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Tipperary County Councillors Stress Over Japanese Knotweed

Tipperary County Councillors, particularly those responsible for the Templemore/Thurles Municipal District don’t get out much anymore; what with recovering from the mental anguish they suffered during their May 2019 local election campaign; then their fear of catching the Covid-19 virus just 11 months later and now having to cancel foreign holidays; forced to instead, spend time on ‘Staycation; during their pending 2020 summer holidays here in boring old Éire.

Possibly because of the coronavirus, no councillors have been answering their emails, since election time. Possibly because, as you our readers will be well aware, computers carry the corona virus and numerous other viruses and malicious malware.

Of course, nowadays, local councillors and even politicians require a hell of a lot more education than what was needed in the past.
In a Tipperary media report, Tipperary Councillor and little known botanist, Mr Kieran Bourke, informed the monthly meeting of the Council, that Japanese Knotweed continues to be a “vast problem” down Carrick-on-Suir way, South of the county.

Pictured L-R. Japanese Knotweed used to camouflage fly-tipping – One failed attempt to assassinate Japanese Knotweed.
Pictures G. Willoughby

We learn that a contractor working on behalf of the Tipperary Local Authority, over the last four years, has eradicated this plant on sites listed for treatment. [Well not all exactly eradicated all, as just one picture shown above will attest.]

We learn that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has allocated funding of €11,000 to the Tipperary Co. Council in April 2020, all part of the 2020 Invasive Alien Plant Species plan. We are aware that some 17 sites on national routes around Co. Tipperary were not fully eradicated, despite receiving treatment, between the years 2016 and December 2019, with some now demonstrating signs of re-growth. [Here is one of the few occupations where personnel can get paid consistently for failure. One other occupatin being elected as a Municipal District councillor.]

While we are not aware of what botanical scientific studies, if any, has ever been undertaken by Cllr. Bourke, we would like to highlight recent qualified research, same undertaken by Principal Ecologist Dr. Mark Fennell, latter employed at the engineering firm AECOM.

As part of many years of research, Dr. Fennell’s team looked closely for evidence of the threat by Japanese Knotweed. His team surveyed information supplied by invasive species control contractors and property surveyors and had access to residential properties where Japanese knotweed was known to have been located.

His findings and that of his research team had “found nothing to suggest that Japanese knotweed causes significant damage to buildings – even when it is growing in close proximity and certainly no more damage than caused by other species”.

Dr. Fennell further confirmed that fears regarding Knotweed growing through concrete were not borne out by any real evidence. “It would break the laws of physics if it could grow through concrete, and it absolutely cannot do that. What it can do is grow through cracks in concrete, but it can’t cause those same cracks.

Tipperary County Councillors stressed out, worrying about the growth of Japanese Knotweed, can now relax on holiday. Here in Thurles local residences use this plant very successfully to hide redundant vacuum cleaners and fridge freezers, dumping same in early spring to avoid detection. [See picture above.]

While Tipperary Co. Council, through their Department of the Environment, foolishly continue to waste money using employees to call, checking on homes in the hope that they may find people who have no recycling bins; those people with these bins tell Thurles.Info that worn-out 3 seater leather couches; armchairs of various descriptions; burnt out lawn mower engines and fridge freezers don’t actually fit into any of their green waste bin. The result is inevitably, with the lack of a Recycling /Waste Civic Amenity Site, local fly-tipping will takes place, latter encouraged by Tipperary Co. Council’s inability to solve a simple basic problem.

WEEE collection days in Tipperary postponed due to COVID-19 virus.

We noted Free WEEE Collection Days scheduled for May 2020 were postponed due to the COVID-19 virus until further notice. Free disposal was offered at Civic Amenity Sites on Friday’s from 8:30am – 4:30pm and for a half day on Saturdays.
Note these Civic Amenity Sites were named as Nenagh Civic Amenity; Roscrea Civic Amenity; Tipperary: Donohill Civic Amenity; Cashel: Waller’s Lot Civic Amenity; Clonmel: Carrigeen Civic Amenity.

Wait a minute: Question: “Where is the Thurles: Civic Amenity?” Answer: “There is no Civic Amenity in Thurles”. Haven’t we told you that time and time again.

Tomorrow morning, as usual TippFM radio will grant locally elected reps; community activists; politicians, etc. speaking time on matters which they believe will give the impression that they are working for the good of their community. Time now to ask the Question, “Who is holding up efforts to provide a Waste Civic Amenity here in Thurles”. Time now to ‘name and shame‘ those involved.

Meanwhile Tipperary County Council plan to spend €48,000 or €12,000 in each one of the four Tipperary Municipal District this year to attempt to eradicate this non-native plant.

Could we not use the control methods used in Victorian times? Could the council not purchase Nanny goats, latter who love and trive eating Japanese Knotweed? The ‘Resveratrol’, found afterwards in the goat’s milk could possibly assist in aiding cholesterol, blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, age-related cognitive decline and many other health conditions which this plant can help.


Mikey Ryan Debates Covid-19 Related Issues

“I suppose you have no casual unconfirmed reports about any of our local residents?” said Mikey Ryan whom I found social distancing from a thunder shower, in the foyer of Thurles Shopping Centre last Friday.

Arch Bar, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

“What do you mean”, said I.

“Gossip”, said Mikey, “any local gossip.”

“Not a lot”, said I, “but I was just thinking, I bet you a pound to a penny that there will be a few more businesses closing in Liberty Square, before this covid-19 virus pandemic is sorted out”.

“Well so long as the Arch Bar stays the course, personally I couldn’t give a tinkers curse about the rest”, said Mikey.

“Well I suppose you heard”, said I, “Big Dick Roache the Thurles Town park flasher has decided to retire”.
“Ah no, he’ll probably stick it out for another year, said Mikey, “sure he’s barely gone the 65”.

“Right,” said I, “Well listen, talking about flashers; did you see the online video footage of that European Parliament Member Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan trouserless, scratching his arse? Could that be considered as flashing and could he be arrested when he returns to his Midlands–North-West constituency, I wonder?”

“Not a chance”, said Mikey, “scratching their arses is all that Irish European Parliament Members are expected to actually do over in Brussels”.

But to be fair, all politicians”, continued Mikey, “have been seriously affected by this Covid-19 virus cocooning lark. Most of them are suffering from panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias. Look at Tipperary Labour Party leader Alan Kelly, (AK 47) suffering from delusions; convinced that he is being “listened too” by the present Fine Gael caretaker government. Now, as you yourself will be aware the chances of that scenario ever materialising is slim, having about the same chance as obtaining Kerry Gold butter from a skunks behind, using a red-hot knitting needle”.

“And then” continued Mikey, “Take a look at that Independent Senator Lynn Ruane one; another flasher, who went into a supermarket wearing only her bra and a sarong”.

“Never heard of Senator Lynn Ruane, but, if I remember correctly that word ‘Sarong’ means ‘a string’. I wonder was it binder twine or shop cord she was wearing?” said I.

“Don’t know”, said Mikey, “but it appears sarongs are some sort of attire normally worn at the seaside. To be honest Lidl Supermarket in Tallaght, Co. Dublin is a fair distance from Dublin Bay.”

“Ah yes”, said I licking my lips, “I remember well, back in the sixties every restaurant worth its salt, used to sell Dublin Bay Prawns, with Lemon and Garlic, whether they came from Dublin Bay or not. Well that was before the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant put these juicy King Prawns on a select diet of raw sewage”.

“Talking about Lidl Supermarket”, said I, “do you think that same is where all the Tipperary drug dealers are buying their digital weighing scales? You might possibly have noticed Mikey that after every drugs raid here in Tipperary, there is always a weighing scales that is seized. I often wonder what will the Minister for justice Charles Flanagan eventually do with all those seized weighing devices?

“Jasus don’t mention scales in front of ‘her in doors’ for God sake” said Mikey, “it was about 5 years ago that I forgot her Christmas present. She warned me then that on January 1st, she would expect a gift to be in the driveway that went from 0 to 200 in six seconds and that nothing less would be acceptable. On January 1st, she woke up to see a gift-wrapped box in our driveway. On rushing down she located, amid the tissue and red Xmas ribbon, a brand-new bathroom scales. I spent the next two weeks in Limerick University Hospital’s department of Neurology, being treated for a suspected skull fracture, brain damage and numerous severe lacerations to the head.

“Listen Mikey”, said I, “That reminds me, I’d better be heading for home. Between ourselves, I have a couple of grand in black economy cash, hidden from Revenue, out in our coal shed and a full carton of black market ‘Old Holborn’ tobacco sitting in the kitchen press. Now if in conjunction with the wife’s weighing scales, same are collectively located, it could result in an embarrassing court appearance.”


Thurles On-Street Pay Parking Required From Tomorrow, Monday June 8th

Local Councillor Mr Sean Ryan.

According to the Thurles Municipal District Council’s Twitter account [TipperaryCoCo@ThurlesMD], on-street pay parking requirements will resume in the towns of Thurles, Templemore and Roscrea from tomorrow, Monday, June 8th 2020.

Parking bye laws, which have totally destroyed every single business; both big and small, in Thurles town centre have remained in ‘token place’ in recent months. However these bye laws have not been enforced by traffic wardens; latter who rightly vanished into isolation; cocooning since our caretaker government’s Covid-19 virus restrictions were introduced back in March.

However do take note, Thurles Municipal District have confirmed that full enforcement of pay parking in car parks will NOT resume until Monday July 20th, 2020.
This statement was announced on Twitter on the morning of June 5th last

Previously, it had been further confirmed by Tipperary County Council’s Mr Marcus O’Connor (Director of Services for Roads), who stated “We will only be enforcing it on the streets and people will be able to park in the car parks for free, until Monday 20th July 2020.”

With regard to other matters raised with our elected Councillors; [View HERE (Thurles Heritage In Grave Danger) and HERE (What Future For 1798 Memorial In Liberty Square Thurles?)], silence continues to reign.

In relation to the 1798 Memorial issue we discussed, one would have expected at least a firm “Tiocfaidh ár lá” (Irish -“Our day will come”) from local Irish republican supporters, who before the last 2019 local elections, were to be found laying wreaths at the foot of this same “Stone Man“. No, not a word, not even an “Up the Ra” from Waterford TD David Cullinane.

There were no protests by the public on Liberty Square either, reminissent of the An Post protest, organised by Thurles Chamber, when the former decided to leave Liberty Square. Such a pity as same would have granted some local Councillors that inevitable cynical photo opportunity, to be loaded onto their social media platforms.

Of course this ‘Stone Man’ could fit nicely on top of the Roundabout at Thurles Shopping Centre, joining its old friend An Post once again; you know the circular intersection I mean, that costly ornamental pile of stones offering no practical purpose and referred to as “The Thurles Town Folly”, which successfully blocks the vision of every travelling motorist.

Who did actually acknowledge the “Double Ditch” issues aforementioned :-

Ms Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Ms Emily Beedham, (LUC) Thurles Renewal Strategy project.
Ms Louise Croughan, Minister Madigan’s Office.
Thurles local elected Councillor Mr Sean Ryan, Littleton, Thurles, (latter pictured above), the only elected member of the Thurles Municipal District Council to reply.

Nothing from TD’s and the County Manager. ✘

But of course the local elections are over since early 2019 and that €17,000 minimum annual income, earned by municipal district Councillors, remains relatively safe in these uncertain times; until sometime in early 2024 at least, God willing.

One hopes now that there will be no sudden rush by those other Thurles elected representatives, latter unable to read their emails, offering us conference calls on Zoom, wearing only a shirt and skimpy underpants, while scratching themselves; following in the new trend set by Ming ‘The trourserless’.


Where There Is A Will, This Could Be A New Way!

Picture courtesy O’Driscoll’s Garden Centre, Mill Road, Thurles. Tel No. (O504) 21636

A humorous photograph taken at the Guinness St. James’s Gate Brewery, back in 1942, but never published because of war-time censorship.

With licenced premises anxious to begin trading again as Covid-19 decreases in vigour and extent, could history be handing us a solution?

One wonders what Mikey Ryan’s view of this would be, if a similar structure was erected outside the Arch Bar, on Liberty Square in Thurles?

It is either the above or wait until August 10th, 2020, when pubs are again listed to open, according to our governments roadmap.


Mikey Ryan’s Health Deteriorating From Cocooning

Mikey Ryan and myself were back again yesterday afternoon; tee-totalling; social distancing; soaking up the Thurles unprecedented spring sunshine; lying out on the banks of the river Suir; like dogs, with tongues hanging out, waiting for today’s double Covid-19 hand-out.

And speaking of canines; this had followed our vain efforts to gain access to the rear of the Arch Bar via Cormack’s Lane, which had been met by the total disapproval of licenced hostelry proprietor Mr Pat Hayes, who with the assistance of his new German Shepherd guard dog, was quick to directed us out onto a more public thoroughfare.

Again, talking of canines brought to mind yet another train of thought, leading me to ask Mikey a question, “I haven’t seen your little woman in Lidl all this week” said I, “don’t tell me she has withdrawn from enemy territory and retreated back to her mother to assist in stirring that auld ones cauldron”.

“No such damned luck” said Mikey, “but in truth she and the fruit of her loins, are driving me to utter despair. I’ll tell you this and I’ll tell you no more; I was so driven by the complete absence of hope last Wednesday, that I went into the Liberty Pharmacy there at No 34 on Liberty Square, looking for medical assistance.

“Well did Kate give you anything that worked”, said I.

“Damned a bit did I get”, said Mikey, as he attempted to remove a piece of Brennan’s bread from between two teeth, using a piece of sedge grass.

Of course I learned from Mikey later, that local pharmacist Kate Kennedy had refused to dispense his request for anti-depression drugs on the grounds that he had no proper doctor’s prescription. “Simply showing me a marriage certificate in one hand and your wife’s passport photo in the other, is far from sufficient to access any such strong dangerous medication”; was, to quote Mikey himself, her instant reply.

“So is your missus isolating completely, or have you strangled her”, said I, smiling.

“Not exactly”, said Mikey, “tempted though I was; no it was agreed in principle that I should restrain her using a short chain, padlocked to her left leg and with the other end welded to a radiator. This gives her sufficient room to access the cooker and the sink in the kitchen. The reason for this is simply to social distance her from the fridge. Sure even she agreed it was the only solution to ‘flattening her curve’, if you know what I mean”.

If Mrs Ryan wanted to lose 10 ugly pounds immediately, she could cut her head off, I thought to myself, (Well you can’t say everything out loud nowadays, as people cocooning get very tetcey).

“Maybe she is suffering from water retention”, said I, “My own wife, I know, suffers from what doctors call ‘excess fluids’ that build up inside her body”.

“In the case of my missus I’m afraid its bloody, dairy milk chocolate retention”, said Mikey.

“Maybe her problem is brought on by stress; does worry of catching this covid-19 virus affect her at all?” said I.

“Well she has never mentioned stress, but strictly between ourselves I think she may have started to show the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s”, said Mikey.

“How did you work that out”, said I, “has she been consulting with her consultant.”

“No, but again between ourselves, she did say to me, only yesterday, that she doesn’t remember what she ever saw in me”, said Mikey.

Then, out of the blue she announced that she wouldn’t mind if I re-married after she’d passed on. Well on one proviso”, Mikey elaborated, “that the new woman I would marry wouldn’t wear any of the clothes presently in her wardrobe”.

“She needn’t worry there anyway” said I, “sure her replacement is nearly 5 inches taller, even with her hair down”.

“Listen, keep your voice down, walls have ears”, said Mikey, “Listen, I’d better be heading home to open the fridge for the wife, fish fingers don’t exactly cook themselves; more’s the pity.”