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Double Ditch – Current Update.

It was announced today that eleven Tipperary projects are to be included for funding, announced under the ‘Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme’.

The total funding announced for the county was €200,000, none of which was allocated to Thurles Town.

Just so as non local people fully understand; The Grange Loop, who bears the Thurles postal address, and who were rightly gifted €20,000; refers I believe to the lovely Grange Crag loop walk trailhead, in the Civil Parish of Kilcooly, Co. Tipperary, close to the Kilkenny border, latter a 21 minute drive from Thurles town, 21.5 km / 13.25 mls from Thurles, via the N75 minor road. [Surely, it hardly refers to the townslands of Grange, on the N62, (Brittas Road, Thurles. )]

Tipperary Town received €19,800 funding for a Mass Path. [Proof that it pays to march and protest, to highlight being ignored by Tipperary County Council.]

No effort was made to get funding for the “Double Ditch” Mass Path, latter situated between the Mill Road, Thurles and College Lane in the town. But then our politicians and county councillors didn’t notify us, regarding any available government funding worthy of being sought.

We first raised issues regarding fly-tipping on the Great Famine “Double Ditch” on lands either side of same, owned by Tipperary Co. Council, on October 28th, 2019. View HERE.

Every official, local councillor and local politician were advised.

Today, some 15 months later, not one solitary item dumped back then, was ever removed.

See slide show hereunder, compiled from views captured in recent days.

On site today, (19th January 2021) the stolen shopping trolleys have doubled, so also the paper and other plastic litter, the discarded toys, the beer cans, and the bottles, the burnt household items, the cookers and fridges, the gym equipment, etc. etc. etc. All three original sweet crab trees, and some mature Hawthorn trees, have now been either burnt on site or cut down for firewood.

We are reminiscent of a town that refuses to pay Local Property Tax (LPT) and a town devoid of any real quality political or official leadership. The new council housing project being built on a flood plane and running parallel, is using the Double Ditch to drain flood water unto the ditch and through it, unto the land on the other side.

Yet the local people though solidly offended, stay silent, realising, not for the first time, that they are powerless in the face of constant political pretence and official deceipt and hogwash.

_______________________________________________

By the way, we received two communications relating to the Great Famine ‘Double Ditch’ in recent weeks. To refresh your memory, view links to read past such communications HERE.

The first recent communication came from Tipperary Fianna Fáil Councillor, Mr Sean Ryan.

Councillor Ryan confirmed in a Facebook private message in recent weeks, “I did enquire George, but still haven’t a definitive answer. When I do, I’ll let you know.” My question had been, “Is the Thurles inner relief road going to effect the Double Ditch”.

Note: This last question above was first asked originally in May 2020, over 8 months ago.

If Councillor Ryan’s answer is truly the case, it would appear that Tipperary Council officials are also refusing to communicate with all elected representatives; since all elected representatives, contacted by me, remain silent on this issue.

This is despite being instructed to communicate with me by Tipperary Co. Council’s ‘Ethics Registrar‘, namely Mr. David Coleman, (Administrative Officer, Corporate Services), who contacted all Councillors, yet same continue to openly resist and refuse to obey his instructions, thus fully ignoring their required Code of Conduct, demanded under the Local Government Act of 2001.

Note: An email message does not carry Covid-19 virus infection.

—————————————————————-

The second communication arrived from Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile (National Monuments Service) on Christmas Eve last, 24th Dec. 2020, at 10:11am.

Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile wrote: –

Dear Mr Willoughby
I refer further to your email below.

The Double Ditch is not a Recorded Monument and it is not afforded legal protection under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014. The concerns raised appear to relate to planning and development, which is a matter for the Local Authority.
Wishing you a happy Christmas.
Kind regards
Máire

Allowing for Christmas leave etc, I replied to Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile on Wednesday night, 13th January 2020 at 20:46, as follows: –

To Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile
Madam,
I am saddened to note that your office has obviously not read anything that I sent to your department, in the last year. I am fully aware this is not a recorded monument.  The reason I wrote to you in the first place was for you to investigate my claim and have it declared such, thus, affording legal protection under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014.


Perhaps I need to clarify this issue in simpler terms.

On Tue, 12 Nov 2019, 13:40, I contacted Ms Roisin O’Grady (roisin.ogrady@tipperarycoco.ie).  Latter is Heritage Officer with Tipperary County Council at Ballingarrane House, Cahir road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary,

To Ms Roisin O’Grady,
In keeping with Tipperary County Councils promise to “promote awareness and appreciation of our rich heritage and to protect and enhance it for future generations” may I request that you take time to view the following link: – http://www.thurles.info/2019/10/28/thurles-double-ditch/
.

Remembering that next year (2021) is the 175 year in which we commemorate the ‘Great Famine’; the images in the slide show provided by the link shows clearly that among other improprieties and illegalities, barbed wire has been recently introduced on a public monument, on a public right-of-way which is also formerly a ‘Mass Path’ and was one of the first projects undertaken to assist in feeding the poor of Thurles. The slide show demonstrates clear evidence of neglect, vandalism and a convenient land grab by land owners on either side, latter reducing the width of the pathway to one of single file.

Yours sincerely
George Willoughby


I briefly met with the said Ms O’Grady at 2.30pm on the Great Famine Double Ditch in Thurles on 22nd Nov. 2019 and requested that she contact the National Monument section, regarding the need to declare this area, itself, a national monument.

Correspondence from Ms O’Grady came dated Thur, 27th Feb. 2020, at 16:08.

It read: –
George
A quick line just to say I haven’t forgotten about your query, but there has been a lot of applications due in the last few weeks so I am slower than expected tracking down the necessary information. I will revert in due course once I have some information for you
.

Regards
Róisín O’Grady

This was the last communication I ever had from Ms O’Grady, despite contacting her office on several occasions.

Note: The great famine double ditch is being totally ignored, despite Tipperary Co. Council owning the land on either side.

I have since discovered, based on documentation obtained from Tipperary Co. Council offices, that Tipperary Co. Council intend to demolish this ‘Double Ditch’ to provide an inner relief road for the town. Ms O’Grady’s silence perhaps is being controlled by someone or something that is much more powerful.

A copy of an Archaeological Survey (See attached) is grossly misleading. Note: The Great Famine Double Ditch is totally and I believe deliberately ignored within this document, despite Tipperary Co. Council owning the land on either side.

Perhaps you could confirm also, if Ms O’Grady ever contacted your office, seeking legal protection for the Great Famine, Double Ditch, under the National Monuments Acts, which was requested by me in November 2019 or do we have a case of the tail (namely Tipperary Co. Council) wagging the dog (Tipperary’s own Co. Council Heritage Office ).

I remain
Yours sincerely
George Willoughby.

________________________________________________________

In all, now to-date, 16 persons, including senior Co. Council officials, e.g Mr Joe MacGrath (CE, Tipperary Co. Council); 4 Teachtaí Dála; two of which support this present government here in Co. Tipperary, [namely Mr Michael Lowry and Mr Jackie Cahill, Minister Malcolm Noonan, (latter Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform), and Minister Darragh O’Brien, (latter Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage), all of whom have failed to answer the simple question; “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 Town?”

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2 comments to Double Ditch – Current Update.

  • Michael

    Save the Double Ditch!

  • Dennis

    Thanks for this latest update – suffice to say, with regards to every aspect, it makes for sad and depressing reading, in particular and tellingly, that Thurles appears to be “a town devoid of any real quality political or official leadership”

    One would hope that your persistence with the National Monuments Service still might yet pay off……even though communication with official/government bodies is invariably slow they at least have, in this instance, replied to your highlighting the Thurles Double Ditch…….and although Ms Maire Ni Chonghaile may deny the status of the Double Ditch as a Recorded Monument she surely cannot deny (thanks to your efforts) its existence!

    Just a final thought – given the history around the Double Ditch I wonder if the Church of Ireland and/or the Catholic Church might also get involved in trying to save this unique landmark?

    Once again many thanks for this update – all the best!

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