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November 9th, A Date Synonymous With German History

Lest We Forget

November 9th is a date forever synonymous with German history; same never to be forgotten.

Today and in recent years the fall of the Berlin Wall, which occurred, this day, (on Thursday November 9th 1989), has somewhat overshadowed the events of Wednesday November 9th, 1938, latter which should have been a warning and a strong indication of the future Jewish Holocaust; latter also known as the Shoah, or the World War II extermination and genocide of 6 million European Jews and others, carried out between 1941 and 1945, in extermination camps and gas chambers.

Companies such as BMW, Deutsche Bank, Ford, Opel, Siemens and Volkswagen would later face lawsuits for their use of forced labor during World War II.

The French State owned National Railway Company (SNCF), agreed, as late as 2014, to pay $60 million to Jewish-American survivors, (around $100,000 each), for their role in the transporting of some 76,000 Jews from France to extermination camps, between the years 1942 and 1944.

Emaciated dead Jewish bodies in a concentration camp, piled up awaiting disposal, which had then just been relieved by Allied troops.

On November 9th, 1938, German Nazis launched a campaign of terror against Jewish people and their homes and businesses throughout Germany and Austria. The violence, which continued through until Thursday November 10th was later labelled “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” following the countless smashed windows and other vandalism systematically carried out on some 7,500 Jewish businesses. Same deliberate, orchestrated and senseless activity would leave that night approximately 100 Jewish people dead and hundreds of synagogues, private homes, educational centres and graveyards, vandalized and pillaged.

Today is the anniversary of a peaceful revolution

However, for today at least, let us commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall [German: Mauerfall – English: Fall of the Wall), which happened this day, 30 years ago, November 9th 1989. Same event was widely regarded as a pivotal event in the history of our world, soon to mark the fall of the “Iron Curtain”, latter a political, military, and ideological barrier, erected by the Soviet Union, following World War II; thus sealing off other non-communist countries.

Two pieces, each from both sides of the Berlin Wall, on display previously here in Thurles. Note: The graffiti paint on the top piece, is from the western side.

Following the earlier dismantling of an electric fence (April 1989), latter which had stretched along the border between Hungary and Austria; refugees were finding their way into Hungary via Czechoslovakia.

This emigration was initially tolerated because of long-standing agreements with the communist Czechoslovak government, which had allowed for free travel across their common boundary.

This permitted movement of people now grew so large that it caused great difficulties for both countries. To further add to this, East Germany was struggling to meet loan payments on foreign borrowings.

Former East German politician, who was the last communist leader of East Germany, Egon Krenz had sent Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski to unsuccessfully negotiate a short-term loan from West Germany, to enable East Germany to make their interest payments.

It was at a Politburo meeting on November 7th of that year, that it was decided to enact a portion of the draft travel regulations addressing permanent emigration immediately. At the start, the Politburo planned simply to create a special border crossing near Schirnding, Bavaria, specifically for this current emigration. Personnel at the Ministry for State Security (Staatssicherheitsdienst, SSD or Stasi) had been charged with fashioning new document text for these intended changes. The latter had concluded same changes were not feasible and had produced instead new text relating to emigration and temporary travel details.

This new text now stipulated that East German citizens could apply for permission to travel abroad without having to meet the previous requirements then in vogue for similar journeys.

To ease the obvious difficulties, the Politburo, led by Egon Krenz, decided on November 9th to allow refugees to exit directly through crossing points between East Germany and West Germany, including between East and West Berlin. Later that same day, the ministerial administration modified this proposal to include private and round-trip travel. The new regulations were to take effect the next day.

An end to the Cold War was declared at the Malta Summit, on December 2nd–3rd, 1989, some three weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall; latter which comprised a meeting between US President George H. W. Bush and the Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. The reunification of Germany would take place during the following year.

The actual announcement of these new regulations, which saw the wall taken down, took place during an hour-long press conference. Same led by Günter Schabowski, (latter an official of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany; the party boss in East Berlin; and the spokesman for the Socialist Unity Party (SED) Politburo). The press conference began at 18:00hrs Central European Time on November 9th and was broadcast live on East German television and radio, both then the state television and broadcaster in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).


Thurles – Double Ditch

The world outside your private home is not your personal dump.

Last week I had the privilege, for two days, to show a number of American & Canadian persons around the town of Thurles, all intent on combining together to write a Great Famine TV script. Not having recently visited the “Double Ditch”, on the Mill Road, once a Great Famine project initiated for those starving here in Thurles; imagine my embarrassment on discovering the state of this National Monument.

A National Monument in the Republic of Ireland is a structure or site, the preservation of which has been deemed to be of national importance and therefore worthy of state protection.

Proud people just don’t litter.

This 174 year-old-old famine project has had its Mill Road entrance firstly destroyed by the very contractors employed by Tipperary Co. Council to erect fencing and a short concrete footpath, but now someone has erected posts and barbed wire on this public-right-of-way and once pedestrian Mass Path. It has also been turned into a graveyard for unwanted supermarket trollies. Observe it yourself as I viewed it last week.

“Double Ditch” at Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

A ditch is a narrow channel dug at the side of a road or in a field. Its purpose to either hold or carry away flood water.
In Anglo-Saxon, the word ‘dïc’ was pronounced ‘deek’ or ‘deetch’. In digging such a water trench the upcast soil will form into a bank alongside it. This banked soil thus means that the word ‘dïc’ included not just the excavation itself, but also the bank of soil derived from such effort. Later word would later evolve into the words we more commonly use today, e.g. ‘dyke’ and ‘ditch’.

The idea of this Thurles “Double Ditch” was firstly to provide work for those unemployed and starving, but was it also possibly erected to provide a dry shortcut for Dr. J.Knaggs himself, when he was wont to cross from his home, (today’s Ulster Bank premises, in Liberty Square, then known as Main Street); travelling via College Lane, The Pike, (today Kickham Street), to visit family relatives in Knaggs Mill, Brewery and Bakery at Archerstown watermill, same later to become Brady’s Mill?

The Double Ditch featured in our video was built in 1846 and remains a well-worn public right-of-way and also later became a Mass Path to the ‘Lady’s Well’ area. During the 19th and early 20th century same naturally became a short cut for all pupils attending schools in Thurles coming from outlying areas and villages e.g. Littleton.

With next year commemorating the 175th year of the Great Famine, [Same officially began on September 13th, 1845 – 1849], today this video must surely bring a blush of shame, not just to the faces of those we have elected locally to represent us, but also to Tipperary Co. Council officials, who have failed to provide a Recycling Depot in Thurles.
Same depots are readily available in the towns of Cashel, Nenagh, Clonmel, Donohill and Roscrea, but Thurles local councillors have once again failed us in every way, except on their social media pages.
For the few who hold a driving licence to tow a trailer, a rough costing for those who wish to clean up such litter can be found HERE.

Meanwhile, those of our starving ancestors, must surely be turning in their graves due to the disrespect shown in their efforts to feed their children / families.

The gift to the town of fruit bearing crab-apple trees, once secretly sowed by these people bounding on this double ditch, are now set on fire; the existing young shutes of Japanese knotweed, which featured in many a “Spring rhubarb tart” during two world wars, are now forced to emerge through filth and grime. [Yes, we should be controlling Japanese knotweed by eating it, instead of Tipperary Co. Council inviting specialist companies to destroy is using poisonous chemicals and at considerable cost to rate payers.]

The “Double Ditch” featured in the above video gets mentioned for the first time in the “Minutes of the Thurles Famine Food Committee”, on Monday, April 20th, 1846.

Those attending that 1846 meeting included Venerable Archdeacon Rev. Henry Cotton [Chairperson [(C. of I.)]. Present also were Dr. O’Connor, Very Rev. Fr. Barron, [(R.C.) St. Patrick’s College, Thurles], Rev. Mr Baker, Rev. Mr Lanigan, Mr O’Brien [Treasurer], Dr. Joshua Knaggs [Medical Doctor] and Mr James B. Kennedy [Secretary].

From these same minutes we learn that the Famine Relief Committee have already begun creating work for those unemployed, ensuring that money in the form of wages, will enable those starving to purchase food. Dr. Knaggs reports his having inspected the works to be undertaken at College Lane and the proposed “Double Ditch”; calculating the expense for the works at College Lane at £20, latter sum today the equivalent of £20,000.

It was agreed that barrows should be purchased from Mr Patrick McGrath [½doz @ 9 shillings]; Mr Daniel Carroll [½doz @ 9/6] and also Mr Dan Dwyer; latter if he wishes to make them. It was further agreed that, when necessary, the Committee have the power to hire asses’ carts at 15 pence per day.

The previous day, April 19th 1846, Mr J. B. Kennedy Esq had informed relief commissioners of the state of Thurles: –
243 families containing 739 men, women and children unable to work and almost totally destitute; and 525 families containing 2625 individuals totally depending on the heads and sons to the number of 790 who cannot procure employment; thus, making in the town, 3364 persons to be relieved”. With regards to the immediate environs [referred to as ‘country parts’] of the town he states: – “The country parts of our District are divided into wards and similar enquiries are in progress, the result of which I have reason to believe will be painful in the extreme”.

On the same day we learn from further written communication sent to the Trustees appointed for the distribution of Indian Meal, quote: – “In the town of Thurles alone there are at this moment 768 families containing 3364 inhabitants in actual want; of these 739 are old men, women and children, unable to work and who have no one to labour for them; and the remaining 2625 are depending on the daily hire of the sons and heads of the families to the number of 790 able to work and now out of employment”.

The following rules for labourers employed to work on this ‘Double Ditch were adopted: –
(1) Hours of labour to be from 7.00am to 7.00pm with 2 hours for meals.
(2) Any labourer found to shirk from reasonable and fair work or refusing to follow the directions of his overseer shall forthwith be discharged and not admitted to the works again.
(3) That the persons employed shall be paid every evening.
(4) That in case a greater number of labourers shall offer themselves than the funds will enable the committee to pay, a preference shall be given to those who have the largest and most necessitous families”.

Work was ordered to commence on the following Tuesday and quote; “Iron is to be purchased to make 20 crow bars, and 6 picks are also to be purchased”.

It was further agreed that, quote: – “Henceforth there be two rates of payment; 8 pence and 5 pence, and that no boy under 12 years old be employed. That tickets of the form now agreed on, should be printed to admit labourers to work – those for men in black ink and those for boys in red ink; Ordered that 500 red and 500 black tickets be printed. Families containing 7 members and over and having 2 men over 17 shall at the discretion of Committee be entitled to 2 black tickets; Families having a less number shall, if the Committee wish, get 2 tickets, one red and one black”.

Yes, expect tourists and visiting footfall to flood Liberty Square soon, but in what century I do not know.


A Chance For Readers To Win One Cash Prize Of €50.00 On Thurles.Info

Spot The Stupidity Folks

A competition to spot the fckupp.

Can you, our readers, spot the stupidity in the picture hereunder, by 12:00 noon tomorrow, Monday October 28th. Thurles people only, with the correct answer will have their names placed into a raffle, with the final winner taking home one cash prize of €50.00.
Note: The name of the winner will be published on this website.

You can contact us with your entry HERE

Oh, and by the way, Councillor Mr Jim Ryan, the new signs are not replacing the “old outdated signs”; same old signs still remain in place to this very day, to the embarrassment of Thurles town dwellers.
One such embassassment indeed exists within metres from your own front gate on Manor Mill Road, which you, as an elected councillor, from 2008 to current date, has driven past several times daily, for the last 11 years.

Readers please note: The Erin Foods factory that had been in operation in Thurles, Co Tipperary, for 46 years, closed in June 2008, with the loss of 95 jobs, never to be replaced.

While it may take, as in this case, over 15 months to be acted on; note, of course we do not mind Co. Councillors making “gratuitous acclaim” on their social media pages for that which we have highlighted on numerous occasions, e.g. [July 10th 2018] – [March 21st, 2019], same brought about by “the unyoked humour of said councillor’s continued idleness”. Yes, we intend to continue to highlight such issues into the future, in our attempt to highlight that which requires immediate action, within our local community.

Thurles.Info are delighted to observe that at last local Thurles Municipal District councillors are reading our website and taking the information, gleaned from same, to Tipperary Co. Council meetings.

Perhaps Councillor Mr Jim Ryan might like to make contact again with Tipperary Co. Council engineers, tomorrow morning; as their appointed workforce would appear to have been working in the dark on the Templemore Road in the last few days.

Do check in with us in the coming days, when we again hope to bring “a rush of blood” to the faces of our local elected representatives.


127 Full Time Jobs Could Be Lost At Thurles Shopping Centre

“A house divided against itself, cannot stand”

Excerpt from a speech made by Abraham Lincoln (Later to become President of the United States of America), on June 16th, 1858.

Thurles Shopping Centre in Co. Tipperary could be under threat of closure by January 1st, 2020.

Once again Tipperary Co. Council has ‘bounced’ the town of Thurles into the national spotlight and again for all the wrong reasons. Previously it was six new uninhabited ‘state of the art’ houses erected for members of the Travelling Community; latter costing in excess of €2 million, when High Court costs are added.

Now the High Court is involved yet again and the future of Thurles Shopping Centre in Co. Tipperary could be under threat of closure. That is according to its owners GL Ireland ICAV, latter who purchased the shopping centre at Slievenamon Road, here in the town, just some four years ago.

Owners GL Ireland claim that the Thurles Shopping Centre will have to close if it is forced to comply with three enforcement notices issued against it by Tipperary County Council, in respect of conditions attached to the planning permission already granted to the shopping centre’s previous owners back in 2007.

From what we can gather the enforcement notices received relate to, (1) the undertaking of landscaping works on lands the current owners claim is not their property; (2) the removal and repositioning of external windows and doors, and the construction of significant structures including a maintenance building and a bicycle park; and finally (3) the closure of the only entrance which the shopping centre currently uses and has used for the past 12 years, in the delivery of goods and services.

Same notices have now resulted in a challenge being brought by the owners before the High Court. Permission to bring this challenge against Tipperary Co. Council was granted on an ex-parte application basis, by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan. [An ex parte application is a request made to a court where only the party making the request is represented and the other side is not given any notice.]

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan has now placed a stay on Tipperary Co. Council officials, from taking any further steps in respect of their enforcement notices; pending the outcome of this expected High Court action, which is understood will be heard during the month of December next.

Thurles residents are at pains to understand why the owners paid possibly €10 – €15million Euros in 2015, for a building containing several nationally recognised retail stores e.g. Elverys, Boots, Carraig Donn, Dunnes Stores, Easons, Paul Byron, Costa, Specsavers, etc, a Multiplex Cinema and had also recently attracted Thurles Post Office; without first checking that all planning was in keeping with the requirements of Tipperary Co. Councillors, prior to their purchase.

In the words of William Shakespere “Ay, there’s the rub” – Thurles Post Office

Blame for the possible loss of the 127 full time jobs currently enjoyed in the Thurles Shopping Centre, is now being blamed, rightly or wrongly, on 3 local factions – Thurles Chamber of Commerce; local Municipal District Councillors and those involved in the recent S.O.S (Save Our Square) Campaign. This latter unsuccessful campaign, which also came to national attention this year, saw some Liberty Square retailers attempting to prevent Thurles Post Office from moving to the Thurles Shopping Centre.

Speaking to some consumers today, same were critical of retailers operating in Liberty Square, whom they stated, “closed their premises during lunch hour (1:00pm – 2:00pm) forcing same consumers to shop outside the town”.

When asked regarding the loss of foot fall due to the absence of An Post from Liberty Square, one housewife stated “Liberty Square, Thurles contains 3 banks and within another 30 metres, on Parnell Street, one busy Credit Union office. Some 6,000 students attending schools alight on this square daily, and yet the shop keepers appear to be caught in a 19th century time warp, protected by a Chamber of Commerce, who for the last 20 years have totally failed each and every business. How many of you men ever tried to push a buggy containing a child through the doors of the old An Post offices, I wonder? If they had they might have understood why An Post moved”, she concluded.

One elderly gentleman waiting on a train to Limerick Junction wisely remarked to me on this issue, “The Chamber and local Councillors have successfully divided Thurles town into two halves. People fail to understand that when you remove one or more main components from a body, it dies. Tipperary Co. Councillors permitted the introduction of parking charges, resulting in the extermination of footfall on Liberty Square. This in turn lead to the destruction of Liberty Square retailing. Now, if permitted same individuals will destroy Thurles Shopping Centre also. A house divided against itself, cannot stand and Councillors responsible should resign”, he concluded.


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.