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“Irish Famine Migrant Stories In Ontario”

The original Ellis Island Immigration Station in New York Harbour was officially opened in 1892 and the first immigrant to pass through its doors was a 15 year old girl from County Cork, by the name of Annie Moore, (April 24th, 1877 – December 6th, 1924).
Annie arrived from Cobh (Queenstown) in Ireland, aboard the steamship ‘Nevada’ in 1892. Her brothers, Anthony 14 and Philip 12, had journeyed with her.

Now a virtual exhibition entitled “Irish Famine Migrant Stories In Ontario” will tell the story of Ontario’s Irish migrants from 5 years earlier, “Black 47” (1847) and the caregivers who put their lives on the line, during one of the worst health-care crises recorded in Canadian history.

As officials in Tipperary Co. Council, together with local elected representatives and politicians (namely Mr Michael Lowry and Mr Jackie Cahill) support the destruction of our Great Famine history here in Thurles; this new exhibition will apprise the untold tales of Irish Great Famine migrants, who endured a typhus epidemic, while emigrating to Canada.

Created by the Ireland Park Foundation (IPF), this virtual exhibit, which took more than four years to assemble, will follow the lives of 100,000 famine migrants, latter who crossed the Atlantic Ocean landing in Grosse Isle, an island located in the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, and onto the shores of Ontario during this Great Hunger, on board ‘coffin ships’ that would claim the lives of some 20,000 people.

Some 16% of the population in Ontario, Canada, today can correctly claim Irish decent. Toronto back then, was largely a Presbyterian/Protestant city, while 80% of the Irish migrants arriving were Roman Catholic. This human melting pot of the late 1800’s laid the seeds to a diverse Canada population, the envy of the world, that we as Irish people today know and love.

In relation to our Double Ditch Survey sent to local elected representatives; same due to be returned last Sunday evening, March 14th; we can confirm that we have received some answers which will be published later.


Thurles Residents Angered By Planning For A 24.500 Ton Waste Collection Centre

A flooded Cabragh Business Park, at Thurles, Co. Tipperary, close to Cabragh Wetlands.

Earlier this week, we were informed by angry residents living in the Ballycurrane / Cabragh residential area of Thurles, that they have received correspondence, for the first time, regarding planning sought for a 24.500 ton waste collection centre, at Cabragh Business Park, Thurles.
Same, if planning is granted, will operate close to one of the last of Ireland’s great environmental treasures, that of Cabragh Wetlands.

The Cabragh Wetlands Trust was first registered in 1993 in an effort to save a vast area of wetland habitats from destruction, after the filling-in of settling pools by the now defunct Thurles Sugar Factory; these lagoons once were an oasis of wildlife, particularly birds. The Wetland Trust, run by volunteers, was formed; and acquired the land adjacent to the filled-in lagoons, thus ensuring the continuation of a resting place for migratory birds.

Video & Pictures courtesy G. Willoughby.

Having read the letter hereunder, you can also read some of the comments forwarded to us by the residents, same also published herewith.

Ballycurrane Thurles
Co. Tipperary.

Dear Neighbour,
I am writing to introduce myself and my business and also to inform you of our intention for a proposed facility at Cabra Industrial Estate and invite you to consult with us should you have any queries or concerns in relation to the proposed development.

For over 30 years, Ryan’s Cleaning, a family run business based in Thurles have been serving commercial clients nationwide, in the UK and in mainland Europe. We have an impeccable track record in business and the quality of services we deliver are to the highest professional standards.
I am proud to say we work in a highly regulated, audited and quality assured industry that has made strides over the last decade in terms of efficient performance and compliance with waste legislation.

We are accredited to the following international standard: ISO 9001, 14001, 45001 and 20121, which set out the requirements for safety, health, environment and sustainability.

Ryan’s Cleaning meets all the necessary requirements, legislation and regularly engage with stakeholders. The International Organisation for Standardisation who set the standards, externally audit our business practices on an ongoing basis to assess our performance and compliance against the relevant standards.

Ryans Cleaning has enjoyed multiple successes at the National Facility Management Awards, County Tipperary Business Awards and has been shortlisted for multiple prestigious Green Awards.

We are reaching out as we have recently applied for planning permission to operate a waste transfer station at the Cabra Industrial Estate in your area and it has come to our attention there has been some misinformation circulating which we would like to address for your peace of mind.

Below I have identified some obvious concerns that residents may have however, if you require further information on these or if you have any other queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we welcome consultation and engagement with our neighbours.

Please note we have a 3D model of the facility available for viewing and we can share this with you to see it for yourself, just give us a call and we can arrange same.
The planning permission sought under planning reg. ref. 21158, is to accept, sort and stream 5,000 tonnes of recyclable materials per annum.

The planning notice states the typical size of this sort of facility capped at 24,500 tonnes, however, the annual throughput of 5,000 tonnes is what has been applied for within the planning application and I have enclosed a copy of this for your comfort.

Only non-biodegradable waste types will be received at the facility such as bulky goods and dry recyclables. No domestic waste, organic waste or biodegradable type waste are to be received at the facility eliminating the source of potential odour at the facility.

All processing activities will be carried out within the building mitigating against emissions from the facility.

An Appropriate Assessment Screening for the development has been carried out to ensure the habitat at Cabra wetlands is not impacted by the development. I am pleased to inform you there would be no impact posed by our development or activities on this protected and much-loved area.

All activities will be conducted in an enclosed structure both fit for purpose and built to the highest of standards with screening and wheel washing as standard practice. The visual amenity at the site will be improved through screening of the site with landscaping and installation of trees in conjunction with appropriate maintenance of the yards and buildings.
Our family have been in business for generations and our reputation in the town, county, nationally and internationally in our industry is unrivalled. We run an extremely tight ship, always have done and always will. We have achieved and maintained the relevant ISOs for over a decade, something most in our industry operate without.

We employ local people, shop for our equipment, vehicles and supplies locally and will continue this practice to serve our local community into the future. Annually, we also supported local community groups and charities and will continue to do so.

Ryans Cleaning have been a benchmark for excellence in our field for decades. In normal times I would have liked to meet you in person however, amid restrictions this letter will have to suffice for now.

I trust the information provided herein is to your satisfaction, allay any concerns you might have regarding the proposed development and provide clarity on the annual throughput of 5,000 tonnes submitted in the planning application.

If you have any queries or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at 0504-24406.

Yours Sincerely,
[Signed by Mr Pat Ryan, CEO Ryan’s Cleaning.]

Issues now angering & confusing local residents.

It would appear that Mr Ryan’s recent correspondence sent to residents in the Cabragh / Ballycurrane area raises more questions than it does answers.

Hereunder just some of the issues raised.

(1) In his letter Mr Ryan states “The planning notice states the typical size of this facility is capped at 24,500 tonnes, however, the annual throughput of 5,000 tonnes is what Ryan’s Cleaning has applied for, within the planning application and “I have enclosed a copy of this for your comfort.”

The site notice and the notice published recently in the Nenagh Guardian clearly states planning is required for 24,500 tonnes per annum, not 5,000 tonnes. This has been the only notice made available to residents and members of the public.

Mr Ryan merely takes an extract from his application to refer to 5000 tonnes, however, that is not what he applied for initially in his full submission for planning in the section 8 description of the proposed development; rather he states “the facility will not exceed 24,500 tonnes per annum”.
This is clearly not what his site notice and newspaper application states; nor what his Architectural adviser Mr Sean A. Ryan states, which was conveyed to Tipperary Co. Council in their planning application.
If Mr Ryan is only applying for 5000 tonnes, he must now amend his application to Tipperary Co. Council, as the decision is due to issue on 08/04/2021.
The residents now request that Ryan Cleaning and Tipperary Co. Council both withdraw from the planning process, until post covid-19, in the interests of equality and fairness.

(2) According to the local residents affected, Mr Ryan is informing people that Cabragh Business Park is the only available site. Residents are adamant that this is not so. They claim that Mr Ryan has acreage near his home in Borrisoleigh that he could use, away from private housing estates etc. Indeed, presently he operates out of a large factory building in an industrial estate, where he has huge sheds already constructed; ready to use, latter owned by a local Municipal District Councillor and businessman. Same if used would be away from any area of natural conservation.

(3) In his recent letter, residents point out, “An appropriate assessment screening for the development has been carried out to ensure the habitat at Cabra Wetlands is not impacted by the development. I am pleased to inform you there would be no impact by our development or activities on this protected and much loved area.”

Residents state that the assessment makes no mention of Cabragh Wetlands, it states “no impact on the River Suir”. It also fails to mention that an existing waste facility is already up and running next door to his own site. It states that the nearest house is 400 metres away, which residents claim is totally untrue.
It states the area is non residential; light industrial; with no traffic impact. Residents claim no suitable/proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been in fact conducted.

(4) “We are reaching out……. and it has come to our attention there has been some misinformation, which we would like to address for your peace of mind.”

Mr Ryan does not state what he means in this extract above. There is no misinformation according to residents.

(5) “We welcome consultation and engagement with our neighbours. We have a 3D model of the facility available for viewing and we can share this with you.”

Mr Ryan is asking us to visit his offices, that you can’t go into because of National Public Health Guidelines regarding social distancing. Why did Mr Ryan not consult the residents, pre his original application?
In reference to his last paragraph, “in normal times” etc; residents point out that these are not normal times, we are experiencing a pandemic, a public crisis, there has been a Government lockdown since December last; schools are closed; attendance at outdoor funerals is curtailed to 10 family members; we can’t go anywhere; we are told to stay at home etc.

The anger and discontent within the town of Thurles is now greatly heightened according to the residents, with whom we corresponded.


Cllr. Jim Ryan Confirms Destruction Of 175 Year Old Great Famine Double Ditch.

The Great Famine Double Ditch that Thurles Elected Councillors
say does not exist.

The following email from Cllr. Mr Jim Ryan was sent to me in the last few days. Same now confirms that, sadly, the Great Famine “Double Ditch” is to be destroyed, to construct an inner relief road to benefit the new Thurles Town centre, being developed at Slievenamon Road. [The former town centre at Liberty Square, Thurles, having been destroyed by Tipperary Co. Council assisted by Thurles Municipal District Councillors].

The Email from Cllr. Mr Jim Ryan, Mill Road, Thurles, sent on March 1st, 12:21pm, is show hereunder.

Dear George
In a follow up to your concerns regarding the removal or closure of the double ditch walkway in Thurles I can now confirm the following as presented to me by Roads Section of Tipperary County Council.

  • The proposed new Thurles Link road from Clongour to the Mill Road will be going through a small section of the double ditch or College Lane walkway on the Mill Road side.
  • The walkway will remain fully accessible with a newly opened access point from the new link road on the Mill Road side after construction.
  • The construction of the new Link Road will require the removal of the existing walled entrance on the Mill Road side along with the removal of a small section of the walkway itself on that same side.
  • The council stated that a full and comprehensive Archeology (Read as Archaeology) and Envirnomental (Read as Environmental) Assessment was carried out as part of the process that highlighted no concerns to the council or An Bord Pleanala
  • The Double Ditch or College Lane walkway will not be closed off to the public or removed once the construction of the new link road is completed. It will however be reduced slightly in length with a new access point on the Mill Road side.

I hope this clarifies some of the issues raised by you.
Cllr Jim Ryan
Comhairle Contae Thiobraid Árann
Tipperary County Council

The content shown in the above email, to say the very least, is a watered-down version, designed to affect my silence.

One example of this is that Mr Ryan has failed to notice that a further two-lane exit through the double ditch is designed to allow traffic onto the new road, from the new housing estate; see area/map reference indicated between F4 & F3.
A second exit is designed possibly to connect to the rear of the Mary Immaculate College (formerly St. Patrick’s College). See between F6 & F5 on the map immediately published hereunder.
Also on the map hereunder the Double Ditch has been shortened, by almost one half, compared to the cover map on our first video shown above. Same map referred to above is the first map ever recorded of this area in the 1800’s. This is deceit of the first order, by Council officials.

We now learn that none of our Municipal District Councillors can be trusted following the disclosure by Cllr. Ryan.

Tonight, I have replied to Cllr. Jim Ryan, Member of Thurles Municipal District, Council.


Thank you for your communication of the 1st instant.
My sincere apologies for failing to respond to your communication earlier.

I am fully aware, since June 3rd, 2019, that it was the intention of Tipperary Co. Council to demolish the Great Famine Double Ditch, latter situated within 500 meters of your principal private residence on the Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

It was to that end, indeed, that I contacted, in November 2019, Ms Rosin O’Grady, (Latter Tipperary Heritage Officer and Creative Ireland Co-ordinator), asking that she contact the National Monument Service, with a view to granting protection to this historic area. I was soon to realise that Ms O’Grady, despite her official title, is not fully independent of her titled duties, governed indeed by Thurles Municipal District Councillors and senior officials within Tipperary Co. Council.

Suffice is to state that Ms Rosin O’Grady has been instructed not to enter into further communication with me or has failed in her required duty as a County Heritage Officer.

You and your Council colleagues and Co. Council officials, including Chief Executive Mr Joseph MacGrath were informed regarding this wanton destruction of our local Thurles history, on May 24th 2020 (almost 10 months ago).

You Sir, including your County Council C.E. Mr Joe MacGrath, together with all elected Thurles Municipal District Councillors, and the Lowry Team, deliberately and with ill will, chose to ignore every communication sent to each and every one of them, while failing to acknowledge or even reply to any and all of my communications.
Following my complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) regarding you and others of your Council colleagues, including TD’s Mr Jackie Cahill and Mr Michael Lowry; you were contacted by Registrar, Mr David Coleman, (Administrative officer, Corporate Services) regarding your failure to maintain proper standards of integrity; conduct, and concern for the public interest. It took you Cllr. Ryan, almost 3 years to inform me of what you knew, refusing to confirm the information which I had already informed you.

You will now please answer for the moment the following two questions:-

(1) Do you support this decision to remove yet another piece of Thurles history, which if properly marketed would benefit, greatly, the community of Thurles.

Note: I am aware that you are a senior, active committee member, with that grouping known as “The International Garden of Remembrance Committee”, (Chairman Mr John Worth), situated at St. Mary’s Graveyard, Church Lane, Thurles.
You annually attend a ceremony in this garden to commemorate “An Gorta Mór – Ireland’s Great Hunger 1845-1849”. Indeed your group unveiled a large headstone of black marble, (latter which in the past I have strongly objected to its introduction, without planning permission), breaching, as it does, government heritage guidelines and regulations.
Are you now going to support the destruction of a real piece of Thurles heritage, which Thurles can use to attract the ever elusive Thurles tourist?

(2) Do you or any other extended member of your family, either in the past or at any time in the future, expect to benefit, through the sale of land, or other advantage, conveniences or possessory rights, which is being now brought to bear, thus aiding the future destruction of the 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch, at Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Mr Ryan, you, your council colleagues, local TD’s and Co. Council Officials bring shame on this community and you are observed as no better than delinquent, vandals.

Your answers are of particular interest to me, in relation to steps I intend to take to reverse this outrageous, wilful and destructive decision.

Yours faithfully,
George Willoughby.

I now invite Thurles Chamber of Commerce, Tipperary Tourism, Thurles Tourism groups and the Irish Government, to support the retention of this piece of valuable history.
As a right-of-way Tipperary County Council are obliged to clean up this area and restore, that which they damaged on the watch of Mr Joe MacGrath, CE. Tipperary, Co. Council, in the last 9 years since 2013.


State Of Kickham Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary Today

Footpaths, southside of Aldi Supermarket on Kickham Street today, February 23rd 2021.

With a Status Orange rainfall warning currently in vogue for Co. Tipperary until approximately 9.00pm this evening, take a look at conditions being accepted by Thurles pedestrians, as they head to shop in Aldi Supermarket on Kickham Street over the past number of days.

We have reports of men, women and children being splashed not just by accumulating water from road craters but also being struck by gravel/stones, same being accidentally catapulted by the tyres of passing motor vehicles.

Windows of just some of the houses on Kickham Street Thurles being struck by gravel and water; accidentally catapulted by the tyres of passing motor vehicles.
It is through the doors of these houses that local councillors and TD’s will be pushing political brochures, in the not to distant future, claiming “Sorry We Missed You”.
Don’t be sorry, you go missing for 5 years evertime you get elected.

Local TD’s Mr Michael Lowry and Mr Jackie Cahill are both being asked to forget about the rubbish they post on social media accounts, (Facebook and Twitter) and publicly declare Thurles town a disaster area in relation to its roads.

We smile as we read on February 16th, 2021; courtesy of our local politicians, of how they have attracted €29.5 million in State Funding, same to be allocated for road improvements in Tipperary this year.

I phoned Tipperary Co. Council this afternoon, but only the switch operator was available to accept my complaint; everyone else was “working from home” and unavailable. Funny that, all Supermarkets, Banks, some schools, hardware stores, nurses, doctor, etc. etc., were trading as usual, but Co. Council officials normally seated in private offices were “working from home”.

On another note:
Readership of Thurles.Info now currently stands at over 3 million readers, [3,039,132 as at 3.30 this afternoon]. Each day between 2,000 and 8,000 Tipperary readers, many living abroad, all login from the United States, Germany, France, Turkey, Holland, UK, Australia, New Zealand, China, Saudi Arabia and even Russia, all anxious for news from their home town of Thurles.


Parnell Street Car Park Thurles – Latest Dumping Ground.

Parnell Street car park can be located directly opposite the Office of Mr Jackie Cahill TD, in Parnell St, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, [E41 VY66].

Currently this Parnell Street car park, with its torn up surface and muck, is reminiscent of an unoccupied slum area.
For all intents and purposes and in every practical sense, same is virtually now a refuse packed ghetto, with responsibility for its present deplorable state, the remit of Thurles Municipal District council. It is to the latter, as residents and business people, we pay our high Rates and Local Property Tax (LPT).

We watched yesterday, as civic minded individuals arrived with their boxes and bags of glass bottles; to file in the various glass containers. As you can see from the picture, all glass containers are packed to capacity and have been for weeks.

While some individuals returned home with their recyclable glass, others left same neatly on the ground in paper bags and loose; in the centre of already smashed glass, from glass containers which had previously fallen from the existing overloaded bins.

We learned recently that Tipperary Co. Council spent €50,000 removing litter left by fly-tippers. One wonders how many glass containers were thrown out of car boots into ditches and hedges, as individuals headed for their homes yesterday, unable to recycle their glass, under the promised glare of CCTV cameras.

Thurles now has three dumps, with a fourth dump expected to carry a further 24,500 tons of waste, currently being worked on, in anticipation of supported planning permission.