Thurles Double Ditch – Tipperary County Council Continue In Their Silence

We welcome the anticipated new Thurles Tourism Office to the building once known as the old National Bank building and gifted to Thurles by Shannon Development under the governance of Thurles Development Association, Shannon Development and Tipperary County Board G.A.A..

Thurles has, it now appears, two Tourist Offices, one new office on Slievenamon road and one other, some 100 metres away in Bookworm on Liberty Square.

Same is being opened at a time when Liberty Square is desolate, being redeveloped/upgraded; at a time when even the Swifts and Swallows have returned back to Africa; in the middle of a COVID-19 virus pandemic; and of course at a time when Tipperary County Council has decided to destroy much of Thurles Town’s valuable heritage, namely the Great Famine Double Ditch monument.
Nevertheless we wish those involved, in the Thurles Tourism Office, every good wish for the future.

Thurles To Open A Second Tourist Office.

For those of our readers following our efforts to preserve and retain our heritage, please read HERE to refresh your memories before reading content hereunder.

My reply to Mr David Coleman, (Ethics Registrar, Corporate Services, Tipperary Co. Council.)

I thank you for your communication of the 23rd instant.

Let me deal with the first part of your communication. You stated: “The appropriate response in the case of your queries should come from the Thurles Municipal District Executive, i.e. the District Manager or the District Administrator. I understand that you have received a reply to your queries from the Acting District Manager.

Allow me to remind you of the original question asked two months ago: “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?

The reply which came from Ms Janice Gardiner (Acting District Manager) stated:- “Tipperary County Council has reviewed all documentation relating to the planning aspects of the Thurles Inner Relief Road Project and can find no reference to the existence of the feature/path/monument you describe.”

Do you now, Mr Coleman, believe that the above reply from Ms Gardiner (Acting District Manager), answers the original question asked 6 weeks previously?

See link
Were Ms Gardiner to arise from her desk and travel a mere 1610 metres from her office, she can physically view the same “feature/path/monument” that I described, which looms exceedingly large on the local Mill Road, landscape.

As you can see from the link HERE, I have requested (on September 17th 2020) from Ms Gardiner, (and referring to the An Bord Pleanala Report PL79.JP00242013; Archaeological Impact Statement; and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Report 2013), quote, “I now request copies of all 3 reports to be sent directly to me, in the knowledge that there is a charge for such copies, which I will pay for, immediately on receipt.”

Mr Coleman, I first made contact with you via Mr Ger Walsh in my effort to obtain answers to questions which seven of nine elected Councillors refused to answer over a then seven week period. The nature of the questions, numbering 1 & 2, were urgent, as developers were already in place, beginning their contractual commitments.

Note: The Standards in Public Office Commission which promotes transparency and accountability in Irish public life, (SIPO) correctly informed me via their Complaints Shared Mailbox on 28th August 2020, at 11:49 : –
“Dear Mr Willoughby,
Our most up to date records state that the Ethics Registrar for Tipperary County Council is Mr Ger Walsh. This position is one which is required by statute to change frequently however, so it may be prudent to check with the Council who holds the position currently. The Oireachtas should be able to advise you on when a new Committee will be established, the Standards in Public Office Commission has no role in considering Ethics complaints concerning TDs.” 

So that there now remains no misunderstanding, having checked with a telephonist at Tipperary Co. Council, (Tel: 0761 065000), I was Informed that Mr Ger Walsh remained the Ethics Registrar.

The functions of any local authority are to provide a forum for the democratic representation of the local community and to provide civic leadership for that community. It is also charged under the Local Government Act, 2001 (section 64)to promote interest among young people in democracy and local government and in community and civic affairs generally”

Do you believe therefore that it is in keeping that one elected Council member, namely Mr Michaél Lowry should ask me, 7 weeks after addressing my questions to him twice, quote Who the f..k do you think you are?”

Since we now learn that Ms Janice Gardener is the only person that can be approached with queries, why do we need County Councillors on huge salaries at all, latter who hold already alternative 9 to 5 full-time employment, thus wasting taxpayer’s money?

I get the impression from your reply that perhaps you and some of your Council colleagues, see me as some kind of asinine, doltish and meaningless, time waster and while I thank you for having contacted 7 of our 9 councillors in terms of their having no regard to and not being guided by the Council’s Code of Conduct, the question remains, have you also contacted senior officials employed on Tipperary County Council’s workforce, from whom replies were also sought and remain unanswered?.

I trust you have familiarized yourself fully with the Local Government Act of 2001 [ Section 174 (i) ] regarding your dealings with Elected Councillors and Council officials. To date 5 councillors and 3 Tipperary Co. Council. officials have failed to reply to me in writing.

Suffice to state that to date, shamefully, two months after the questions were initially asked, I still, today, together with my readers, await even one satisfactory, honest or candid answer, in my dealings regarding this unpalatable matter.

There now appear to be no single person within Tipperary Co. Council, led by Mr Joe MacGrath CE that can conduct, with any real authority, the moral principles that should govern the behaviour or activity of Council officials or Locally Elected Representatives.

But Ladies and Gentlemen, answer you will!

Yours sincerely.
George Willoughby


3 comments to Thurles Double Ditch – Tipperary County Council Continue In Their Silence

  • Dennis

    Once again, many thanks for keeping us up to speed regarding the matter of the Thurles Double Ditch and Tipperary County Council’s response to your queries.

    My general observations regarding Tipperary County Council are that words like, inept, inadequate and incompetent are insufficient to describe their behaviour and performance thus far re-Thurles Double Ditch
    I also note that on the occasions that you have received a response their replies are a masterclass on how to both answer a question and say nothing simultaneously

    From my own snooping around on the internet – I notice that the National Monuments Service has a Monument Protection page with a link Reporting possible damage or a threat to a Monument…….maybe Ms O’Grady might avail of this service?

  • George Willoughby

    On Oct 12, 2011 Fianna Fail TD Mr John McGuinness accused some senior officials in some government departments of obfuscation, dissimulation, and a lack of urgency about written replies that was disappointing.

    He further stated that Irish people had had enough of senior officials retiring with packages worth up to €6m, particularly when their departments were being criticised by the Comptroller and Auditor General for lax controls, inefficiency and waste.

    Regretably, because of COVID-19 virus, employees in government departments are working from home, direct telephone and emails links are unmanned limiting communications.

    Example: On attempting to contact Tipperary County Council Chief Exec., Note Dates:-
    MacGrath, Joe via Thu, 17 Sep, 21:10 (11 days ago)
    To me: Please re-send your email immediately to if this matter requires attention prior to the 21st September, 2020. I am away from my office.

    MacGrath, Joe via Sun, 27 Sep, 21:23 (13 hours ago)

    To me: Please re-send your email immediately to if this matter requires attention prior to the 29th September, 2020. I am away from my office.

    For two months I have included Mr MacGrath in my communications – no direct reply, except a reply through Ms Harty, stating that the matter would be dealt with by Mr Marcus O’Connor, the latter who has never communicated with me.

  • Dennis

    “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence” Leonardo da Vinci……………..obviously the adopted M.O. for Tipp County Council!

    You have a tough and thankless task in trying to get answers from these people

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