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Non Productive TD’s & Councillors Commanding Large Salaries For No Work

Elected representatives (all grades), were given an extra week to answer 3 simple questions, latter posed some 7 weeks previously.
We here at Thurles.Info fully understand that when you are holding down two full-time occupations, both operating simultaneously, things can get slightly up in a heap, if you are attempting to give required necessary attention to both employments. In the words of Abraham Lincoln; “A house divided against itself, cannot stand.”

Having waited over 5 weeks with no replies, we again published publicly our concerns and refreshed our original emails privately, to the individuals named hereunder, setting a time deadline of one week for the answer to the 3 original questions. That deadline, which is now closed, ran out on August 27th 2020.

Inner Relief Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

The 3 questions which required answers from (A) Templemore / Thurles Municipal district; (B) Tipperary Co. Council officials; (C) Mr Michael Lowry TD and (D) Mr Jackie Cahill TD, were as follows:-

(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 and a national monument?
(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 possible removal prior to the new upgrade?
Note: [We recently published replies on this matter HERE.]
(3). Which Municipal District Councillor is responsible for delaying the Thurles Recycling Civic Amenity, which this town so badly needs?

We refreshed our original email, of 5 weeks previous, on August 22nd 2020 to:-
seamus.hanafin@tipperarycoco.ie, – Note: Mr Seamus Hanafin replied in full.
seano.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie, – Note: Mr Sean Ryan replied in full.
It is important for the local electorate, to note before the next local elections, that of the 14 people contacted, only 2 elected officials answered our 3 questions, namely Mr Sean Ryan (Fianna Fáil) and Mr Seamus Hanafin (Fianna Fáil). Latter are also probably the only councillors who actually work and achieve in our Thurles Municipal District.
If I am wrong, please send me details of all your previous achievements, so that I can publish them with your picture and offer my sincerest public apology for any of my short comings.

We were not so lucky with those named underneath.
joe.macgrath@tipperarycoco.ie, – Latter current CE of Tipperary Co. Council.
roisin.ogrady@tipperarycoco.ie, – Tipperary Heritage Officer & Creative Ireland Coordinator.
Councillors
micheal.lowry@tipperarycoco.ie,
jim.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie,
noel.coonan@tipperarycoco.ie,
peter.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie,
shane.lee@tipperarycoco.ie,
eddie.moran@tipperarycoco.ie,
michael.smith@tipperarycoco.ie.
Teachtaí Dála (TD’s)
malcolm.noonan@oireachtas.ie, – Green Party T.D., Minister of State for Heritage & Electoral Reform.
jackie.cahill@oireachtas.ie, – Tipperary Fianna Fáil TD.
michaellowrytd@gmail.com, – Tipperary Independent TD.

At this point it is well worth taking a look at payments to Tipperary County Councillors (1st January to 31st March 2020), per a Tipperary County Council pdf shown HERE. (Scroll down the pages of this pdf to see individual earnings.)

So without getting into the ‘Nitty Gritty’ of financial payments/expenses to local councillors, we appear to be talking about a one 12 week period, with Councillors getting on average €8,000 = €666.66 per week, (almost weekly double Covid-19 payments) to people, most of whom find it beneath them to answer a simple email question.

Silence denotes both compliance and betrayal.

We acknowledge the fact that we received 1 automatic reply from Ms Roisin O’Grady stating “I am on leave Monday August 24th and will respond to your email on my return”.
However Ms O’Grady had plenty of opportunity to reply 5 weeks before going on holidays, but had failed to do so. Ms O’Grady’s job title, ‘Tipperary Heritage Officer & Creative Ireland Coordinator’ appears to be more honoured in tradition than observance and her failure to respond is either what Mr John McGuinness TD once called official “obfuscation”, i.e. her bosses, making certain information she may have sought, obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.

We acknowledge an automatic reply from Mr Joe MacGrath, who stated “if this matter requires attention prior to the 18th August, 2020. I am away from my office.” Today is Monday the 7th day of September, still no reply from Mr MacGrath, CE Tipperary Co. Council. On behalf of Mr MacGrath two acknowledgements were received from a Staff Officer in Corporate Services, on the 11th day of August which stated “I acknowledge receipt of your email below on behalf of Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive and confirm that the matter is receiving attention”. The ‘attention’ was supposed to come from Mr Marcus O’Connor (latter Director of Services Roads, Transportation, Infrastructure and Nenagh Municipal District). You have guessed it, Mr O’Connor decided 7 weeks ago to ignore the instructions of Mr MacGrath, (CE Tipperary Co. Council).

After almost 6 weeks of silence we received a reply from Tipperary Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry.
Laughingly, Mr Lowry TD states, “I wish to acknowledge your email. Unfortunately, I don’t always have access to my emails, and this may result in a delayed reply. If your query is urgent please contact my office on (0504) 22022 or email: michael.lowry@oireachtas.ie.”

Perhaps the oddest reply however came from a member of “The Michael Lowry Team”, namely team member and Councillor Mr Eddie Moran. Mr Moran replied and I quote directly “Don’t like skip all emails”. We are still trying to interpret the true meaning of Mr Moran’s email communication.

Not surprisingly, TD Mr Jackie Cahill, the new Chairman of some meagre Agriculture Committee or other, and who we are aware had returned from his ‘Spring Recess’ spent in Cheltenham Race Festival, Gloucestershire, England, during the Covid-19 lockdown, can’t open his mail box either, so 7 weeks later and despite 2 emails received by him, he has failed completely to reply.

Finally, we also received a standard reply from the office of Mr Malcolm Noonan, T.D., (Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform). Mr Noonan stated, “Thank you for contacting the departmental office of Malcolm Noonan, T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform. Your email will be reviewed and a response will issue in due course, should one be required. Le gach dea-ghuí”. We expect to talk to Minister Noonan shortly.

Questions seeking replies, were not sent to Mr Mattie McGrath TD or Mr Alan Kelly TD, as same were regarded as being a waste of precious time, based on previous dealings with both offices.

So Where Do We Go From Here?
The ‘Code of Conduct for Councillors’, please view HERE; prescribed under the Local Government Act of 2001, states clearly :- “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 general conduct and behaviour of councillors in carrying out their role is an important yardstick by which the honesty, integrity, impartiality and performance of local government is judged and public trust maintained. It is important therefore that these core values underpin all actions of councillors affecting local authority business. As holders of elected office they have a duty to keep faith with the public trust placed in them. This is a personal responsibility and requires them to observe the highest ethical standards in the performance of their role.”

This statement is in no way contained in small print for our elected public representatives to read.

We have now contacted the Standards In Public Office Commission (SIPO) and we understand that complaints concerning local authority officials should first be made to the Ethics Registrar, stationed within the relevant local authority.

Tipperary Co. Council has, through their switchboard operator, confirmed to us on Tuesday last, as did the Standards In Public Office Commission, that Mr Ger Walsh (Senior Executive Officer, Corporate Services), is currently the Co. Tipperary ‘Ethics Registrar’. Failure now by Mr Walsh to persuade the named local councillors and officials to reply to the questions asked previously, and to apologise for their attempt to undermine the people of Thurles; will result in the matter being again returned and dealt with, directly by SIPO.

Complaints concerning our 2 local TD’s should, according to SIPO, be raised with the Committee on Members Interests. Regrettably however, the work of this Committee ceased with the dissolution of the 32nd Dáil on January 14th last. Having contacted the Houses of the Oireachtas, we now learn that Quote; “the Committee on Members’ Interests has again been established and we expect Membership and staffing to be arranged shortly, when the 33rd Dáil returns from its summer recess”.

The people of Thurles have a right to know what decisions are being made behind the scenes, from those we select on our behalf. From today, all further communications received by this website, from those we have called into question above, will be published publicly, for our 8,000 daily readers.

Following legal advice today, we will be commenting further on what we believe is an attempt to destroy existing Thurles heritage, by those sworn to protect heritage and the local and business community.

Alas, we find ourselves in a situation, where our politicians and councillors, in recent days, here in Co. Tipperary, have rejected Covid-19 frontline worker e.g. Nurses, Doctors, Gardaí, Retail Staff, Teachers, Postal Workers, etc., throwing their support instead, behind a dozen publicans. Their action, defy the advice and wishes of the elected Irish Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), in their efforts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic currently destroying our economy.

When politicians and councillors run to hide in back offices in the days ahead, those remaining to work in the frontline should, come the next local and general elections, express their rage at the ballot box.

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