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From 1:00pm Each Day Ulster Bank Branches Will Now Close Their Counter Service From Today.

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold……”

A two line extract from “The Cremation of Sam McGee” – By Scottish poet Robert W. Service.

I went into the Thurles Branch of Ulster Bank today. It was my regular once a month visit, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before I continue, may I confirm that I found the counter personnel at the Thurles Ulster Bank branch have always been and continue to be, appropriately qualified, extremely competent and very professional in their everyday dealings.

Regrettably, I cannot say the same for the Ulster Bank Group’s top management, latter who announced today, on Twitter, (at 11:47am) that counter services at their branches would close today, as of 1:00pm, and into the future.
Note: I as a customer was never directly notified.

Arriving in at approximately 1.15pm today, Friday, July 1st; with ESB and Internet accounts due, I was informed that I was not now entitled to remove money from my bank account, due to this new 1:00pm closure ruling.

I left the bank branch in Liberty Square, before returning a short time later following reflection, to seek a meeting with the branch manager. A short few minutes later I was served at the counter and my lodgement was accepted.

The next time, An Taoiseach, Mr Micheál Martin (leader of Fianna Fáil) and An Tánaiste, Mr Leo Varadker (Fine Gael TD – Dublin West), start to tell us how competition in the market place, here in Ireland, has been good for consumers; ask them ‘how come’.
How come our enlarged collection of banks were allowed to destroy this country; why numerous Internet Service providers and Electricity/Gas/ Petrol/Diesel suppliers, were all allowed to enter the market place and have metamorphosed into the most expensive distributers in Europe. 


Thurles Street Lights Burning 24 Hour Each Day Increases From 27 To 50.

On June 6th last, Thurles based County Councillor, Mr Seamus Hanafin announced to the Tipperary nation that the current council policy of not putting lights in areas, which have a 60 kilometre per hour speed limit, now needs to change.
He cited as example those persons travelling out towards Lady’s Well towards the new sorting office in Thurles, find it dark at night. He also highlighted as yet another example; the Holycross Road area, between Árd na Croise and the Dew Valley Food factory, as being “dark at night”.

In the meanwhile, as Mr Hanafin, who has been a councillor for God knows how many years, continues to spout the obvious, the people of Thurles still remain in the dark (excuse the pun) as to why for months street lighting remains burning, 24 hours each day, in the town.

As you walk through the streets of Thurles over the past fortnight, the number of street lights, (Lamp Standards); their heads burning brightly in the midday sun, have greatly increased in number; from 27 to 50.

Of the fifty lamp standards burning 24 hours each day, we counted :-

  • 32 in the immediate vicinity of Thurles town Park area. (Add to this four of these Lamp Standards are not working, while two of the four are without heads; one remains leaning westward, following some sort of vehicle collision.)
  • 8 on Liberty Square (Only installed less than one month ago on May 17th 2022.
  • 1 on Thomond Road.
  • 1 on Pearse Terrace.
  • 6 on Jimmy Doyle Road.
  • 1 on Slievenamon Road.
  • 1 on Emmet street.

In the absence of any explanation, we must assume there is no capable administration and governance amongst officials, engineers and elected representatives within the Thurles Municipal District.

Airtricity appear to be in control, thus one other company; other than Irish Water, exists where the “tail is wagging the dog”.


Airtricity Increase Number Of Thurles Street Lights Burning 24 Hour Each Day.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. – Matthew Ch.5:V.16.

Airtricity visited Thurles yesterday; mounting the new Chinese granite walkways with their ‘Cherry Picker’ truck, to change the Liberty Square, streets lighting, just one year exactly to the date (17th May) on which they were first installed.

One had thought that their visit was to deal with the 25 street lights that, for months, remain currently burning, day and night, at the taxpayers expense.

It appears that their reason for visiting was to change the lighting heads on all the Liberty Square light standards. The reason for this extravagance we admit we are not sure, but hopefully it has something to do with reducing wastage.

The new heads of course are greyish white in colour, contrasting considerably with the dark support standards initially installed.

But one thing, we are sure; these installations of new light heads have now added two more street lights to the total number, (27 in all), now burning 24 hours each day, and again, as already stated, paid for at the overburdened taxpayers expense.

Forget elected councillors; one wonders if any of the few businesses now eking out a basic living on Liberty Square, actually have confidence in corresponding with their Municipal District Council Office administrator.

Again, remind me, “Why are we paying Property Tax?


Tipperary Farms To Get €1,000 To Prevent Future Fodder Shortage.

Minister for Agriculture Mr Charlie McConalogue has stated that he is finalising details of a funding plan, which he has brought to Cabinet for approval, aimed at supporting farmers, particularly those in the livestock sector.

The Minister said he wants to ensure that we grow enough grass over the course of this year, to ensure that we remain secure in terms of having enough fodder from next autumn to next spring.

He further stated that this is part of the process of responding to the challenge of there being war now on European soil, latter for the first time in over a generation, which could brings real challenges.

Livestock farmers will be able to avail of up to €1,000, under the new scheme, valued at €55 million, thus encouraging farmers to store sufficient fodder for animals past next winter.

The proposal being examined is to introduce a scheme which would incentivise beef and sheep farmers to grow hay or silage and pay up to a maximum of 10 hectares at €100 per hectare; thus ensuring farmers have the resilience to deal with any challenges that are there from the war in Ukraine.

The Agriculture Minister has already announced €20m in supports for pig farmers, €12m to encourage farmers to till extra land and €3m to support the horticulture sector.

Ongoing price increases in animal feed, fuel and fertiliser, together with other agriculture inputs, have seen beef and sheep farmers demanding help from the Government, with many saying the viability of their enterprises are severely threatened and will suffer income declines of between 13% and 25% in this current year.


€2 million Investment In TUS Scholarships Supports Access To Education.

30 students were presented with their Leaders@TUS scholarships and 1916 bursaries at a special ceremony in TUS, Moylish Campus today, Tuesday.

Up to €2 million has been invested in academic scholarships for students at the Technology University of the Shannon’s (TUS) Thurles, Moylish, Clare Street, Clonmel and Ennis campuses over the last eight years.

Today (Tuesday April 12, 2022) at a special ceremony at the Millennium Theatre, TUS, Moylish Campus, Limerick Senor Hurling Manager Mr John Kiely presented 30 students with their scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year, through the Leaders@TUS programme (previously Leaders@LIT) and the HEA’s 1916 Bursary.

The objective of both schemes is to support access to higher education for students who might otherwise struggle to remain in education. More than 170 students have been assisted with access to higher education through these scholarships, with up to €2 million jointly invested in the schemes over the last 8 years.

Congratulating the scholarship recipients President of TUS Professor Vincent Cunnane said these programmes provide more than just support for the individual – the positive repercussions can also be felt in the community and the economy. “One of the founding principles of TUS is access to education for all those who would benefit from it. For many people access to education depends on more than academic ability or a willingness to learn; it requires financial assistance and structural supports. These scholarships get to the heart of those requirements as they provide students with financial assistance, mentorships and work experience with a company who is invested in their future and that of their community. The long-term benefit to the supporting companies, the community and indeed the local economy is the availability of highly employable, work ready graduates, who have already proven their determination to succeed,” he said.

Addressing the ceremony 1916 Bursary recipient Ms Donna Hogan told how determination saw her overcame adversity to return to education later in life. “With many barriers to cross, I made a commitment to myself to overcome addiction and my journey to return to education began with the Boxing Clever course, which is an addiction studies and health related fitness course. Following that I engaged in the SHEP Personal Development course and then Corpus Christi National School helped me to take the next step by empowering and supporting me to participate in the Access Course at TUS.”
Donna is now a first year Community Development and Addiction Studies student at TUS.

For Ms Aisling Rock from Roscommon the Leaders@TUS scholarship eased her financial pressures as she returned to third level education to study Art and Design at LSAD TUS. “I am now able to reduce my part-time hours allowing me more time to concentrate on college work. I find the real benefit of this scholarship is the mentoring programme which has built my confidence and taught me time management skills that means I am not overwhelmed by the workload.”

1916 Bursary recipient Mr Gerard Galvin is a member of the Travelling Community, whose early education was disrupted by moving numerous times between England and Ireland. In his address he said he never felt like he belonged in an educational environment. “However, I wanted stability, to break the bad cycles in my life, and I wanted to be a good role model for my children. I had come to a stage in my life where I had to make a decision, I was at a crossroads. A friend of mine from one of the local areas told me about a transition to education course at TUS.”
Today Gerard is a scholarship recipient and first year Social Care student in TUS.

Leaders@TUS recipient Mr Paul O’Heaney said, “To be a scholarship recipient not only took the burden of payments away but thoroughly helped me progress with my studies and get the absolute best out of my day to day encounters in TUS. I will forever be thankful for the opportunities I have received during my studies in TUS and look forward to a bright future ahead.”

Vice President for Student Education and Experience TUS, Frances O’Connell told those attending the scholarship ceremony, “The mission and vision of TUS is underscored by its values, which includes equity and inclusiveness, where we value and promote inclusiveness, equity of opportunity and respect for all students and staff, especially those from under-represented groups, such as ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities. Today is the manifestation of TUS actualising our mission and values in this ceremony.”

CEO of the Higher Education Authority, Dr Alan Wall explained that “the 1916 Bursary Fund is a key pillar underpinning the National Access Plan and in supporting students from a diversity of backgrounds to access, participate and succeed in higher education. In the current academic year, the 1916 Bursary Fund has expanded with over 800 students nationwide receiving a bursary of some kind.

During the last eight years more than 40 companies in the Mid West contributed to the Leaders@TUS scholarship, with six new companies – FiserV, Panalok Ltd., Shannon Technical Services, Amneal, Pinergy and WP engine- adding their support this year.

Dr Liam Brown, (Vice President Research, Development, Innovation TUS), thanked the companies in the Mid West for their continuous support of the scholarships. “These scholarships make a meaningful difference to the lives of students, allowing them to focus on their studies and giving them the greatest chance of success. We are particularly thankful to the donors whose financial contributions make this programme possible. I would also like to thank our staff and all involved including the schools that help to make this programme so successful.”

Presenting the scholarships, Mr John Kiely paid tribute to the recipients. He said, “I am honoured to be joining everyone at TUS for the Leaders@TUS Scholarships and 1916 Midwest Bursary Awards Ceremony to honour the recipients who have worked so hard. It is a special day for the recipients and their families and to be a part of it is a great privilege. They are the future and future is bright.