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Thurles
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Thurles Litter Problem

Last week Fine Gael Minister for Rural and Community Development, Ms Heather Humphreys TD, announced the allocation of €2.8m for the Thurles Market Quarter, latter situated close to The Source, building on Cathedral Street.
Earlier €120,000 had been mysteriously allocated in a puzzling move, for the development of the River Walk in Thurles.

Two Tipperary Teachtaí Dála, namely Mr Jackie Cahill and Mr Michael Lowry were quickly “out of the blocks”, using news hungry radio and local press to welcome these announcement, despite having taken no hand, act or part in either of these financial acquisitions.

Meanwhile Cllr. Mr Michael Smith, (Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council), Mr Joe MacGrath (Tipperary Co. Co. Chief Executive) and Tipperary Hurling Manager Mr Liam Sheedy all united to thank the people of Tipperary for their continued support in driving Tipperary towards a cleaner, greener and more sustainable county.

Thankfully Ms Heather Humphreys TD, did not visit Thurles Town Park or the Thurles River walk yesterday, or she might have halted the transfer of taxpayers money. Of course none of the above named individuals were to be seen on the Thurles River Walk or in the Thurles Town Park on yesterday afternoon (Saturday April 24th 2021).

It is possibly best to allow our video hereunder to tell the tale of the events of Saturday April 24th, 2021.

As viewers can observe the litter bins had not been emptied prior to this weekend. The sunny weather did encourage extra persons to gather in the Thurles parkland areas, and unable to deposit their litter in the bins, they for the most part, left same beside and on top of packed unemptied rubbish containers. A warm moderate south-easterly wind took care of the wide dispersal.

It is yet another story, when it comes to the “Thurles River Walk”. Here the problem is no Litter Bins fit for purpose. Two small bin can be found behind the Thurles Shopping Centre building and the Kavanagh Place entrance, both of which can be found overflowing on a daily basis. One similar small bin is also situated on the western entrance on the Slievenamon Road, beside the new LIDL development. A third large bin situated at the junction of Emmet Street and Thomond Road on the North side of the walkway, at the “Swinging Gates”, is permanently kept filled by household domestic waste.

Perhaps it is now time for Cllr. Mr Michael Smith, (Cathaoirleach, Tipperary County Council), and Mr Joe MacGrath (Tipperary Chief Executive) to instruct Thurles District Administrator Ms Sharon Scully, to arrange for 5 large litter bins to be installed, at regular intervals, on this 1200 metre Thurles River Walk and the removal of the 3 existing miniature bins, as already stated, no longer fit for purpose; with immediate effect.

Perhaps also local Councillors, local engineers, together with Ms Sharon Scully, might also like to visit the Emmet Street and Thomond Road junction, about 33 metres inside the swinging gates, to experience and view at first hand the stench from the fast flowing effluent entering the river Suir. Best to undertake soon before someone is taken seriously ill.

Take care of the cents and the euros will take care of themselves

On a personal note, I must say Mr MacGrath, those large hand held posters in your PR photograph look smashing. Were they paid for out of the increased ‘Tipperary Residential Property Tax Fund’ or your salary?
Either way, perhaps you could cut costs next time, by simply following in the footsteps of our delusional TD’s, Mr Jackie Cahill and Mr Michael Lowry and, just like them, pay someone to write a press release on your Facebook or Twitter account.
Thurles is sadly rapidly running out of voluntary unpaid and ignored “Keep Tipp Tidy” personnel, who have no voice within their local community.

Readers Note: In the interests of openness and transparency, Mr Joe MacGrath (Tipperary Co. Co. Chief Executive) and Ms Sharon Scully, (Thurles District Administrator) have been notified. As is usual no reply or explanation is expected.

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Catherine Fogarty Reflects On Thurles Riverside Walk.

Picture courtesy T. Doyle, Thurles.

Speaking to Thurles.Info last evening, keen environmentalist, Ms Catherine Fogarty, has complimented the many volunteers, chief among them Una Griffin-Crowley, for their initiative in respect of the River Walk Amenity in Thurles. Ms Fogarty stated that “their actions are real rather than mere talk”.

Ms Fogarty correctly stated, “It is a sad fact that Thurles has severely neglected and abused the River Suir. The new addition of 12 Bird Boxes between Clongour and Thurles Town Park is indeed admirable and a welcomed sight”.

Ms Fogarty continued, “In my time with ‘Refresh Thurles, we developed the ‘SuirFest‘ event in 2019 and hoped it would grow into an annual Thurles event, celebrating that body of water, the River Suir.
Despite current Covid -19 restrictions, this of course can still happen into the future.

As regards the River Walk, it means different things to different people – some want an exercise option, in a relaxing outdoor environment – the presence of trees and wildlife enhances that experience”.

The absence of litter and anti social behaviour is essential to a positive experience.

Ms Fogarty continued, “The redevelopments at the former Erin foods site will bring some change as would future plans to construct a vehicular bridge at the Erin Foods site to cross the River and the construction of a road to link with the Mill Road.
This is some years away, but would change the environment considerably.
I would hope that our planning authorities would see the value in balancing the developer’s needs at the former Erin Foods site with the needs of the wider community.
The removal of the entire hedgerow at the river bank will mean a loss of biodiversity – we would lose a lot of bird habitats if this goes ahead.

Another current planning application seeks access to the lands to the south of the former Erin Foods site – this if allowed, it would see trees removed and the entire ambience of the space destroyed. I am referring to the pathway linking Clongour to the river.
It is good to know that the Council consider this as a critical artery route connecting to the River Path – protecting the existing tree canopy provided by this linear woodland is therefore essential.

I have proposed to the Council that the sliver of land on the Erin Foods Site south of the Roadway into the former Erin Foods site be planted with trees to effectively create a mini urban forest to supplement the value of the linear woodland. Thurles could lead the way in adding trees and habitats.

The installation of discharge points into the river in years gone by has left a legacy of damage, however the recent work in respect of 3 new discharge points seems to expose a most abusive mindset and demonstrates a minimal value placed on the riverbank as an amenity and a habitat.

There has been recent news of €120,000 funding for the River walk to be upgraded from The Willowsto Emmet Street“. This is welcome news but it is also puzzling as the funding was not listed on the breakdown of financing provided by the Council that detailed the €4.3 million in ‘Active Travel Funds’, allocated to County Tipperary, under the scheme for 2021.

The council confirms that the primary function of this section of walk/cycleway, from the Willows to Emmet Street, incorporating the pathway from Clongour to the river, is the provision of a safe walkway and cycling route for school children in the western side of the town.
Much hope had been pinned on an application to the Outdoor Rural Infrastructure Scheme, to bring the proposed Thurles River Loop walks, to a design stage; regrettably this was unsuccessful.

I now expect that the council will make another future application in respect of concluding a revamp of the route fromThe WillowstoTurtullaextending across “Ladies Well” to the “Mill Road”.
This area has so much potential with the provision of seating, interpretative signage, repairs to the river bank for safety reasons etc.
A previous report produced in circa 2000 by Anne O’Leary & Associates, had included a suggestion from Inland Fisheries, for the addition of sand on the bank of River Drish, to support Kingfisher nesting.
Alas, this delightful idea was not implemented and instead we have seen shocking levels of foliage/trees and hedgerow removed in the area between the River Drish and the Mill Road
.

If we are to achieve the important goals of World Earth Day, we need to realise that we must do better here in Thurles”, concluded Ms Fogarty.

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Let’s Thank Local Thurles World Earth Day Heroes.

Today, Thursday April 22nd is “World Earth Day” and this year’s theme is “Together, We Can Restore Our Earth”. It is estimated that more that 1 billion people will participate in World Earth Day activities across 192 countries, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Earth Day activities range in size from global summits to individual initiatives and no activity is considered too small. Earth Day isn’t a one day a year event, but rather a special day that aims to raise awareness of challenges and dangers faced by our global and local environments. It also recognises the incredible work we can do to restore our earth as part of individual and collaborative efforts both locally and globally.

Here in Thurles, one community group (comprising members of “Refresh Thurles” and other volunteers) epitomises this year’s World Earth Day theme of “Together, We Can Restore Our Earth”, as well as its emphasis on the importance of community action and collaboration.

As the video highlights, down through the years, this Riverside Walk has been the victim of neglect, pollution from developments and vandalism, but the efforts of this altruistic group has done much to unlock the beauty of this, so often overlooked, local treasure. 

Pictured in our slide show above are volunteers Una Crowley, Mary Joe Fanning, Catherine Fogarty, Rona Sorrell, and David Crowley. However there are many other heroes who contribute greatly and are not featured, including Eamonn Medley (Thurles Lions Club), who recently supplied the featured bird boxes and Eamonn Mason, who replaced numerous shrubs, sadly stolen on two previous occasions.

Throughout the year and on many weekends, this group of civic minded volunteers show up to clean up the Riverside Walk. Armed with Black Sacks, Spades, Heavy Duty Gloves and Rubbish Grabbers; they play their part in the fight against local pollution. As well as the unpleasant job of picking up other people’s rubbish, these unsung heroes work together to unlock the potential of this sometimes overlooked walkway. Among other projects, they have introduced plants and birds boxes to make this area more hospitable for humans and our friends in the animal kingdom.

This community group seeks no reward for its work, other than the satisfaction of a job well done and the knowledge that they are doing their bit to “Restore Our Earth”.

At Thurles.info and to mark World Earth Day 2021 we would like to clearly spotlight this selfless local group and thank them for all their hard work and ongoing commitment to care for and restore our town’s “Riverside Walk”.

For more information and ideas on World Earth Day visit HERE

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“Story of Your Stuff” 2021 Competition Winners

A video that creatively examines the environmental life cycle of disposable face masks has won the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) The Story of Your Stuff 2021 competition. This year’s competition received a record number of entries, with over 300 submissions from schools across the country.

Now in its fifth year, the competition hinges on story-telling around real environmental challenges and brings together curiosity, creativity and science. Students are encouraged to consider the challenges to our environment, and contemplate how we might tackle them through modification of production and consumption practices for the everyday ‘stuff’ in our lives. They are encouraged to use the EPA’s national information portal http://www.epa.ie/irelandsenvironment/ as a main source of information.

It taps into the skillset what our young people can achieve using imagery and short video communication, suitable for social media platforms. In thinking about climate action and environmental protection, it encourages participants to spread the word about sustainability among their friends and family and make lasting and impactful changes.

The winning entry was created by Robert Urquhart from Presentation College, Athenry in Galway.

Robert’s very topical ‘Story of Disposable Face Masks’ uses excellent hand-drawn illustrations as well as strong scripting and narration, to look at the manufacture and use of disposable face masks. As the overall competition winner, Robert claims the top prize of €500, along with €500 for his school.

Commenting, Dr. Jonathan Derham of the EPA and chair of the judging panel, said: –

“This year saw a record number of entries from schools across the country to the EPA’s The Story of Your Stuff competition. This response reflects the commitment and interest of Irish young people to tackling climate and environmental issues on their terms and in a meaningful way. Part of the storytelling craft is to relate these challenges to how we live, consume and behave – making it real – and the winners have very successfully achieved this. There are solutions and alternatives that we could all embrace.”

The winners were announced at a virtual finale and showcase event on 21st April at which Dr. Norah Patten, competition ambassador and candidate-astronaut, delivered an inspirational address. The event was hosted by the EPA and held in partnership with the UCD Earth Institute and attendees also heard from representatives of the EPA and UCD.

One other such project also entitled, ‘The Story of Face Masks’ by Keisha Abdulhaman from Sion Hill Dominican College, Blackrock, Co. Dublin won second prize and ‘The Story of Disposable Cutlery’ by Julia Wojtysiak from Le Cheile Secondary School, Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15 was placed third.

The prize winners for the climate topic and Irish-language awards were: –
Climate topic prize: Oonagh Hales from John the Baptist Community School, Co. Limerick for her entry, ‘The Story of Plastic Cutlery’
Irish-language prize: Rebecca Ni Challanain and Kate Ni Mhathuna from Gaelcholaiste Charraig Ui Leighin, Carrigaline, Co. Cork for their entry, ‘Scéal Lipéad Crochadh’, which looks at clothing labels.

Competition ambassador, citizen candidate-astronaut and award-winning STEM advocate, Dr. Norah Patten said:

“As a STEM advocate, I believe strongly in the need for environmental issues to be distilled into accessible language and presented in an engaging way to drive behaviour change for a more sustainable planet. This year’s shortlisted entrants demonstrated this ability in spades, and I wish to congratulate each one of them for getting this far. With so much uncertainty in the world, it is comforting to know there is a generation of young people able and willing to put their creativity to use in telling a compelling story on the need to make more environmentally conscious decisions.”

Director of the UCD Earth Institute, Professor Tasman Crowe said:

“Albeit virtually, it was fantastic to speak to the shortlisted entrants of this year’s The Story of Your Stuff competition, an initiative that aligns closely with the mission of the UCD Earth Institute, to find sustainable solutions to urgent environmental challenges. I hope the video demonstrations of innovative research being undertaken at UCD will inspire others to take up the challenge and perhaps come and join us at UCD.”

Readers can view all the winning entries HERE.

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Exciting Free Online Event For Kids.

Thursday, April 22nd next, is ‘World Earth Day’ and the Rediscovery Centre and the Natural History Museum of Ireland are offering a unique and free opportunity for primary school pupils.

This free 1 hour online event, for 3rd to 6th class pupils, takes place from 11:30 am to 12:30pm, as already stated on April 22nd. The session, entitled “Cool Fossils and Hot (Climate) Facts”, begins with a half hour exploration of Ice Age fossils from Ireland. Pupils will be enabled to learn about the Woolly Mammoth, Spotted Hyena, Giant Deer, Brown Bear and Grey Wolf.

The second half of this not-to-be missed session, invites pupils to learn about climate change. Pupils will be enabled to investigate how CO2 causes global warming, with the help of some fascinating experiments.

To take part in this event and to view its associated resources you can register via eventbrite.ie, by simply clicking HERE.

The theme for this year’s ‘World Earth Day’ is ‘Together, We Can Restore Our Earth’.
For more information on ‘World Earth Day’ visit HERE.

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