Efforts To Destroy Thurles Heritage Now Well Underway.

Note First, Tipperary County Council’s Mission Statement: – View HERE

“If you send us a letter, fax or email we endeavour to acknowledge receipt of all relevant correspondence within 7 working days of receiving same and ensure that a substantive reply to a query will issue within 20 working days where information is readily available. All replies to queries will be in a clear, concise and easily understood manner.”Tipperary Co. Council.

“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”, Tipperary County Council’s guarantee/ commitment.

To date, despite constant communications sent over a 3 year period, to Mr Joe MacGrath (Chief Executive Tipperary Co. Council), and most of our elected councillors, not even one reply has yet to be received. To do so would have been to admit their ignorance of history and their incompetence regarding an Archaeological Impact Statement, delivered to accomodate the destruction of Thurles Heritage, by those who should have known better.

See our article dated August 21st, 2020. “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”. View article HERE.

On February 20th, 2022 (12 days ago or two full working weeks), local Thurles Fianna Fáil Councillor Mr Seamus Hanafin announced on his Social Media page, quote:

Continued progress on the Suir river walk.
Last year saw the completion of the first phase of the Suir River walk from Thomond Road to Clongour. The path was resurfaced and widened and has made the walk much more accessible and pleasant for everyone. Lots more people are using the walk as a result.
Over the next six weeks we will see more progress with two more sections being upgraded.
This coming week contractors will begin site preparation works on the pathway running from Monakeeba to the Mill Road through the double ditches. Some vegetation will be removed and illegal dumping cleaned up.
Over the next 4 to 6 weeks they will then commence widening of the path, re-surfacing and fencing.
This will provide an off road walk from the Mill Road to Kickham Street
When this is completed, contractors will then move to Ladyswell to carry out the same works from the Turtulla side to the Mill Road.
This work is very welcome and will be a real addition to the amenity of our town. Phase by phase we are delivering a better, safer and more accessible leisure route around our town.
As always, I want to acknowledge and thank Thurles Lions Club who have been to the fore in this project and the management and engineering staff of the Thurles Municipal District for their on-going efforts.
Work will continue to deliver further sections of the walk.”

Not to be outdone; other Local Councillors quickly followed, with similar announcements on their Social Media pages.

Let us examine in detail Mr Hanafin’s above stated, vote attracting, public announcement.

Lots more people are using the walk as a result. Thurles people have always used the Thomond Road to Clongour river walk. His statement is therefore totally untrue and we ask Mr Hanafin how he can justify this same comment. On the contrary, people, during the summer months, have avoided using the river walkway, due the stench produced, under his watch, by currently one of the dirtiest rivers in Ireland. View HERE (note date November 7th, 2013) – View HERE (note date April 17th, 2019) – View HERE (note date October 25th, 2019) – View HERE (note date September 16th, 2019).
For the past nine years, Thurles.Info have requested that the council should deal first with the River itself, yet nothing was done over this 9 year period, except to dig up a perfectly good tarmacadam pathway and remove 150 metres of Whitethorn, during the nesting season, behind the new Lidl supermarket. Perhaps we should now address Thurles Lions Club, in an effort to stop the destruction of our River Suir, (either way it will be taxpayers/public money that is used).

Some vegetation will be removed… According to the Cambridge Dictionary sitting here on my desk, “Vegetation is an assemblage of plant species and the ground cover they provide”.
No vegetation was removed on the Great Famine Double Ditch. The workforce was instead instructed to remove the 5ft high common hedgerow tree, known and loved as ‘Whitethorn’.
Work commenced on February 21st, 2022, in the full knowledge that 7 days later, the cutting of hedgerows would be restricted, [as set out in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976; as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000; and the Heritage Act 2018].
The aforementioned Acts also stipulates that it is an offence to destroy vegetation on uncultivated land, between the 1st of March and the 31st of August each year.
This destruction was completed by the contractor on Wednesday 23rd February 2022, affecting the north side of the 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch.

Why the north side, I hear our readers ask? We do not know for sure but we have our suspicions which we will air at a later date. No development plans have been supplied by the Council or Thurles Lions Club, other than a map showing the removal of a large section of this area to build an inner relief road, which if constructed must now be traversed by those same people walking, using the Double Ditch. (See Map at start of Video)

“…illegal dumping cleaned up.
Within the past two working weeks, the illegal dumping has actually increased. (See the video above and weep).
Not one unsightly item has been removed by the Council since we highlighted this issue, back in May 2019.
If you decide this weekend to take a walk on the Great Famine Double Ditch, (and we hope you do), take note of the opening picture in our video shown above. Same area is reminiscent of the American neo-Western crime drama and television series “Breaking Bad”, created and produced by Vince Gilligan, still available for viewing on Netflix.

Widening of the path, re-surfacing and fencing
Same walkway is (1) a Mass Path; (2) a 175 year old Public Right-of-Way and (3) a Great Famine project, construction of which paid 8 pence per day to some 80 starving Thurles people, living through, thankfully the last incidence of large-scale hunger in our western world.
Mr Hanafin and his colleagues and council officials have totally failed to provide information on how Tipperary Co. Co./Thurles Lions Club intend to re-surface and fence this historic site. There has been no consultation with the public, in any way; on costings, or with the Heritage Council.

It is estimated that this Great Famine (1848-1851) caused some 1 million deaths from direct starvation, poor hygiene and hunger-related disease.
A further estimated 1.3 million Irish people were forced to emigrate, with Ireland, as a whole, losing a quarter of its population during those terrible years; with 30% of the population being lost in Co. Tipperary.

Irish nationalists would lay Famine blame squarely at the feet of the British Government, seeing it as an invincible argument in favour of self-government.
Yes, it took the effects of World War I and a dramatically changed international environment, to give Ireland that opportunity to take on the strongest State in the world and win its hard fought independence, which eventually came about some seven decades after the Famine, culminating eventually with a failed 1916 rising, but an eventual 26 county free Republic.

This will provide an off road walk……..” .
Please note ‘off road walks’ are called “Footpaths”,
Have you recently examined the sunken footpath on the Slievenamon Road, opposite Ely’s Centra, Supermarket, which on every day it rains; same fills with water and has been calling for repair for the last 15 years; or perhaps the footpath in front of the Circle K Petrol Station, situated on Kickham Street, latter danger calling for repair for over 5 years?

Fianna Fáil and those of other political persuasions in Thurles and Tipperary, who spend their idle days chasing millionaires, in the hope of gleaning crumbs from their table, continue to wander around spouting what they will do tomorrow, next week, next month and next year and end up doing nothing.
We watch as all that is positive within our lovely town, no longer being maintained, e.g. our 6 year old town park; our town road signs; our local graveyard, etc, etc.

…….. double ditches……..
Correct name, Councillor Hanafin, for this area, is Great Famine Double Ditch. Respect please; call it what it is. (See Page 6 HERE.)

Questions that now need to be answered, as local Councillors, their officials, led by Tipperary CE Mr Joe Macgrath, congregate in their ignorance, to deprive the residents of Thurles of their proud history.

* Will Ms Sharon Scully (Thurles Municipal District Administrator), seek assistance from the Department of Heritage, in relation to the ongoing destruction of the Double Ditch?
If Ms Scully takes a look at the incorrect Archaeological Impact Statement, provided by Mr F. Coyne BA MIAI; on page 25, Mr Coyne provides a map showing clearly the Great Famine Double Ditch, which Mr Coyne and Tipperary Co. Co. conveniently have failed to acknowledge, (View map on Video again).

* Will re-surfacing of the Double Ditch be ‘tarmacadam’, ‘cement’, ‘gravel’ or ‘paving’ ? (the latter ‘paving’ Mr Hanafin stated in his pronouncement on local radio recently?)

* Has Thurles Lion’s Club (TLC) now taken over the day-to-day operations of the Thurles Municipal Council, or is TLC just one man who knows how to locate government funding to glorify TLC? [Perhaps I should ask TLC to fix the depression outside my home, since Mr Joe MacGrath, Councillors Hanafin; his Colleagues and Officials are unable to organise.]

What irreparable destruction has already happened, courtesy of Tipperary Co. Council, on this Great Famine Double Ditch?

The legal term “irreparable damage” means that the harm done (or the potential damage caused), cannot be reversed or corrected in the future and I am sorry to announce this has already happened, thanks to Councillor Hanafin, his council colleagues and council officials. (View Video above again.)

Tipperary County Council Heritage Statement.

“The aim of the plan is to connect the citizens of Tipperary to their heritage and to make it an integral part of everyday life at the core of our communities” – another Fianna Fáil Councillor – Ms Siobhán Ambrose. View HERE.

Heritage structures remain extremely important in demonstrating the cultural identities of rural and urban communities, especially in places like Thurles, which has a Tourist Office and now has nowhere locally, to send even one visiting tourist, should they decide to stay overnight.

In our present era, adaptive reuse of such monuments as this Double Ditch, has always been considered as an excellent strategy, for protecting such structures, both for the present and for future generations; from which we can then learn and enjoy.

Gone: Two Great Famine built stone piers, guarding a farmland leeway, together with a blacksmith constructed iron gate, (Latter valued at between €3,000 to €5,000, if offered in a private specialist sale), both now demolished by heavy machinery. The gate now stands broken and bent, because the keys to its padlock were no longer available.

Uprooted: A portion of the 176 year old ditch, to facilitate a large pipe which has been driven through the centre of the ditch, possibly for sewage. This Double Ditch area which had previously yielded a Bronze Age spear head and a Stone Age axe head, (currently on display in our National Museum), saw no archaeologist present during this desecration and attempted ground reconstruction.

Deforestation: Whitethorn trees have been removed, together with barbed wire fencing and new wooden stakes, paid for 4 years ago by taxpayers.
Locals state that most of the barbed wire was loaded on a small truck, while the stakes have been removed, to the nearby housing estate, with sawdust indicating same are being used for winter fuel. As our video shows a half bale /roll of barbedwire lies in the vegetation for the past 4 years, never returned to the council yard.

Over the coming weeks we will be commenting further on this Famine Heritage destruction, by Tipperary Co. Council; Thurles Municipal District Council and Thurles Lions Club and the total failure that is the role not being provided by the offices of Tipperary Heritage, and the offices of Minister of State for Heritage, Mr Malcolm Noonan TD. together with National Monument Service.

A link to this above statement has been sent, on behalf of the people of Thurles, to all elected representatives and officials.


2 comments to Efforts To Destroy Thurles Heritage Now Well Underway.

  • Mr Tree

    “When this (path) is completed, contractors will then move to Ladyswell to carry out the same works from the Turtulla side to the Mill Road.”

    I dread to think what damage will be done to the root systems of the trees in laying this path. Judging from the lack of care taken on the River Walk path joining to Slievenamon rd it will be extensive; every tree on this stretch has been irreparibly damaged and in my opinion most should now be removed for the sake of public safety. Scandalous.

  • Catherine Fogarty

    Excellent summary George. A really poor performance by the council. There is a biodiversity and climate crisis yet we see trees and hedgerows removed. Failure to respect the heritage of this location is appalling. I emailed the local councillors and not one replied.

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