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Tipperary Council Engineers Continue To Waste Taxpayers Money.

Rhythmic, gymnastic flapping motions of blue and gold ribbon, awaiting the scissors of one or other idle Tipperary politician (rarely observed in Dáil Éireann these days), has not yet been stretched across the ever narrowing expanse of Liberty Square here in Thurles Town central; and already high sided vehicles have begun contorting our new street signs. This is the second bent sign on Liberty Square in just 5 weeks, due to be paid for by the taxpayer.

We won’t mention the new Thurles R-660 Abbey Road Roundabout.

It would appear that Tipperary council engineers are incapable of learning from their past, costly mistakes. Because of the now formed acute bend linking Liberty Square and Slievenamon Road, large long trucks are forced to enter and encroach into oncoming traffic, (Well some do & some don’t. See picture above) in order to make their necessary exit.

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Large Decrease In Air Pollution From Traffic In 2020 Due To COVID-19.

  • While air quality in Ireland in 2020 was generally good there are worrying localised issues.
  • Air pollution from traffic fell at all monitoring stations, particularly at urban roadside locations, as a consequence of reduced traffic volumes due to Covid-19 restrictions.
  • However, Ireland was above World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines for particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ozone at 52 monitoring sites, mostly due to the burning of solid fuel in our villages, towns and smaller cities.
  • Fine particulate matter from the burning of solid fuel remains the biggest contributor to poor air quality in Ireland, responsible for an estimated 1,300 premature deaths per year.
  • The choices we make in how we heat our homes and how we travel directly impacts the quality of the air we breathe.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today launched its annual air quality report ‘Air Quality in Ireland 2020′. The report shows that, while air quality in Ireland is generally good and compares favourably with many of our European neighbours, there are worrying localised issues which lead to poor air quality.

EPA monitoring shows that Ireland was compliant with EU legal limits in 2020, largely assisted by the significant reduction in traffic due to Covid-19 restrictions. Air pollution from traffic – nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – fell at all monitoring stations, but most notably at urban-traffic locations where levels fell by up to 50%.

However, air quality levels were above the WHO stricter guideline values at 52 monitoring stations, largely due to the burning of solid fuel for home heating.

Air quality has an impact on people’s health and there are an estimated 1,300 premature deaths in Ireland per year due to levels of fine fine particles (particulate matter) in our air. Levels of this pollutant are of growing concern and are particularly high during the winter months, when people’s use of solid fuels such as coal, turf and wood impacts negatively on-air quality, especially in villages, towns and smaller cities.

The EPA air quality report notes that any movement towards cleaner home heating choices and less smoky solid fuel choices will result in a subsequent improvement on air quality.

Launching the report, Air Quality in Ireland 2020, Dr Micheál Lehane, Director of the EPA’s Office of Radiation Protection & Environmental Monitoring, said,
“The EPA’s air quality monitoring carried out in 2020 has shown that there were dramatic and immediate decreases in air pollution in our urban areas due to reduced traffic volumes associated with COVID-19 restrictions. As we now start to travel more we must not lose sight of the obvious link between our journey choices and levels of traffic derived air pollutants. Pollutants from traffic have a negative impact on people’s health and our actions, as individuals, do impact the air we breathe.

Pat Byrne, EPA Programme Manager, said,
“Ireland still has issues with poor air quality due to the burning of solid fuel in our villages, towns and smaller cities. Ireland is above WHO air quality guideline values at many locations and it is imperative that we each, as individuals, make cleaner air choices when deciding how to heat our homes, as this can improve our local air quality and have associated health benefits.”

The Government has announced that new regulations on the use of solid fuels will come into force in 2022 – all coal products sold will be required to be low-smoke and all wood sold for immediate use must have a moisture content of 25 per cent or less. This is a positive step for air quality, which will need to be supported by clear communications to ensure public engagement and the best outcome for air quality and health.

The ‘ABC for Cleaner Air’ campaign, launched by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, highlights some simple steps we can all make and help reduce pollution from solid fuels. The EPA’s home heating infographic also identifies what changes people can make to home heating choices to improve air quality.

The ‘Air Quality in Ireland 2020’ report is available on the EPA website. The EPA continually monitors air quality across Ireland and provides the air quality index for health and real-time results online HERE.
Results are updated hourly on the website, and people can log on at any time to check whether the current air quality is good, fair or poor.

Further information: Niamh Hatchell/Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office: 053-91 70770 (24 hours) and media@epa.ie

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New Pavement On Liberty Square Ripped Up Again.

For anyone out partaking of their daily coffee at ‘Deja Brew‘ on Liberty Square, in Thurles today, same most likely experienced a bit of ‘déjà vu’.

Déjà vu, as everyone knows, is that uncanny sensation that you’ve already experienced something that you actually never have.

Unfortunately, and I am not trying to confuse the local populace, in this case you already have, having suffered the digging up, over the past two years, of pavements on Liberty Square.

Now for the second time in less than two months, they are ripping newly installed footpaths up again.

We don’t really know why, but rumour suggests that they have discovered what was causing the dreadful smell of sewage, which was suffocating shoppers to the area.

Rumour, and we emphasize the word rumour, states that a pipe has collapsed and hence the renewed necessary exertions, which sees completed stone work ripped up after just a few weeks of completion.

Same might also explain why Drain Force vehicles have been reported at work in the Liberty Square area in recent weeks.

But sure, as Torquay builder Mr O’Reilly (Actor David Kelly) said to Mr Basil Fawlty (Actor John Cleese) in Faulty Towers “If the good Lord ment us to worry he would have given us things to worry about.”

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Roundabout vs Traffic Lights For Clongower Junction, Thurles, Tipperary.

According to qualified engineers which
one is the ‘Better’ and ‘Safer’?

Roundabouts vs traffic lights has always been an argumentative topic, however it has long been agreed, based on extensive studies that in the majority of cases, the ‘Roundabout’ is far better and safer than a ‘Traffic Light’ controlled junction.

Drivers need to slow down and think at roundabouts, as opposed to trying to beat a red light. Overall, studies undertaken worldwide declare that the existence of a ‘Roundabout’, will achieve a 37% reduction in collisions as opposed to traffic lights.

Roundabouts also improve traffic flow. Cars do not have to wait for a green light and as such roundabouts promote continuous traffic flow in low flow or uncongested traffic; as is the case in a rural town like Thurles.
With a Roundabout at this junction, Gardaí can go about their real business, instead of directing traffic volumes where same is not necessary.

Roundabouts also cost less to implement. Over the long term, roundabouts are considerably cheaper to operate each year, as there are no electrical costs involved.

To sum up; qualified engineers declare that ‘Roundabouts’ are the clear winners of choice. They are safer, improve traffic flow, are cheaper than traffic lights and can be installed for use in most situations.

The introduction of ‘Roundabouts’ will also put a stop to elected local Councillors and TD’s having to embarrass themselves, by continuously going on radio to justify why engineers are constantly wasting large sums of taxpayers money.

Looking abroad; after a century of resistance, cities in the USA, which have to endure larger volumes of traffic, are finally learning to love the ‘Roundabout’ – the Bronx in New York has got its first – believing it to be safer and far better for traffic flow.

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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.”

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