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Is Munster Car Park In Thurles Due For Imminent Closure?

Redesignated parking on Cathedral Street, Thurles.
Pic: G. Willoughby

In the early part of last month (December 2023) an elected Thurles town councillor, namely Mr Jim Ryan, correctly raised the clear possibility that the town could lose a vital car parking area, located on Cathedral Street.

The area sits adjacent to the now derelict, eyesore once known as the Munster Hotel.

Independent Councillor Mr Jim Ryan, who first raised the issue, stated that some existing 100 car parking spaces could be made unavailable, following a failure to agree on future rent sought by the owner of the Munster Hotel, Mr Martin Healy, and his current tenant, Tipperary County Council, with the facility set to be closed to the public on a date, confirmed by Mr Healy, possibly February 2024.

Cllr Ryan has correctly stated, that a lot of schools, shops, businesses and the religious facility nearby (Cathedral of the Assumption), all who benefit from the use of this car park on a daily basis will suffer huge inconvenience, when going about their normal business in Thurles.

Cllr Ryan has called on the relevant bodies (namely the declared owner of the car park and Tipp. Co. Council), to come together to find a compromise, thus ensuring that the car park in question remains open to the public.

In the meanwhile, Mr Healy, the named owner of the car park facility, has publicly stated that his dispute with Tipperary Co. Council is not about money, but instead, what he is looking for is a proper future lease that would involve better maintenance of the car park site; which of course confirms Cllr. Ryan’ statement that any such compromise will involve money.

In the days prior to Christmas week, 2023, Tipperary Co. Council officials appear to have taken the initiative to ensure that school buses will now move from the Munster Hotel car park area, unto Cathedral Street. This appears to be confirmed by the appearance of new road markings on both sides of the streetscape. (See Image shown left above).

If the car park is closed to the public, what will be the future possible consequences?

  • Keep in mind that presently, school buses arrive into Thurles and park between the hours 8:45am until 4:15pm each day, in this now disputed rented car parking area.
  • From February, the proposed car park closure will see these buses move unto both sides of Cathedral Street, leaving no spaces for would-be consumers, either in the car park itself or on the street outside.
  • Students of all ages attending secondary schools will now be places in decidedly greater danger, while attempting to board school buses in this area of heavy moving traffic.
  • This non availability to park vehicles, now presents existing tennants and their landlords; same running foodpremises, bookmaker establishments, hardware, dentistry, clothing, beauty, dry cleaning, charity and hair salon businesses, latter all currently trading in the immediate area; unable to attract and service regular consumers, in turn resulting in the nonpayment of rates, or at best found to be in serious arrears of same, thus leading to closures.

Attendances at the nearby Cathedral of the Assumption will be greatly reduced at daily Mass times, (which normally take place at 11:00am and 7:00pm on week days), with the elderly, in particular, now possibly forced to move to attend religious ceremonies in the nearby Church of St. Joseph and St. Brigid, in Bothar-na-Naomh, Thurles, where adequate free parking is readily available.
Any such closure could cause greatest upset at funeral times, where people travelling great distances, particularly in winter time, will find no place to park in an already delibertly congested town, when wishing to attend such events in the Cathedral of the Assumption building.

Why does The Source Carpark remain closed.
The recent fire in the carpark underneath the existing “The Source” library area has remained closed to the public for some time, even before two arson attacks; same having had its ceiling regularly attacked by “latch street kids” and others with “idle hands”.
Latter travel around in small groups, while waiting for parents to return home from work. It was therefore no surprise that same area was set on fire, when strips of insulation was left unattended, dangling every-where in easy reach, from the ceiling area; within months of the building opening to a non attended political fanfare, back in 2006.

Where indeed will ticket paying consumers now park intent on attending Thurles Theatre and Thurles Library. Once again greed and poor planning; both have clearly “cut of their nose to spite their face”, a phrase which best expresses a needlessly, self-destructive, overreaction to a Thurles problem.

Time now for local councillors and their officials to inform their local electorate what exactly in going on at local government level. It is no longer acceptable for Councillors, TD’s and their officials, to treat their electorate like mushrooms – kept in the dark, and fed bullshit; while planned futures are being totally demolished.

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