, the records held in Road Maintenance Services do not show where exactly this historic paving from O’Connell street was ever re-used.

Is similar destruction about to be foisted on the residents and business people of Thurles, courtesy Tipperary Co. Council?

Similar destruction may also be about to happen, courtesy Tipperary Co. Council, under the leadership of Mr Joe MacGrath (Chief Executive Tipp. Co. Co.) and Mr Marcus O’Connor (Director of Services for Roads, Transportation and Infrastructure Tipp. Co. Co.).

Yes, we are referring to the possible destruction of the “Double Ditch”. We ask our readers to refresh their memories HERE.

Please see Thurles inner relief road map hereunder, drawn up by Tipperary Co. Council, which appears to indicate that the “Double Ditch”, linking College Lane with the Mill Road is about to be partially at least eradicated.

We had hoped to get reassurance regarding the preservation of the “Double Ditch” and a commitment to its upgrade as a tourist attraction, when we wrote to all elected public representatives and senior Council officials, some 5 weeks ago. However, the silence emanating from all local elected politicians, including Fianna Fáil TD Mr Jackie Cahill; Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry and all County Councillors, within the Templemore / Thurles Municipal District, leave us now fearing the worst possible scenario.

We now cannot be sure what exactly Tipperary County Council is planning.
We are aware Mr Joe MacGrath CE instructed his Secretary, Ms Evelyn Harty, to request that Mr Marcus O’Connor contact us over 5 weeks ago. Alas, Mr O’Connor has failed to do so.

A subsequent 4 week reminder, sent by us, to Mr MacGrath’s office received the following reply from Mr Joe MacGrath’s Secretary, “I acknowledge receipt of your email below on behalf of Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive and confirm that the matter is receiving attention”.

Prior to the formation of the present coalition government, we corresponded with Ms Josepha Madigan TD last May, who was then acting Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

In correspondence received from her, Ms Madigan stated, and I quote, “So far as we understand, there is no direct impact on the “Double Ditch” from any current development. The Department is a statutory consultee in the planning and development process, but our role in this regard is to respond to particular development proposals as referred to us by the planning authority. If there is a particular proposed development which you believe to be of concern, and you can send us details, we can review further.”

A further query was sent to Ms Madigan via Ms Helen Francis (Private Secretary to Minister Ms Madigan), which went totally unanswered.

Since then, Irish Green Party politician Mr Malcolm Noonan TD, has taken on the role of Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform. While our correspondence to him was eventually acknowledged, to date no further information has been forthcoming from his office.
Mr Noonan’s Private Secretary, Ms Danielle McDonnell stated: “On behalf of Mr. Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, I wish to acknowledge receipt of your recent emails in relation to Thurles / Famine Double Ditch. A further reply will issue as soon as possible”.

There comes a time when silence is betrayal.

The spread of misinformation is not achieved by words only; but also on numerous occasions by people remaining completely silent. We have contacted all elected personnel representing Thurles; requesting the answers to 3 simple questions within the last 3 months; result has been silence. This cannot be allowed to continue.

I might point out to Mr Joe MacGrath CE, Mr Marcus O’Connor and all County Councillors the Code of Conduct for Councillors, prescribed under the Local Government Act of 2001.

Need I quote directly from this document: “The public is entitled to expect conduct of the highest standards from all those involved in the local government service, be they councillors, county/city managers, other local authority staff or non-councillor members (“external members”) of local authority committees. The Local Government Act 2001 (“the Act”) sets out a new ethical framework and imposes a statutory duty on all in the local government service to maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct and concern for the public interest.

The 3 questions which now need to be answered by Tipperary Co. Council officials; Templemore / Thurles Municipal District Councillors; Michael Lowry TD and Jackie Cahill TD, are as follows and require simple answers:-

(1). Will the planned Thurles inner relief road impinge, in a negative way, on the 1846 Thurles “Double Ditch”, which has been a right of way and a Mass Path for almost 175 years and which is the property of the people of Thurles?

(2). What are the future plans for the 1798 memorial statue [The Stone Man], first erected in Liberty Square, Thurles in 1900, and still standing there, awaiting removal prior to the new upgrade?

(3). Which Municipal District Councillor is responsible for delaying the Thurles Recycling Civic Amenity, which this town so badly needs?

Please answer these 3 questions in writing please, as failure to do so has already placed you in breach of Tipp. County Council Policy, i.e. “Tipperary County Council is committed to providing an efficient and courteous service to all our customers”.

Note Please: All answers to the 3 questions above, by August 27th, must be sent in written format by email, which you already have. All answers will be published.

We find Tipperary County Councils staff and their officials actions; in their failure to answer questions, similar to the errors made recently by Mr Michael Cawley (Fáilte Ireland – holidaying abroad); Mr Dara Calleary and Mr Jerry Buttimer’s behaviour of last Wednesday night; latter who believed there was one law for them and another law for the great unwashed – their electorate. Those who participate in decision making, same likely to impact local people, must maintain a duty to follow the regulations laid down by government.

I took a walk along the “Double Ditch” this afternoon, no effort by Tipperary County Council to resolve fly-tipping has been undertaken whatsoever, despite our request of October 2019. Dumping however, has increased and trees have been cut down, removed possible for firewood.

We look forward to the questions being answered.

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