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Contract Signed For Refurbishment Of Liberty Square, Thurles.

Liberty Square, Thurles. (Top of picture facing in an easterly direction. New car parking area outlined on right hand side.)
Picture G. Willoughby

The contract for the long-awaited refurbishment of Liberty Square in Thurles was signed yesterday October 24th. Plans had initially been finalised and announced first in February 2017.

The Company of Mr David Walsh Civil Engineering Ltd has been successful in winning the Tipperary Co. Council tender.

We understand that work is expected to commence towards the end of November 2019, beginning first with the new carpark provision, same located on the southside of the town. Work here is expected to be completed in approximately four months, (March 2020).

Work to refurbish Liberty Square itself is then expected to begin in March 2020.


University Hospital Limerick Set A New Record

University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has set a new record. Alas, the new record is for the largest number of patients to ever end up being treated on a trolley / surf board, here in an Irish hospital, on Wednesday October 2nd, 2019.

This new record is based on figures supplied and published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, which claim that today there are 82 patients being treated on trolleys in their emergency department and in overflow wards at this medical facility.

Readers Refresh Your Memories Here

This marks the second time in 2019 that UHL, which serves patients from North Tipperary, has managed to set a new record. April 3rd 2019 saw 81 patients on trolleys and the facility has succeeded in matching that same record three times; see July 11th, September 23rd and just last Tuesday.

While the electorate of North Tipperary remain silent, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have now called on Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris for “direct, immediate intervention”, at this facility.

However, this is the same Mr Harris (Minister for Health) that has presided over: – The Smear Test Scandal; The Introduction of Abortion; No pain relief permitted for babies in late term abortion; The 2nd Smear Test scandal; A National Children’s Hospital that was permitted to run at least €1.25 billion over budget; The current fiasco that is the HSE; Growing Hospital waiting lists; Shortage of doctors, nurses, consultants and hospital beds; Abortion for children under 16, without parental consent; No medical care for babies that survive abortion; The Pain Patch scandal; and finally the spending of €27.9m (€76,000 per day) by the HSE on Taxi Cabs, to transport patient charts and files between hospitals, as well as transferring patients for treatment elsewhere.

Remember this is a government that “bowed and scraped”; spending up to €18 million Euro entertaining and securing US President Mr Donald Trump and his Irish decended US Vice President Mr Mike Pence, during both of their really unwanted visits to Ireland.

Help Required by UHL.

To help alleviate the problem; this UHL swamped hospital facility is rightly now calling for permission to cancel non-essential elective work. It is also seeking more home packages, latter which would allow for the moving of patient out of the hospital and thus freeing up beds. Finally, it has sought emergency funding to provide extra agency staff and an end to the “recruitment ban”.

Time for him to resign, in the knowledge that he and this misguided liberal-conservative Fine Gael minority government have totally failed the people of both North & South Co. Tipperary.

UHL requests come at a time when HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid has informed senior health managers to identify and put in place extra measures to limit, as much as possible, overruns within services.


Waterford Councillors Vote NO To Increase In Local Property Tax

The majority of Waterford City and County councillors have voted for no increase to their Local Property Tax (LPT) for 2020. While Waterford’s Chief Executive (CE) Mr Michael Walsh had sought a 10% increase; Councillors representing Independents, Labour, Green Party and Sinn Féin, voted for a freeze on the current LPT rate for the coming year, 2020.

One road sign for humans & one for fairies

Unlike Waterford county; Local Property Taxes here in Co. Tipperary will increase by 10% next year, despite serious debate within the Council Chamber on the issue, with Fine Gael councillors in bulk, voting in favour of the increases by a margin of 21 votes to 14. House owners currently paying €405 in Local Property Tax, will now be forced to pay an extra €40.50 more, per annum from 2020, to receive no benefit whatsoever for their tax payment.

While Tipperary Co. Council’s executive had originally sought a 15% increase in Tipperary’s LPT for next year, the 10% increase achieved is expected to yield some €1.2 million for Tipperary Co. Council to waste in 2020.

Tipperary Co. Council’s financial forecast for 2020 is €9.5 million from locally raised LPT, with a further €16.5 million in contributions from the Equalisation Fund of tax raised in other counties. Indeed Co. Tipperary remains the highest beneficiary in our Republic, from same equalisation funding.

Grants allocated from the Council’s General Municipal Allocation (GMA) funding is expected to suck up most of this extra funding, through wasted contributions to annual festival committees, latter which few visitors ever attend. While other funding will be doled out on projects like so called local job creation initiatives and grants for the painting of town centre properties; all to be found listed amongst a host of other spurious projects, with little real accountability being offered.

Still, you never know; we might get proper entry signs on the roads entering into the town, pointing out that Thurles is no longer the home of Erin Foods; same having gone out of production 11 years ago.


Revamping Of Liberty Square, Thurles, Maybe In Sight

It had been widely broadcast by local Town Councillors, that work on the revamping of Liberty Square in Thurles would commence in August 2019. Now however, according to Co. Council officials, the first week of September last, only saw tenders being sought for the first time.

Liberty Square, Thurles. (Top of picture facing in an easterly direction). Picture G. Willoughby

Plans had been finalised and initially announced in February 2017, now nearly 3 years later, the successful contractor is expected to be appointed in mid-October 2019, possibly start work on the new car park at the end of October or early November of this year, on the new carpark, demolished some 16 months ago and then neglected. The appointed contractor is expected to finish this carpark area by March or April of 2020, thus hopefully continuing to grant consumer access to the centre of Thurles.

In February / March of 2020, the Co. County officials promise that we should see the beginning of the temporary, yet necessary removal of some currently existing street furniture on Liberty Square itself, followed by new road re-alignments and the later re-introduction of both old and new street furniture, together with the new revised traffic management plan.

When it comes to announcements from reticent, cagy and guarded officials in Tipperary Co. Council, we have all learned to refrain from holding our breath.


Help-to-Buy Housing Scheme Possibly Extended In Budget

A tax refund of up to €20,000, which currently helps first-time buyers with a deposit for the purchase of a new-build home, up to the value of €500,000, is due to expire at the end of 2019.

The Help-to-Buy scheme, which cost the Irish exchequer €73.2m last year and €35.4m in the first five months of this year, is now expected to be extended in next month’s Budget. On average the grant for each home is just under €15,000.

Costing the Exchequer around €200m, the Construction Industry Federation in its pre-Budget submission, have also called for the further extension of this scheme, availed of by some 30,000 first-time buyers, since it was rolled out in 2016; stating the scheme has had a massive impact in driving growth.

The present Fine Gael minority Government now believe that allowing this existing scheme to end could cause upset and disruption within the housing market. Current Ministers of Finance and Housing are both agreed on the need for same to be retained, with some possible modification to lowering the €500,000 cap.

Fianna Fail has also demanded that the scheme be retained at its current level in the Budget and where possible be further extended, but Government sources have suggested the €500,000 cap could be changed.

Discussions around the cap being lowered to include properties worth €250,000; a level that would exclude the majority of properties held in Dublin, have been summarily dismissed.