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No Proper Appeal Mechanism In Relation To Local Property Tax.

We are informed that grounds for a method of appealing against Local Property Tax (LPT), by Irish householders, on the basis of dissatisfaction with local (in this case Tipperary Co. Council) Council services, does not relate to an established set of principles governing an Independent state, according to T.D. and Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael McGrath.
We now ask the question “Is this constitutional?”

On March 26th last, Thurles.Info wrote to the Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael McGrath T.D., regarding the unacceptable state of the road surface at Kickham Street, situated east of Thurles town centre. The failure to obtain any real communication, over a 3 year period, from Council officials, local elected Councillors, and our two resident Dáil politicians, resulted in our communication being directed to Minister McGrath.

Residents, having tolerated the state of the road surface, the flooding, etc. over a three year period, our question to the Minister was simple; “How can householders appeal against Local Property Tax (LPT), when their homes/property are being destroyed by the failure at local government to sort out issues.?”

Ms Niamh Kavanagh, (latter private secretary to the Minister for Finance) replied to our query as shown hereunder.

Readers: Do take note of links shown hereunder in Ms Kavanagh’s communication.

Dear Mr. Willoughby,

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael McGrath T.D., has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your email of March 14th, concerning your appeal against the payment of your Local Property Tax (LPT) and related complaint about (Tipperary) County Council.

The LPT was introduced in 2013 to provide a stable and sustainable funding base for local authorities and is a significant base-broadening measure. It is collected by Revenue, and the proceeds of LPT are subsequently transferred to the Local Government Fund which comes under the responsibility of the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The funds are redistributed to local authorities in accordance with Government policies on funding allocations.

LPT along with other revenue streams is used to fund a broad range of services in the public realm. While this includes road maintenance and cleaning, it also includes fire and emergency services; street lighting; spatial and development planning and other similar services; regulatory and inspection functions and business support services, as well as libraries, parks, and other recreation and cultural public amenities.

The proper functioning of these services is important for the wellbeing of every community and household. The decisions on and implementation of these services are matters for each individual local authority and its councillors.

I understand that Tipperary County Council provide a reporting form for the notification of issues which require Council action, such as damaged roads. This form is available here: https://www.tipperarycoco.ie/roads-and-transport/damaged-road-and-footpath-reporting/make-fix-it-complaintor-log-issue.

LPT is payable in respect of all habitable residential properties, and there are no grounds for exemption on the basis of dissatisfaction with local services. However, I note the mention of your personal circumstances in your email. There exists an exemption from LPT for properties purchased, adapted or built for use by incapacitated persons. This exemption may be claimed where a resident of the property is permanently incapacitated to the extent, they cannot maintain themselves by earning an income through work and where their condition dictates the type of property they can live in. Further information on this exemption is available on Revenue’s website: https://www.revenue.ie/en/property/local-property-tax/lpt-exemptions/incapacitated-persons.aspx

Where no exemption is applicable in respect of a property, a property owner may opt to defer or partially defer payment of their LPT, where their income is below certain thresholds. A deferral is not an exemption, and the deferred LPT becomes payable at a later date and carries an interest charge of 3% per annum. Further information on LPT deferrals is available here: https://www.revenue.ie/en/property/local-property-tax/deferral-of-payment/index.aspx.

I hope this information is of assistance.
Yours sincerely,
Niamh Kavanagh, (Private Secretary to the Minister for Finance).

The reply from Minister McGrath was received on May 30th last, shortly after the road surface had been properly repaired.
We thank the Minister for his intervention.

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80 People Dead On Irish Roads During Quarter One Of 2024.

So far this year, (during quarter one of 2024), 80 people have lost their lives on Irish roads, sadly the worst record in a decade.

Over the bank holiday weekend, up until 7:00am this morning [June 3rd], 137 motorists have been arrested for intoxicated driving.

On the M7 near Nenagh, Co Tipperary, An Garda Síochána set up a road safety checkpoint, using number plate recognition technology, as well as their mobility application; targeting vehicles approaching their checkpoint, which saw officers arrested one man on suspicion of committing an offence under the Road Traffic Act.
During this check, dozens of motorists were breathalysed to identify those who may have had alcohol or drugs in their system.

Gardaí are currently looking at implementing a system whereby motorists with dash camera footage of road traffic offences, will be able to upload same footage to an online portal system, thus allowing Gardaí to check and possibly use same in road traffic prosecutions.

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Intention To Close N75 Thurles Bridge For Delayed Repairs.

According to a notice posted on the Tipperary County Council website; the bridge crossing the river Suir joining Cathedral Street with Liberty Square, [known locally as ‘Barry’s Bridge’ situated on route N75 east of Thurles,] will close next month.

Barry’s Bridge, Thurles

The period of closure is understood to take place nightly from 7:00pm to 5:00am, for an estimated 9 day period beginning Monday, June 17th until Tuesday, June 25th.

During this period, traffic travelling eastwards on the N75, towards Two-Mile-Borris, will be diverted in the town centre, (Liberty Square) to turn right onto Slievenamon Road, (N62) travelling to Horse and Jockey, before turning left onto the R639 as far as Littleton, and turning left in the village onto the L-4157, remaining on this road until the roundabout on the N75.

We are informed that traffic travelling westward on the N75 route into Thurles will be diverted east at the Mill Road Roundabout onto the L-4157 as far as Littleton village, turning right onto the R639 to Horse and Jockey, turning right onto the L4150 and continuing on the N62 to Liberty Square.

REASON FOR CLOSURE: To facilitate resurfacing works already one year late which had initially been scheduled for May of 2023, according to Tipperary Co. Councils Chief Executive, Mr Joe MacGrath.

Why traffic is required to travel to Littleton and Horse & Jockey before returning to Thurles via the N62; latter a distance of 21.7k (some 13.5 extra miles), instead of using the Archerstown route and onto the N62 close to the rear of Thurles Golf Club, (in relation to both diversions) has not been explained. But then Co. Council engineers may not be familiar with the area.

It would now appear that Tipperary County Council’s promised Traffic Calming Measures on the N75 from Mill Road roundabout to Barry’s Bridge, is no longer on the June 2024 agenda, as reported by local Councillor Mr Sean Ryan scheduled for this June, 2024. Also, the necessary pedestrian crossing and pavement improvement schemes for this area, are no longer viewed as an emergency. Read HERE and Read HERE.

Do we actually need to elect local councillors on Friday, June 7th, 2024 next or should we have a referendum to decide whether or not they are required at all? Think of the savings that could be made nationally!

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Land Acquired For Thurles Inner Relief Road.

We understand that a small parcel of land, (approximately 2 acres), has now been purchased by Tipperary Co. Council, from the Ryan Family, to construct the long awaited inner relief road for Thurles town, same planned to join the N62 at Slievenamon Road, Thurles, exiting northwards, unto the Mill Road.

Proposed Thurles Inner Relief Road.

An Bord Pleanala granted permission for the development of this Thurles inner relief road 10 years ago, in July 2014. Same was granted resulting in the annulation and total destruction of the historic Great Famine Double Ditch, which we here at Thurles.Info fought so hard to retain, while local Thurles press and Thurles local radio remained totally silent on the issue.

Late last year the acquisition 4.5 acres of land had been sought in ongoing discussions, however up until recently, no land purchase to provide for such a relief road had been agreed despite the destruction of Thurles history undertaken by Tipperary Co. Council, aided by Thurles local councillors.

In Tipperary Co. Councils Management report of February 2023 (See last item on bottom of page 9), Tipperary Council Council state that the Thurles Inner Relief Road scheme would take approximately 3 years to complete. A consultant was expected to have the tender documentation prepared by Q4 2023, so that a works contractor could be appointed by Q1 2024, with the next stage being to “Secure funding to deliver the Inner Relief Road project and finalise land acquisition.”

So far as the public are aware to date, only €75,000 had been allocated to this project, under the Regional and Local Roads Programme.
However, (SEE HERE), Fianna Fáil TD Mr Jackie Cahill stated, (video of October 2021 last), quote “I am delighted to have secured funding for this inner relief road”.

A contract for the purchase is expected to be officially signed on Friday next. Same will also now allow for the construction of a footpath on the Mill Road, previously put on hold by the failure to acquire the same stated property.

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New Rules & Regulations Regarding E-Scooters Now In Force.

Electric scooter (e-scooter).

From yesterday, Monday 20th May, e-scooters will be legal to use and operate on a public road, under the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023, however, it should be noted that the following rules and restrictions will apply.

E-scooters can only be used:

  • by people over 16 years of age.
  • on cycle and bus lanes.
  • on local, regional and national roads.

E-scooters are not permitted:

  • to be used by people under 16 years-of-age.
  • to carry goods or passengers.
  • to be used on footpaths, pedestrianised areas or on motorways.
  • to exceed a speed limit of 20 km/h.

Note: An Garda Síochána will be enforcing the new rules and regulations with regards same vehicles.

Q. What is an e-scooter?
A. An electric scooter (e-scooter) is a vehicle with a small standing platform and no seat, for use by one person only, with two or more wheels, propelled by an electric motor. The rider may also propel the e-scooter forward by pushing.

Q. When do the new laws for e-scooters come into force?
A. The regulations for e-scooters came into force yesterday, Monday May 20th 2024.

Q. Are e-scooters legal in Ireland?
A. From May 20th 2024, e-scooters are legal to use on public roads under the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023.

Q. What is the minimum age limit for e-scooter users?
A. E-scooter users must be aged 16 years or older. Gardai will have the power to seize an e-scooter if it’s being used by anyone under the age of 16 years.

Q. Do I need to register, tax, or insure my e-scooter?
A. No.

Q. Do I need a licence to use my e-scooter in a public place?
A. No.

Q. What are the rules for using e-scooters in Ireland?
A. From May 20th 2024, e-scooter users must:

  1. Drive on the left, including in cycle and bus lanes.
  2. Be 16 or older.
  3. Obey the rules of the road, particularly for traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, pelican crossings and zebra crossings.
  4. Obey signals given by a Garda or school warden.
  5. Obey all traffic lights, including bicycle traffic lights.
  6. Obey all traffic signs in the same way that they apply to cyclists.
  7. Not carry passengers or goods.
  8. Not use the footpath.
  9. Obey a speed limit of 20km/h.
  10. Not hold or use a mobile phone.

Q. What are the technical specifications for e-scooters?
A. E-scooters must:

  1. Have a maximum power output of 400 watts or less.
  2. Have a maximum weight of 25 kg (including batteries).
  3. Have a maximum design speed of 20 km/h or less.
  4. Have wheels with a minimum diameter of 200mm.
  5. Be fitted with front and rear lights, reflectors, brakes and a bell.
  6. Be fitted with a manufacturer’s plate certifying the power output, weight and design speed.

Q. What if my e-scooter doesn’t meet the technical requirements in the regulations?
A. If your e-scooter doesn’t meet the current legislative requirements, it will remain illegal for you to use it in a public place. Same will be subject to enforcement by An Garda Síochana and may be seized.

Q. Can I carry a passenger on an e-scooter?
A. No. It’s illegal and unsafe for you to carry a passenger on an e-scooter and a fixed charge notice will apply if you’re caught.

Q. What rules apply for e-scooters for alcohol/drugs?
A. An e-scooter may not be used while under the influence of an intoxicant. An e-scooter user charged with this offence will face a court appearance and can be fined up to €2,000.

Q. What are the rules governing the use of e-scooters in public places?
A. From 20 May, E-scooters can be used:
• by people over 16.
• on cycle and bus lanes.
• on local, regional and national roads.

E-scooters are not permitted:
• to be used by people under 16.
• to carry goods or passengers.
• to have a seat.
• to be used on footpaths, pedestrianised areas or on motorways.

In addition, where a bicycle is not permitted, e-scooters are not permitted either.

Rules that govern bicycle use, also now apply to the use of e-scooters.

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