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Deputy M. McNamara Challenges Tipperary Senator G. Ahearn Over Dáil Vote Comments.

Clare Independent TD, Mr Michael McNamara, has described Senator Garret Ahearn’s criticism of Independent TDs, who on Tuesday last, (December 5th, 2023) voted ‘No Confidence’ in Justice Minister, Mrs Helen McEntee as “facetious”* and “surprising”. [*Treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humour”].

Deputy McNamara has responded by suggesting that the Tipperary-based Senator is “opting to ignore the depletion in numbers of Gardaí in Tipperary merely for advancement within his own party.”

“The Garda numbers in the Clare/Tipperary Division have fallen considerably during Mrs Helen McEntee’s term of office and I am surprised that Senator Ahearn has no issue with the resultant increase in antisocial behaviour in towns like Clonmel and Ennis,” added Deputy McNamara.

Figures released by the Department of Justice in response to a Parliamentary Question by Deputy McNamara reveal that the number of serving Gardaí in the Clare and Tipperary Garda Division dropped from 727 in November 2020 to 674 in November 2023, while numbers nationally decreased by almost 4,000 to 13,940 in the three years to November 2023.

“Senator Ahearn’s comments are facetious and bely the situation faced by communities across rural Ireland that have witnessed the closure of Garda stations and an overall decrease in the number of serving Gardaí,” explained Deputy McNamara. “It comes as a great surprise to me that any politician, aspiring to represent Tipperary, would be happy with the depleted numbers of Gardaí serving in the Clare and Tipperary Garda Division.”

Speaking during yesterday’s ‘Motion of No Confidence’ in Mrs Helen McEntee, Deputy McNamara said, “There is much about personalities and criticism of people’s personalities on both sides of this House. For me, this is not about personalities at all, for what it is worth. The Minister is a fine person and a relatively competent politician. There must, though, be political accountability in this House, in this democracy. This must be the case for health services and security services. Unfortunately, there are fewer Gardaí in the State now. The total is a little under 14,000 now, while there was a little under 18,000 at the start of this Dáil term.”

“Of those gardaí, they are spending more time behind computers. That is annoying them, and they are losing confidence in their Garda management,” he continued. “We might ask what that has to do with the Minister. It is the role of the Government to put management in place in the health service or An Garda Síochána that is able and resourced to do the job. It is very clear from the views, responses and votes of rank and file Gardaí, with regard to the GRA, that they do not have confidence. The problem is resources or Garda management. Either way, that becomes the Minister’s problem because she is the one who is accountable to the House for that.”

Deputy McNamara added, “I regret not being able to express confidence in the Minister. I hope she will recruit a lot more gardaí and develop systems whereby they have more time on the beat and are not tied up as much behind their desks. All I can go on is what I am seeing and hearing in my constituency. The lack of Gardaí on the beat is resulting in increasing antisocial behaviour not just on the streets of Dublin, but on the streets of Ennis. That is a problem because people now expect Gardaí to be transferred from rural towns to Dublin. There is not the capacity for that.”

“There is a real problem with policing in this State and there has to be political accountability. It is not that I take any pleasure in not voting confidence in the Minister, but there has to be political accountability and on that basis I regret that I cannot express confidence in the Government on this issue,” concluded Deputy McNamara.


Statutory Agency Dedicated To Tackling Domestic Abuse Passes Through Oireachtas.

A statutory agency under the remit of the Department of Justice and dedicated to tackling and reducing domestic; sexual; and gender-based violence (DSGBV) while supporting victims and survivors has passed through the Oireachtas.

The establishment of the DSGBV Agency, which is expected to be operational by January 2024, will deliver on commitments under Zero Tolerance, the Third National Strategy on DSGBV.

The Bill was passed by the Seanad today, having been approved by Government for publication last September and passed through the Dáil earlier in November. The next step is for the Bill to be signed into law by the President.

The working name for the Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Agency is expected to be called Cuan, (meaning ‘harbour’ or ‘haven’). The name is regarded as user-friendly, memorable and, above all, most suited to the functions and objectives of the new Agency.
The new agency will work collaboratively with the NGO and DSGBV services sector to ensure that the best possible services are in place to meet the needs of victims and survivors.

The Agency will be tasked with:

  • Coordinating and reporting on the delivery of Government strategies relating to DSGBV (including the current National Strategy).
  • Supporting and overseeing the delivery of safe and accessible refuge accommodation, and ensuring the delivery of excellent services to victims of DSGBV (including helpline and other supports).
  • Developing robust standards for funded DSGBV services in collaboration with the sector, and monitoring adherence to these standards by funded service providers.
  • Leading on awareness-raising campaigns designed to reduce the incidence of DSGBV in Irish society as well as ensuring that all victims know the full range of supports available and how to access them.
  • Liaising with the Minister for Justice and her Department to ensure that the work of the Agency aligns with overall Government DSGBV policy.
  • Leading on research to inform DSGBV policy development, working with others, such as the CSO, who have research and data projects underway.

A competition to appoint a CEO for the agency is currently underway, while a process to recruit members to the board of the new Agency went live on Stateboards.ie yesterday (22/11/23) and will be open for three weeks.
The statutory name of the Agency will be An Ghníomhaireacht um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe, Irish Translation “The Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Agency”.


Tipperary Co. Co. & Thurles Municipal District Officials Ability Called Into Question.

One must seriously call into question the ability of Tipperary County Council and Thurles Municipal District officials, together with their supposedly qualified engineering department, when it comes to street design and basic planning decisions.

Location: Liberty Square, Thurles. Crossroads sign no longer fit for purpose for those drivers, unfamiliar with the town centre.
Pic: G. Willoughby.

Thurles.info has consistently warned of the complete waste of money, when it comes to positioning signposts; pedestrian lighting lamp standards and more recently, giant flower-pot street furniture; latter positioned too close to high sided vehicles, and indeed all vehicles attempting to manoeuvre their way through the mostly narrow medieval streets of Thurles.

Location: Liberty Square, Thurles. New carpark sign supposedly directing parking to the new carpark, no longer fit for purpose, for months pointing in the wrong direction for those visitors unfamiliar with Thurles town.
Pic: G. Willoughby.

The very existence of these high sided vehicles are testament to the failure of two resident TD’s, namely Mr Michael Lowry and Mr Jackie Cahill, who have consistently failed miserable, to obtain a long promised ring-road diversion; now no longer being discussed until 2040, at the very earliest.

Location: Liberty Square, Thurles. A giant, now skewed, flowerpot just installed recently. Latter street furniture has become the latest victim to suddenly change its position, courtesy of a vehicle attempting to find a non existent parking space.
Pic: G. Willoughby.

Liberty Square, Thurles, Perplexity.

Of course not all of Thurles streets were medieval, until current local elected councillors voted (Part 8) for what can only be described as the total destruction of Liberty Square from a business and traffic perspective, with no imput from local residents or business people being embraced during the planning stage. All businesses remaining in the area and interviewed report at least a 60% drop in customer footfall as a direct result.

Note, the above three pictures are taken within just a few metres of each other on the newly, half updated Liberty Square area of the town centre, where we learn even goods delivery vehicles, same prevented simply attempting to go about their daily business, are being issued with tickets for inescapable parking violations.


Tipperary County Council May Be Unable To Continue Delivering Basic Public Services.

Tipperary County Council may be unable to continue delivering basic public services next year, due to rising inflation costs unless the government reinstates a special funding stream normally provided for local authorities.
Last year, the government made available a special funding stream for local authorities to deal with rising inflation costs., however, no such extra funding for rising inflation will be coming from government this year, for 2024.

This issue, it is believed by officials, could seriously impact on as yet unidentified maintenance; enhancement works; and other various community projects like unnecessary fireworks displays and festivals.

Here in Thurles the already lack of maintenance has been evident for over the past two years, [See pictures attached with more to be published here soon].

Sign on the Nenagh Road roundabout unattended for weeks, flattened by the rear wheels of an elongated truck.

A move has been supported by Councillors to now write to the Minister for Finance Mr Michael McGrath TD, and the Minister for Public Expenditure, Mr Paschal Donohoe, expressing grave concerns, and requesting a reversal of this decision.

Cathedral Street carpark resembling the cratered and pitted surface normally found in lunar geology, and believe me it has never been impacted by any asteroids, meteorites, or comets.

This issue it is believed could seriously impact on unidentified maintenance; enhancement works, and various community projects.

Could this end up with staff at the lower end of the pay scale finding themselves unemployed, while decision making officials and elected councillors remain sitting back with their feet up, retained on high salaries’ waiting for our financial climate to change.

Once again, we ask the question “What are we getting in return for compulsory Annual Property Tax Payments”.


Today Was Rememberence Day.

Remembrance Day (or Poppy Day) is observed annually, on November 11th, to recall the end of the First World War and all of its associated hostilities.
Back then, these hostilities were ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of the year 1918″, at Compiègne, Northern France, following the armistice, signed by representatives of Germany and the alliance of states, between 5:12am and 5:20am on that morning.
Its purpose also is to honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. It was on the 7th. November 1919, King George V first issued a proclamation which called for a two-minute silence, having read a letter published in the London Evening News of May 8th, 1919, by a Melbourne journalist, Edward George Honey. It was Mr Honey who first proposed a two minute silence in memory of those, who so willingly sacrificed their lives for the relative peace and freedom we sadly no longer enjoy today, [I refer to in particular, the situations in Gaza, Israel, Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere].

King George V’s proclamation of 1919 read All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead”.

Thurles WW1 Dead
Meanwhile, here in Thurles on today, let us never forget some 73 soldiers, including Victoria Cross recipients; all who were residents of the Thurles area and who lost their lives during WW1.

Anderson John, – Beirne John, – Bermingham Patrick, – Bourke James, – Brett Timothy, – Butler John, – Byrne Patrick, – Carroll Martin, – Carroll Thomas, – Carty John, – Cassidy John, – Cleary Joseph, – Cleary Patrick, – Cleary Thomas, – Coady Edward, – Coady Joseph, – Coady Richard, – Coffey Michael, – Cooke Henry F, – Cooney David, – Cummins John, – Conway Denis, – Cunningham John V.C., – Cunningham Patrick, – Cusack Oliver, – Dea Patrick, – Dwyer Cornelius, – Egan Martin, – Fitzpatrick Joseph, – Gouldsborough Patrick, – Griffin Thomas, – Hackett Martin, – Hanrahan Daniel, – Hayes Daniel, – Hayes Thomas, – Hennessey Thomas, – Horan Joseph, – Jordan Denis, – Kelly James, – Kelly William, – Kennedy Matthew, – Kiely Owen, – Knox Hubert Lt Col., – Knox William Lt Col., – Lawyer Joseph, – Maher Frank, – Maher James, – Maher James Bernard, – Maher John, – McCormack Francis, – McCormack Thomas, – McLoughlin James J, – Meany James, – Mockler Patrick, – Moyler George, – O’Brien Lawrence, – O’Grady Patrick, – O’Shea John, – Power Michael, – Purcell Philip, – Quinlan Joseph, – Ryan Andrew, – Ryan James, – Ryan John, – Ryan Martin, – Ryan Michael, – Ryan Patrick, – Scally Patrick, – Shields Matthew, – Stapleton John, – Sullivan Patrick, – Terry Timothy, – Walsh James.

In all, at least 50,000 families in Ireland were affected by the loss of a loved one, during the First World War.

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon CBE MC

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon CBE MC (1886-1967) was an English war poet, writer, and soldier himself decorated for bravery on the Western Front and who became one of the leading poets of World War I.
His poetry clearly described the horrors of trench warfare and satirizes the patriotic pretensions of those who, in his view, are responsible for war, fuelled by nationalism, in the form of aggressive, proactive foreign policy.

In honour of ‘Remembrance Day’, we, hereunder, feature one of Siegfried Sassoon poems; the title of which is sadly, rarely spoken about.

Suicide In The Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy,
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed* and glum,
With crumps* and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye,
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know,
The hell where youth and laughter go.


Cowed* Meaning ‘Intimidated’. Crumps* Meaning ‘exploding shells’.