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sunset: 6:47 pm


Joe Soap Got It Right Again.

Every ordinary unqualified ‘Joe Soap’, in Thurles town, forecast that the design put on display for Bowe’s corner, early last October, would be a disaster.
The issues raised by these unqualified ‘Joe Soap’s’, raised real concerns with regards to large trucks and buses making a left hand turn from Butler Avenue and Railway road, in their effort to access Abbey Road, (R660), Garryvicleheen, Thurles, without having to enter a wrong, oncoming vehicle lane. But sure what would ‘Joe Soap’s’ know about road engineering.

Thurles and Templemore Municipal District Engineer, Mr Thomas Duffy pleaded for patience with the Bowes’ Corner project, after a lot of ‘Joe Soap’s’ and some local councillors expressed concerns about the unfinished layout.
Mr Duffy was to go back to the road designers to discuss these many local concerns.

Fianna Fáil, Councillor Mr Seamus Hanafin, lacking somewhat in forward thinking; refused to be critical of this new design, since, as he stated, it remained incomplete.

According to Mr Duffey, the designers of this €650,000, project (€500.000 plus the €150.000 later added we are told) had run their ruler over their design, on numerous occasions, and he appealed to the unqualified ‘Joe Soap’s’ to have patience and wait until the project was completed and the overall plan was fully in place, before casting judgement.

Speed Hump (Black/Yellow) Safety Sign Adjusted by Traffic on Butler Avenue, close to Bowes Corner.

Well, as evidenced by the picture above, one high sided vehicle turning from the Cork side of Thurles Railway Station, unto Butler Avenue, now has a dirty great scratch along its side. It was attempting to get behind traffic already trapped, queued on the yellow diagonal box in the centre of the road; which happens so often, when traffic ahead is forced to comes to an unexpected sudden halt, at junctions.

When you erect a sign on a restricted narrow road; same jutting out over a kerb, expect it to be adjusted by heavy traffic, each and all attempting to use a restricted route.

Yes, not for the first time, has Councillor Mr Seamus Hanafin and District Engineer Mr Thomas Duffy, got it completely wrong. But sure taxpayers’ pockets are deep, so what does €650,000 for a little road alignment, matter anyway.

Measure twice, Cut once.
See the new Liberty Square update for example: HERE and HERE and HERE and the new R-660 Abbey Road Roundabout HERE. Obviously, someone has cut a meter or so out of the centre of the engineer’s tape measure.

Time for Tipperary Co. Council to change their road designers and maybe employ ordinary unqualified ‘Joe Soaps’.


Tipperary County Council Auditor’s Report On Liberty Square For Year Ended Dec. 2021.

Statutory Audit Report to the members of Tipperary County Council for the year ended 31st December 2021.

* See section 7.3 For Tipperary County Council’s Auditor’s Report on Liberty Square Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

The Liberty Square Enhancement Project in Thurles seeks to deliver a vibrant Liberty Square at the heart of Thurles. It is hoped this €10m project will enhance the attractiveness of Thurles as a place to live and a place for investment / employment. The project has evolved and developed over a number of years
with support and input from Thurles Chamber and extensive public consultation which influenced the design of the scheme.

Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Funding for this project is to be provided as follows:
URDF €5m (Urban Regeneration and Development Fund).
Council Match Funding €5m.

Phase 1
Following a successful bid for funding, consultants were appointed to develop designs for this project. The main contractor, for phase 1, was appointed in October 2019 and the tender amounted to €2.8m excluding VAT.
The new car park off Liberty Square opened on 1st October 2020 and Phase1 of the project reached substantial completion on 23rd December 2021, with a ‘defects completion period’ ending on 22nd December 2022.
‘Change Order Claims’ including interest by the contractor amount to €3.4m while an ER (Exchange Rate) Determination of €880k, has been made in this regard. This equates to 31% above the original contract price.
A ‘Notice of Dispute‘ regarding the determination of claims for works undertaken during the contract has been submitted by the contractor. While it has been jointly agreed by both parties that a conciliator will be appointed prior to the completion of the project, to mediate the disputed determinations, in accordance with the terms of contract, this has not happened to date.

Phase 2
Consultants were appointed in December 2021 to prepare the Phase 2 Part 8 drawings and documentation. The Complete Options Report including preferred option and preliminary design is expected by the end of 2022 with Part 8 Planning expected to commence in Q1 2023.
Cost estimates are to be completed by the end of Q2 2023 and are subject to agreement for the final cost for Phase 1, rising input costs, shortages and increasing energy costs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the war in Ukraine.
[Surely the Russo-Ukrainian War began to affect energy costs only in Ireland, after March 2022, (I remain confused here.)].
This project will be reviewed again in 2022.9.

Chief Executive’s Response
I am satisfied with the robustness of project management and governance structures that are in place in Tipperary County Council dealing with the delivery of Project Ireland 2040 approved projects and in this particular case the structures that are in in place in Thurles Municipal District.
Thurles MD has a dedicated Project Manager in place to manage these major projects and the associated contractual risks.
The project management is further strengthened by the oversight of the Project Ireland 2040 Steering Group and the District Delivery Group and also by the engagement of competent external experts to supervise the site and the works and to manage the contractual claims, the subsequent financial determinations and any dispute resolution processes.


Irish Rail To Restore Onboard Catering On Thurles Rail Line.

Thurles Railway Station

Irish Rail has confirmed their intension to restore its onboard catering service, with effect from the end of March 2023.

This reinstatement of the service will begin on a phased basis, same commencing on the Dublin-Cork line, latter servicing stations Portlaoise, Portarlington, Thurles, Limerick Junction and Mallow.

The sale of refreshments was halted on Irish trains three years ago, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and when restrictions were lifted in February last, the company which supplied the service, were forced to withdraw, claiming staffing issues and their failure to get an agreement with regards to sought after increased costs.

The closure of shops at train stations, and the discontinuation by Irish Rail of onboard catering services during the Covid-19 pandemic, resulted with commuters only being able purchase tea, coffee or sandwiches if there was a shop within the railway station.

Same resulted in Irish Rail considering the installation of vending machines, thus enabling passengers to buy food and drink. However, Irish Rail have now confirmed, today, that a new supplier had been secured and a “well-known brand” of service would be in place at each station over the coming weeks.

Irish Rail have failed to confirm details regarding the new vendor, and have refused to be drawn further on the matter.


Neglect Of Thurles Town Continues.

It was Charles Dickens’s character Wilkins Micawber who warned eloquently of debt’s downside.

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

For tourists headed southwards into Thurles this coming holiday season, the pictures shown here, on left and right of this text, are enough to encourage the visitor to quickly move elsewhere, rather than “Dwell A While” as our town website encourages.

This road, highlighted in the pictures, is the N62, a busy national secondary route in Co. Tipperary, which forms a junction with the M7 motorway, south of Roscrea, latter, unlike Thurles, an acknowledged heritage town, which attracts a large amount of both domestic and foreign tourism.

While our two resident politicians and Municipal District councillors and Municipal District officials continuously regurgitate details learned of a few new funded projects; maintenance of past projects are forgotten and permitted to decay.

The above permitted dereliction and neglect within the town, is evidence of poor quality administration, and once again begs the question amongst residents; “What do we get in return for our Local Property Tax payments, not to mention Rates and Vehicle Parking Charges?”

More on this and the continued waste of taxpayer’s funds, by Tipperary Co. Council, in the coming days.


Tipperary County Council Continue To Waste Taxpayers Money.

Once again taxpayers money continues to be wasted by Tipperary County Council. The most recent wanton waste can be viewed at Bowes Corner, west of the town. (See image hereunder).

Note, Chinese granite stone has been laid around the ESB metal standard and a new Belisha Beacon pole; (no fault of the contractor), undertaken on the instructions of highly paid engineers and overpaid consultants.

It would appear that engineers and consultants have both failed to keep up to date on guidelines laid down by the National Transport Authority with regard to the basic principles governing universal access. (Note again the picture attached.) Universal access principles mean the avoidance of obstacles and impediments for people with disabilities; thus ensuring that adequate width and clearance is provided to enable them to have unimpeded access to pedestrian facilities. Imagine the confusion these obstacles, at Bowes Corner, will cause to a blind person using a guide dog, or a disabled person using a mobility power chair device.

the Chinese granite stonework will now have to be ripped up, the metal standard shifted and all financed by the stoically patient and long-suffering taxpayer.

Placing the cart before the horse.

Tipperary County Council and their officials within the Thurles Municipal district continue to “Place the cart before the horse.”

Recent developments within Thurles are now seen by local residents as superficial. Take the half developed upgrade to Liberty Square for example. Yes, it has the veneer of development. Certainly things look nicer around the town, but have failed totally to have a really deep and meaningful impact. Traffic congestion is worse. The nightmare, that is traffic, would have been substantially alleviated with a Ring Road/Bypass, and consumers would have been attracted to shop on our Liberty Square and other areas in our town centre, rather than, as it is now, avoiding Thurles altogether, because you can’t get through its increasing congested streets.

The removal of parking from the square and elsewhere, has not incentivized locals to pay for parking in car parks, instead they are heading to find the free parking readily available at Thurles Shopping Centre, Lidl and Aldi; choosing convenience and practicality over notions that are better suited to large city centre life.

The developments applied to Liberty square and surrounding streets are great in theory, but in practice ask yourself “Are they meeting the needs of a rural town, it’s business and consumers?”
A central square with spaces for pedestrians and eating outside is lovely, but in reality, seem more appropriate to Dublin City and places that have an efficient and well established public transport network. Pedestrianised streets; reduced parking, together with wooden picnic benches, latter for 8 weeks of the year, were never a priority for Thurles; the Thurles Ring Road/Bypass was; same now not expected to be included in any National Development Plan at least until 2030, if ever!
We may welcome the half provided, aesthetic improvements to Liberty square, but many of us would have waited for those, and taken a Ring Road/Bypass first.
Things have and are been done in totally the wrong order!

Unfortunately, the real people making decisions don’t walk the streets of Thurles town, nor appreciate what we need, to develop it, based on our unique rural needs; the Ring Road being a long standing local priority, and proving yet again that our two local resident politicians have absolutely no clout.