Tipperary Marginally Below National Average In Pobal HP Deprivation Index.

Tipperary is marginally below the national average level of affluence, according to the 2022 Pobal HP Deprivation (Poverty) Index.

The Index, which is Ireland’s primary social gradient tool, found a nationwide improvement in measures such as employment and population growth, with levels largely returning to those observed in 2006, however persistent disadvantage remains for many communities.

Since the 2016 general election, County Tipperary has been a parliamentary 5 seater constituency that has elected to Dáil Éireann, 5 TDs, (Teachtaí Dála). In August last, 2023, an Electoral Commission, because of population increase, has recommended that Tipperary revert to a 2 x 3 seater constituency (6 TD’S), representing North and South Tipperary, in the next general election; same expected to take place at the latest in 2025, if not sooner.

Those 5 TD’S elected in the previous 2020 General Election, together with their vote counts are shown in the table hereunder.

Party [2020 General Election].Candidate. Vote Count.
IndependentMichael Lowry 14,802
Sinn FéinMartin Browne10,004
IndependentMattie McGrath9,321
Fianna FáilJackie Cahill7,940
LabourAlan Kelly7,857

The Pobal HP Deprivation Index uses data from Census 2022, analysing ten measures of an area’s levels of disadvantage. These include educational attainment, employment status and the numbers living in individual households. Almost 19,000 small areas, including 640 in Tipperary, (50-200 households) were indexed, leading to the development of a detailed map of the relative affluence and disadvantage.

Ms Anna Shakespeare (CEO of Pobal) has recently stated “The 2022 Pobal HP Deprivation Index is created to inform national policy and ensure that resources can be properly directed to where they are most needed. There has been an overall improvement for the majority of communities in Ireland, however we must also recognise that this is not being experienced equally.
At Pobal, we are committed to working on behalf of government to support communities to
combat disadvantage. This tool helps to create an understanding of the challenge of disadvantage and where it is prevalent, which is an important step towards achieving social inclusion for all.”

The 2022 Pobal HP Deprivation Index, is available on Pobal Maps HERE, (latter a free online Geographical Information System map viewer), which outlines the deprivation score for various geographic units such as county, constituency, electoral division or small area. Percentage data for the area is provided under a range of categories such as unemployment, educational attainment, and population change. The data can also be extracted for further analysis, through the geoprofiling viewer and compared between the
2022 Index Census and the three previous editions.

The two questions which now must be asked are:-

  • Why has Tipperary, with 5 Teachtaí Dála, been allowed to fall behind on the Pobal HP Deprivation Index?
  • Should the Tipperary electorate now change their choice of candidates, when it comes to voting in the 2025 General election?

Slievenamon Road Upgrade – Final Nail In Thurles Town Centre’s Coffin.

It has become perfectly obvious that urban city planning ideas are now being mandatory enforced on rural, agricultural towns like Thurles, Co. Tipperary with disastrous consequences, forcing trading retail businesses to either close or fold their tents to move elsewhere.

Anyone who visited Dublin City recently will know that only public transport, cyclists and pedestrians can now get into and around its increasingly menacing streets, with any degree of efficiently.

The busy prosperous Liberty Square of the 1960’s.

That is all well and good in Dublin with its network of buses, trams and taxis. Here in rural Thurles such public transport is very limited. There isn’t a Dart tram line to be found running from rural Upperchurch or indeed Two-mile-Borris or Littleton villages every 15 minutes. Indeed there is not one single bus shelter to be found in Thurles, to protect a prospective bus passenger from our inclement weather.

For those who wish to view what exactly will be forced on the residents and businesses of this once prosperous midland town, take a look here: N62-Slievenamon-Road-Phase-2.pdf

NOTE Page 6 of the above pdf: “Some of the key interventions that this strategy will deliver include significant investment in the provision of safe, segregated infrastructure to protect those walking and cycling on our roads, and initiatives to promote modal shift from motor vehicle travel to support environmental, safety and health objectives.”

The picturesque Liberty Square, midday in 2023, asks a Question: Where are the town centre consumers; where are the cyclists; the walker, and the vehicle parking spaces.
Answer: Driven out with the businesses. Gone to support German international discount retailers on the outskirts of Thurles, who offer very little local employment, while selling a considerable amount of German processed produce.

See also what is planned in the Draft Discussion maps for Slievenamon Road, shown here: N62-Slievenamon-Road-Map.pdf.

Question: Where are the Cycle Paths either on a half upgraded Liberty Square, town centre or on this newly designed, still to be revamped, Slievenamon Road plan?
Answer: Non existent.

This October 2022 plan will most certainly drive home that final nail in our town centre’s coffin. However, the local electorate, (now remaining surprisingly silent), can express their anger, during local elections, expected to be held possible next March.


Warning To Motorists Travelling In Thurles Area This Weekend.

Persons driving on the Mill Road area, (South east outskirts of Thurles), are being warned to take great care this weekend.

Crater No. 1, Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Pic: G. Willoughby.

Over the past 12 months two craters have developed close to the Lady’s Well entrance, latter situated immediately on the corner, having exited the stone bridge which crosses the Drish River. View HERE

The Mill Road, over the past 24 months, has become the preferred choice of cars and heavy duty vehicles, same anxious to avoid Thurles town centre, because of major traffic delays caused by the recent upgrading of half of the Liberty Square town centre area.

Crater No. 2, Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Pic: G. Willoughby.

Because of a number of issues, which include (A) the flooding of the Drish river; (B) massively increasing & speeding traffic, which also includes heavy transport vehicles; the road surface has begun to now slide into the river.

From what we understand, (although it is difficult to say for certain these days) this roadway is the responsibility of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), whose purpose is to provide sustainable transport infrastructure and services, thus delivering a better quality of life, supporting economic growth and respecting the environment.

We first wrote about this issue last April 20th, 2023, and again on October 15th, 2023, alas, to no avail, despite notification having been sent to Tipperary Co. Council.

Currently, the true dept of these craters is being camouflaged/disguised/concealed by the presence of muddy, oily water.
No advance warning signs are currently in place, despite regular users of this roadway being forced out past the centre of the roadway, into oncoming traffic, on a bad corner bend.


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”.


Local Authorities Must Prioritise Environmental Protection.

Local Authorities Must Prioritise Environmental Protection To Improve Air, Water Quality & Increase Waste Recycling.

  • Local Authorities play a vital role in protecting our environment and carried out over 197,000 environmental inspections in 2022.
  • Local authorities need to prioritise enforcement of the roll-out and use of 3-bin systems to improve segregation of household and commercial waste.
  • More local authority farm inspections and follow-up enforcement is needed to reduce the impact of agricultural activities on water quality.
  • Local authorities must ensure that only approved solid fuels are available for sale, to safeguard public health from harmful air pollutants.
  • Local authorities need to prioritise and resource environmental functions to deliver the national enforcement priorities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published its report on the environmental enforcement performance of local authorities in 2022. The report shows that the scale of environmental enforcement work carried out by local authorities is significant. Over 520 local authority staff handled almost 70,000 complaints and carried out over 197,000 environmental inspections.

The EPA assessed the performance of each local authority against each of the 20 national enforcement priorities (NEPs). These fall into four main themes:

  1. Waste.
  2. Water Quality.
  3. Air and Noise.
  4. Governance Processes.

Ten local authorities achieved the required standard in 70 per cent or more of the assessments. These were Kildare, Meath, Fingal, Monaghan, Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan, Dublin City, Carlow and Cork County. This is up from five local authorities the previous year.

Four local authorities achieved the required standard in only 30 per cent or less of their assessments. These were Waterford, Offaly, Kilkenny and Wexford.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “Local authorities have a vital statutory responsibility in the protection of our local environment and are responsible for enforcing much of our environmental protection legislation. While the scale of environmental enforcement work carried out by local authorities is significant, in many areas it is not delivering the necessary environmental outcomes such as improved water and air quality and waste segregation.”

Unfortunately, many key environmental indicators are static or trending in the wrong direction:

There was no significant improvement in water quality in 2022, and more local authority farm inspections and enforcement are needed to reduce the impact of agricultural activities on water quality.

Greater enforcement is needed by local authorities to ensure failed septic tank systems are fixed.
In the waste sector, there are challenging recycling targets that need to be met.
Localised air pollution issues continue to have a negative impact on people’s health.

Dr Ryan added: “The effective enforcement of environmental quality standards at the local level is essential. Local authority leadership is critical in delivering better environmental outcomes through the prioritisation of environmental enforcement and the appropriate allocation of resources.”

Overall 2022 Assessment Result for Co. Tipperary:
According to the report Tipperary County Council officials, and municipal district councillors, led by Chief Executive Mr Joe MacGrath, sadly met the required standard of a ‘Strong or Excellent’ result, for only 45% of the National Enforcement Priorities (NEPs) in 2022, while the national average was 59%.
Local authorities are expected to meet the required standard in 100% of the NEPs, by the end of the 2022 – 2024 three-year cycle.
Additional focus is now required in the work areas where a Limited or Moderate assessment result was achieved.

Regular failure to empty bottle banks.


Poor waste segregation remains an ongoing problem with households and businesses still putting most of their waste in the wrong bin. Local authorities need to enforce the roll-out and use of 3-bin systems, to improve segregation and increase recycling of both household and commercial waste.

Mr David Pollard, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “The EPA’s recent waste characterisation study shows that many households and businesses are still failing to properly segregate their waste. Improving recycling rates through better segregation of wastes into the general, recycling and organics bins is essential if, as a nation, we are to turn waste into a valuable resource and reduce the amount of wastes we are sending to incineration and landfills. Local authorities have a vital role to play here by targeting their enforcement at the roll out and proper use of the 3-bin system.”

Water Quality:

River Suir, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, close to Barry’s Bridge.

Overall water quality is not good enough, with just over half of rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters in satisfactory condition. Agriculture continues to have a significant impact on water quality, causing excess levels of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) to enter our waterways.

While the number of local authority farm inspections increased during 2022, the number is still too low. More farm inspections and follow-up enforcement is needed to reduce the risk of agricultural activities negatively impacting on water quality and to drive compliance with the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) Regulations. The National Agricultural Inspection Programme, which commenced in 2022, sets out a risk-based approach to the targeting of inspections using the EPA’s Targeting Agricultural Measures Map. A priority for this winter (2023/2024) is that local authorities monitor that there is no spreading of soiled water, slurry or fertiliser on farmlands in the closed season or under unsuitable weather or soil conditions.

Air and Noise:

Local authorities assign a much lower level of resources to air and noise enforcement than waste and water enforcement. Whilst air quality met the standards in the Cleaner Air for Europe (CAFE) Directive in 2022 there are concerning localised issues relating to fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide that impact negatively on people’s health. Continued focus is required by local authorities to ensure that only approved solid fuels are available for sale, to reduce air pollution from the combustion of solid fuels for home heating.

Greater local authority action is needed to prevent noise pollution impacting on people’s health and wellbeing. Most local authorities struggle to implement their own Noise Action Plans developed under the Environmental Noise Regulations. Local authorities need to allocate adequate resources to deal with noise issues. In particular, they should co-ordinate actions with other bodies responsible for transport and roads and designate quiet areas in towns and cities.

The Focus on Local Authority Environmental Enforcement – Performance Report 2022 report is available on the EPA website to download HERE. (Scroll to page 28 of 32 to view Co. Tipperary report.)