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June 2nd 2022 – Shame On Thurles Municipal District Councillors.

Empty flower beds and empty dirty flower containers, Thurles June 1st, 2022

Today is June 2nd, 2022, and as yet not one flower container or flower bed has been planted this year by Thurles Municipal District Council staff.

Perhaps one of our local councillors might like to communicate to the public on why this has been allowed to happen.

Before the introduction of Property Tax all of our flower containers and hanging baskets were planted. Today, no public hanging basket exists and expensive flower containers remain filthy and empty of plants, except for what seeded itself over last year.

Thurles Railway Bridge, 1st June, 2022.

Yes, we have some large new pink flower containers on Liberty Square filled with “Box Hedging” and lavender-blue flowered “Catmint”, but these containers also are being neglected, with much evidence of “Dock” plants and “Yellow Rocket Cress”, same never ever intended for planting.

Thankfully, Thurles Shopping Centre and Lidl Supermarket have privately set the example, with both premises shaming Thurles Municipal District Council officials and our local elected councillors.

River Suir Thurles yesterday, June 1st, 2022.

Between poor street surfaces, a river that currently looks like an open sewer and street lighting burning 24 hours each day; 4 questions:
(1) Why do we need a tourist office?
(2) Why do we continue to pay Property Tax?
(3) Why do we continue to pay the salaries of failed administrators?
(4) Why are Thurles residents accepting poor standards of administration in complete silence?


Last Morsels Of Thurles Towns Rich History Lost In Shadows Of Tar & Cement.

“If the Government is to restore public confidence in its ability to stop abuse or misuse of power, it needs to accelerate efforts to promote transparency and accountability in public office.”
Approximately, half of the Great Famine Double Ditch, the last morsels of Thurles Towns rich history is now gone for ever, courtesy of “cute hoorism” by local councillors and their attempts at self promotion.
Picture shows the base for the new inner relief road being installed. You can see from this picture that this new housing, in no way, impeded on this piece of national heritage.
Pic. G. Willoughby.

Before I discuss the current situation regarding the loss of the Great Famine Double Ditch now and over the coming days and weeks, I would like to make the following statement known, to a shocked 5 to 8 thousand daily readers of Thurles.Info.
I, George Willoughby, as a former proud member of the hugely respected Thurles Lions Club, wholeheartedly continue to support Thurles Lions club and their magnificent organisation in every possible respect, both in their past charitable efforts and in any future ventures.
Thurles Lions Club are an organization comprised of members that give selflessly to Thurles town and its environs. They are collectively motivated simply and solely by a desire to do good and to genuinely help others.
They are not currently and never have been, motivated by self promotion like our current local councillors, and millionaire chasing local politicians.
They never have and never will use and abuse causes which seek only self promotion.

Tar & Cement – Author Verdelle Smith.
“Many years later, tired at last
I headed for home to look for my past
I looked for the meadows, there wasn’t a trace
Six lanes of highway had taken their place
Where were the lilacs and all that they meant
Nothing but acres of tar and cement.
Yet I can see it there so clearly now
Where has it gone?
Yes I can see it there so clearly now
Where has it gone?”.

How Councillor Mr Seamus Hanafin [See last paragraph on Mr Hanafin’s Facebook page, dated February 20th 2022], went on to, quote, “acknowledge and thank Thurles Lions Club, who have been to the fore in this project” remains a total mystery to the Lions Club members with whom I spoke.

This evening March 25th, 2022, I wrote/sent the following email to the editor of the Tipperary Star, Mr Noel Dundon.

The text reads as follows:-
To Mr Dundon,
It is with regret that I must now insist that no further photographs (being my intellectual property) either taken in the past, or photographs from my current social media pages and websites, are to be used in any of your publications.
As you will be aware 99% of pictures taken and published in the Tipp Star in the past 40 years, were given to your publications totally free of charge.

However, recently you promoted Councillor Seamus Hanafin in an article which I find totally untrue.  It claimed that Thurles Lions Club was involved in the Thurles River Walk path project, suggesting that the club were involved in the loss of the Great Famine Double Ditch.

In publishing this article you used my picture/image of Thurles River Walk, firstly without crediting the author and secondly using details in your text that I regard as untrue.

This picture must now be removed from all on line publications immediately.

From recent talks with Thurles Lions Club members, no funding came from the Lions club organisation, for these projects and as a former Lions Club member and strong supporter of International Lionism, I find that their name is now being used incorrectly in relation to recent lost heritage; lost to the business people of Thurles, its residents and Thurles Tourism.

It is with regret therefore that I can no longer commit to allowing any of my work to be used in your local papers/editorials. 
Previous permissions granted are now fully rescinded.
It is also disappointing to note that at no time over the past 3 years did any of your publications, despite being approached, attempt to support Thurles people in retaining now defunct heritage; instead deciding to churn out the effluvium sent to you by local councillors and politicians.
From next week I personally will no longer purchase your weekly publication, in protest.

I remain,
Yours Sincerely

George Willoughby.

In the next few days Thurles.Info will be discussing my dealings over the past 3 years with our Government Departments; that of Heritage, National Parks & Wildlife Service, latter in their failure in protection, granted by Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, while under the governance of Green Party Minister for State Mr Malcolm Noonan, and finally the National Monument service, and Tipperary Co. Council’s Heritage Office, all of which are no longer fit for purpose in modern Ireland.


International Refugee Week To Raise Up Marginalised Voices.

Arrival of people seeking refuge from Ukraine to form the background to inaugural series of events.

The Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) is to host its inaugural International Refugee Week – March 21st-25th, raising up the voices and experiences of people seeking refuge in Ireland.

The Technological University, now in its sixth month of existence, is lighting campuses in yellow and blue to show solidarity with the Ukraine and Ukrainians seeking refuge in Ireland. During International Refugee Week at TUS, events will include exhibitions, debates, a VR experience, workshops, lectures and talks, all with the purpose of highlighting the challenges faced by refugees in Ireland and providing a platform for the voice of refugees.
In total, TUS will host 10 events at its Thurles, Clonmel, Moylish and Athlone campuses.

Ms Marian Duggan, VP for People, Culture, and Equality Diversity and Inclusion at TUS said, “Inclusion in education is vital and should extend to all who would benefit from it, regardless of their circumstance. At TUS, we are committed to fostering a welcoming and safe space for refugees and asylum seekers, and part of that means listening to people’s lived experiences, acknowledging the difficulties they have faced, and working collectively to break down barriers and challenge perceptions. Through TUS International Refugee Week, we will raise up marginalised voices and celebrate the strength and resilience of displaced people who have sought refuge in Ireland and across Europe.”

Among the keynote week’s events is the “We Are Here, HEAR” Exhibition and Show, which will take place on the TUS Athlone Campus and in the TUS Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD). Both events will showcase the voices and experiences of people seeking refuge in Ireland. The core exhibition will run outside reception in the Athlone campus for the week, providing an emotionally powerful collection of photographs and stories, while at LSAD former Syrian TV host Kinda Nassli will speak of her discovery of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s ashes as a refugee in Ireland.

Speaking ahead of the launch of Refugee Week, TUS President Prof. Mr Vincent Cunnane said, “We are proud allies to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and welcome them into our university community. The arrival of people from Ukraine to Ireland seeking refuge has made us all more aware of the lives of refugees amongst us.

He continued, “TUS International Refugee Week offers us a chance to step into the shoes of those seeking sanctuary and see the world as they do, albeit briefly, to better understand the barriers and inequities faced. The week’s events will shine a light on their plight, but it will also be the impetus for meaningful dialogue on Direct Provision and the steps we can take to support those in need.”

Visit HERE to view the full schedule of events to be held across each of the Thurles, Clonmel, Moylish and Athlone campuses.


Extended Legislation For Pub & Restaurant Outdoor Seating Areas

Regulations to clarify outdoor seating hours, as normal trading hours resume.

Minister for Justice Ms Heather Humphreys has moved to clarify the operation of outdoor seating areas, as licensed premises return to full trading hours from yesterday.

Earlier this year, Minister Humphreys brought in legislation to allow relevant outdoor seating areas to operate lawfully. This legislation is due to expire on November 30th 2021, but can be extended for six months and Minister Humphreys has announced her intention to introduce such an extension.

Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 introduced changes to allow for the sale and consumption of alcohol in relevant outdoor seating areas.

This applied where those outdoor seating areas have been permitted by the relevant local authority on public land, such as a path, or where they are on private land abutting the licensed premises, such as an abutting yard, as provided for in the Act.

These outdoor areas, by virtue of the Act, were subject to the same trading hours as applied to the licenced premises itself – which, until now, have been Covid restricted trading hours. From today, however, the restricted hours no longer apply and normal trading resumes.

The Minister is conscious the extension of the licensed premises to private land outdoor seating areas was not made in the application for the licensed premises.

Given the emergency nature of the legislation introduced earlier this year, and with trading hours returning to normal, Minister Humphreys therefore considers it appropriate to regulate the opening hours of outdoor seating areas which operate on private land abutting the licenced premises.

This is being done in the interests of communities and with the principles of fairness. The Department has been in contact with industry groups to inform them of these measures.

The regulation sets out that alcohol cannot be sold or consumed any day after 11 p.m. in the outdoor seating areas on private land abutting a licenced premises. The regulation will come into effect today, 22 October 2021.

This regulation is not intended to apply to:

The trading hours permitted by local authorities for the authorised outdoor seating areas in public lands. The emergency legislation of last summer already provides for the adherence to the conditions of the permits granted by the local authorities (which include restrictions on trading hours).

The existing conditions for trading hours attached to the licensed premises, which already includes an outdoor area within that license, and where such areas are not benefitting from the emergency Act.

Minister Humphreys stated:

“I brought in emergency legislation to allow for outdoor seating areas to operate lawfully. This Act remains in place until 30 November 2021, but can be extended for up to 6 months at a time, with a positive resolution of the Houses of the Oireachtas.
We want to ensure there is certainty for business and work is underway to proceed with an extension.
As trading hours return to normal in line with the easing of certain Covid restrictions, I have introduced a pragmatic regulation for outdoor seating areas for private land abutting the licensed premises that are covered by the emergency legislation.
This sets out that alcohol cannot be sold or consumed any day after 11:00 p.m. in the private land outdoor seating areas, which benefit from the emergency legislation.
This is in line with similar trading hour restrictions on the outdoor seating areas authorised by local authorities. It does not impact the trading hours attached to outdoor areas that are within the existing licensing arrangement as part of the licensed premises.”


Barney & Beakey’s Family Almost Ready To Travel.

Just hatched. Photo: G. Willoughby.

We wrote about a second clutch of 4 swallows being reared by “Barney” and “Beakey” some 15 days ago, soon after all their eggs hatched, on August 14th, 2021. Now 14 days later, look how they have grown, filling their second mud nest, on a diet of Thurles insects.

Almost ready for the long road ahead. Photo: G. Willoughby.

Swallows have been around on our planet for a very, very long time. A remark found in Aristotle’s (384BC–322BC) best-known work on ethics “Nicomachean Ethics” reads “one swallow does not a summer make”.

The play “Timon of Athens”, latter a sharp satire on wealth, greed and betrayal and written by William Shakespeare between 1605 and 1606, contains the phrase, “The swallow follows not summer more willing than we your lordship”.

On coming here to Thurles the swallow, in many cases, travels well over 6,500 miles from sub-Saharan Africa to spend the summer with us. They come to take advantage of our longer hours of daylight; our abundant sources of flying insects and the lack of other competition to their ‘on the wing’ food source. Were they to remain in their African winter-quarters, swallows would have to share their airspace with at least a dozen other related flying species.

Thus this small bird, that weighs less than an ounce (20 grams) is prepared to fly north-westwards, at great personal risk, to take advantage of our more temperate latitude, a classification we share with most of north-west Europe.

Swallows navigate using the Earth’s magnetic field; polarised light and visual landmarks, which incredibly allow them to return to the very same area here in Tipperary, where they were originally born.

Soon around mid-September of the current year, their return journey will take them back, south-eastwards, across the North Atlantic sea.
Since swallows feed entirely on flying insects, they don’t need to fatten up before departing, rather they will grab their food, on the wing, along their chosen flightpath; over their six week journey, covering up to 200 miles each day. They will, using day light, cross western Europe; breaking their journey, to drink or feed as they feel the need. They will congregate on headlands before taking flight to cross the Mediterranean Sea; then across the Sahara Desert; the jungles of equatorial Africa, until Table Mountain comes into their vision; thus signalling to each that they have at last reached the approximate vicinity of their wintering quarters.

Meanwhile, we here in Ireland are left bereft until next April. Watch them, enjoy them, while they are still around to be observed, in the knowledge and firm belief that “men may make plans, but God laughs”.