Cllr. Jim Ryan Confirms Destruction Of 175 Year Old Great Famine Double Ditch.

The Great Famine Double Ditch that Thurles Elected Councillors
say does not exist.

The following email from Cllr. Mr Jim Ryan was sent to me in the last few days. Same now confirms that, sadly, the Great Famine “Double Ditch” is to be destroyed, to construct an inner relief road to benefit the new Thurles Town centre, being developed at Slievenamon Road. [The former town centre at Liberty Square, Thurles, having been destroyed by Tipperary Co. Council assisted by Thurles Municipal District Councillors].

The Email from Cllr. Mr Jim Ryan, Mill Road, Thurles, sent on March 1st, 12:21pm, is show hereunder.

Dear George
In a follow up to your concerns regarding the removal or closure of the double ditch walkway in Thurles I can now confirm the following as presented to me by Roads Section of Tipperary County Council.

  • The proposed new Thurles Link road from Clongour to the Mill Road will be going through a small section of the double ditch or College Lane walkway on the Mill Road side.
  • The walkway will remain fully accessible with a newly opened access point from the new link road on the Mill Road side after construction.
  • The construction of the new Link Road will require the removal of the existing walled entrance on the Mill Road side along with the removal of a small section of the walkway itself on that same side.
  • The council stated that a full and comprehensive Archeology (Read as Archaeology) and Envirnomental (Read as Environmental) Assessment was carried out as part of the process that highlighted no concerns to the council or An Bord Pleanala
  • The Double Ditch or College Lane walkway will not be closed off to the public or removed once the construction of the new link road is completed. It will however be reduced slightly in length with a new access point on the Mill Road side.

I hope this clarifies some of the issues raised by you.
Cllr Jim Ryan
Comhairle Contae Thiobraid Árann
Tipperary County Council

The content shown in the above email, to say the very least, is a watered-down version, designed to affect my silence.

One example of this is that Mr Ryan has failed to notice that a further two-lane exit through the double ditch is designed to allow traffic onto the new road, from the new housing estate; see area/map reference indicated between F4 & F3.
A second exit is designed possibly to connect to the rear of the Mary Immaculate College (formerly St. Patrick’s College). See between F6 & F5 on the map immediately published hereunder.
Also on the map hereunder the Double Ditch has been shortened, by almost one half, compared to the cover map on our first video shown above. Same map referred to above is the first map ever recorded of this area in the 1800’s. This is deceit of the first order, by Council officials.

We now learn that none of our Municipal District Councillors can be trusted following the disclosure by Cllr. Ryan.

Tonight, I have replied to Cllr. Jim Ryan, Member of Thurles Municipal District, Council.


Thank you for your communication of the 1st instant.
My sincere apologies for failing to respond to your communication earlier.

I am fully aware, since June 3rd, 2019, that it was the intention of Tipperary Co. Council to demolish the Great Famine Double Ditch, latter situated within 500 meters of your principal private residence on the Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

It was to that end, indeed, that I contacted, in November 2019, Ms Rosin O’Grady, (Latter Tipperary Heritage Officer and Creative Ireland Co-ordinator), asking that she contact the National Monument Service, with a view to granting protection to this historic area. I was soon to realise that Ms O’Grady, despite her official title, is not fully independent of her titled duties, governed indeed by Thurles Municipal District Councillors and senior officials within Tipperary Co. Council.

Suffice is to state that Ms Rosin O’Grady has been instructed not to enter into further communication with me or has failed in her required duty as a County Heritage Officer.

You and your Council colleagues and Co. Council officials, including Chief Executive Mr Joseph MacGrath were informed regarding this wanton destruction of our local Thurles history, on May 24th 2020 (almost 10 months ago).

You Sir, including your County Council C.E. Mr Joe MacGrath, together with all elected Thurles Municipal District Councillors, and the Lowry Team, deliberately and with ill will, chose to ignore every communication sent to each and every one of them, while failing to acknowledge or even reply to any and all of my communications.
Following my complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) regarding you and others of your Council colleagues, including TD’s Mr Jackie Cahill and Mr Michael Lowry; you were contacted by Registrar, Mr David Coleman, (Administrative officer, Corporate Services) regarding your failure to maintain proper standards of integrity; conduct, and concern for the public interest. It took you Cllr. Ryan, almost 3 years to inform me of what you knew, refusing to confirm the information which I had already informed you.

You will now please answer for the moment the following two questions:-

(1) Do you support this decision to remove yet another piece of Thurles history, which if properly marketed would benefit, greatly, the community of Thurles.

Note: I am aware that you are a senior, active committee member, with that grouping known as “The International Garden of Remembrance Committee”, (Chairman Mr John Worth), situated at St. Mary’s Graveyard, Church Lane, Thurles.
You annually attend a ceremony in this garden to commemorate “An Gorta Mór – Ireland’s Great Hunger 1845-1849”. Indeed your group unveiled a large headstone of black marble, (latter which in the past I have strongly objected to its introduction, without planning permission), breaching, as it does, government heritage guidelines and regulations.
Are you now going to support the destruction of a real piece of Thurles heritage, which Thurles can use to attract the ever elusive Thurles tourist?

(2) Do you or any other extended member of your family, either in the past or at any time in the future, expect to benefit, through the sale of land, or other advantage, conveniences or possessory rights, which is being now brought to bear, thus aiding the future destruction of the 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch, at Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Mr Ryan, you, your council colleagues, local TD’s and Co. Council Officials bring shame on this community and you are observed as no better than delinquent, vandals.

Your answers are of particular interest to me, in relation to steps I intend to take to reverse this outrageous, wilful and destructive decision.

Yours faithfully,
George Willoughby.

I now invite Thurles Chamber of Commerce, Tipperary Tourism, Thurles Tourism groups and the Irish Government, to support the retention of this piece of valuable history.
As a right-of-way Tipperary County Council are obliged to clean up this area and restore, that which they damaged on the watch of Mr Joe MacGrath, CE. Tipperary, Co. Council, in the last 9 years since 2013.


4 comments to Cllr. Jim Ryan Confirms Destruction Of 175 Year Old Great Famine Double Ditch.

  • Michael


  • Dennis

    Terrible news, but, given everything we know about the principal characters, the destruction of the Thurles Double Ditch is a wholly predictable outcome….. it is no wonder that some of us have no faith in the “system” – in this instance, referring and appealing to the authorities – local and national – who should be protecting monuments and sites like the Double Ditch…… they really don’t care!

  • Liam J Duggan

    Given the extensive research and collation of the history the Double Ditch all of which has been shared with the various representative bodies through Mr. Willoughby coupled with the brazen and blatant ignoring of the real historical importance this has for the Thurles community especially by the same political and elected officials…… THIS AND THEY ARE A DISGRACE.
    If we ignore and remove our history in the name of ‘progress’,convenience or sheer economic benefit we and future generations live to rue the fact that it is our history and cultural heritage that gives each of us the enduring security that we live in a place and time and are the trustees of the same that has been handed down to us with the responsibility that we not alone treasure this history and cultural heritage but also that we ensure that it is protected and passed on the the future generations.
    So very sad to see this and more so the callousness of officials elected to protect and preserve this treasure.

  • Katie

    Truly astonishing. These Officials and those involved in this sham are too deluded to see they are destroying another piece of Thurles history. George thank you for your efforts in trying to make these so called ? see what they are doing to our beautiful Thurles. My Ryan family would be turning in their graves. The one thing George please make sure these so called Officials are never elected again.

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