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Double Ditch – Current Update.

It was announced today that eleven Tipperary projects are to be included for funding, announced under the ‘Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme’.

The total funding announced for the county was €200,000, none of which was allocated to Thurles Town.

Just so as non local people fully understand; The Grange Loop, who bears the Thurles postal address, and who were rightly gifted €20,000; refers I believe to the lovely Grange Crag loop walk trailhead, in the Civil Parish of Kilcooly, Co. Tipperary, close to the Kilkenny border, latter a 21 minute drive from Thurles town, 21.5 km / 13.25 mls from Thurles, via the N75 minor road. [Surely, it hardly refers to the townslands of Grange, on the N62, (Brittas Road, Thurles. )]

Tipperary Town received €19,800 funding for a Mass Path. [Proof that it pays to march and protest, to highlight being ignored by Tipperary County Council.]

No effort was made to get funding for the “Double Ditch” Mass Path, latter situated between the Mill Road, Thurles and College Lane in the town. But then our politicians and county councillors didn’t notify us, regarding any available government funding worthy of being sought.

We first raised issues regarding fly-tipping on the Great Famine “Double Ditch” on lands either side of same, owned by Tipperary Co. Council, on October 28th, 2019. View HERE.

Every official, local councillor and local politician were advised.

Today, some 15 months later, not one solitary item dumped back then, was ever removed.

See slide show hereunder, compiled from views captured in recent days.

On site today, (19th January 2021) the stolen shopping trolleys have doubled, so also the paper and other plastic litter, the discarded toys, the beer cans, and the bottles, the burnt household items, the cookers and fridges, the gym equipment, etc. etc. etc. All three original sweet crab trees, and some mature Hawthorn trees, have now been either burnt on site or cut down for firewood.

We are reminiscent of a town that refuses to pay Local Property Tax (LPT) and a town devoid of any real quality political or official leadership. The new council housing project being built on a flood plane and running parallel, is using the Double Ditch to drain flood water unto the ditch and through it, unto the land on the other side.

Yet the local people though solidly offended, stay silent, realising, not for the first time, that they are powerless in the face of constant political pretence and official deceipt and hogwash.

_______________________________________________

By the way, we received two communications relating to the Great Famine ‘Double Ditch’ in recent weeks. To refresh your memory, view links to read past such communications HERE.

The first recent communication came from Tipperary Fianna Fáil Councillor, Mr Sean Ryan.

Councillor Ryan confirmed in a Facebook private message in recent weeks, “I did enquire George, but still haven’t a definitive answer. When I do, I’ll let you know.” My question had been, “Is the Thurles inner relief road going to effect the Double Ditch”.

Note: This last question above was first asked originally in May 2020, over 8 months ago.

If Councillor Ryan’s answer is truly the case, it would appear that Tipperary Council officials are also refusing to communicate with all elected representatives; since all elected representatives, contacted by me, remain silent on this issue.

This is despite being instructed to communicate with me by Tipperary Co. Council’s ‘Ethics Registrar‘, namely Mr. David Coleman, (Administrative Officer, Corporate Services), who contacted all Councillors, yet same continue to openly resist and refuse to obey his instructions, thus fully ignoring their required Code of Conduct, demanded under the Local Government Act of 2001.

Note: An email message does not carry Covid-19 virus infection.

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The second communication arrived from Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile (National Monuments Service) on Christmas Eve last, 24th Dec. 2020, at 10:11am.

Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile wrote: –

Dear Mr Willoughby
I refer further to your email below.

The Double Ditch is not a Recorded Monument and it is not afforded legal protection under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014. The concerns raised appear to relate to planning and development, which is a matter for the Local Authority.
Wishing you a happy Christmas.
Kind regards
Máire

Allowing for Christmas leave etc, I replied to Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile on Wednesday night, 13th January 2020 at 20:46, as follows: –

To Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile
Madam,
I am saddened to note that your office has obviously not read anything that I sent to your department, in the last year. I am fully aware this is not a recorded monument.  The reason I wrote to you in the first place was for you to investigate my claim and have it declared such, thus, affording legal protection under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014.


Perhaps I need to clarify this issue in simpler terms.

On Tue, 12 Nov 2019, 13:40, I contacted Ms Roisin O’Grady (roisin.ogrady@tipperarycoco.ie).  Latter is Heritage Officer with Tipperary County Council at Ballingarrane House, Cahir road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary,

To Ms Roisin O’Grady,
In keeping with Tipperary County Councils promise to “promote awareness and appreciation of our rich heritage and to protect and enhance it for future generations” may I request that you take time to view the following link: – http://www.thurles.info/2019/10/28/thurles-double-ditch/
.

Remembering that next year (2021) is the 175 year in which we commemorate the ‘Great Famine’; the images in the slide show provided by the link shows clearly that among other improprieties and illegalities, barbed wire has been recently introduced on a public monument, on a public right-of-way which is also formerly a ‘Mass Path’ and was one of the first projects undertaken to assist in feeding the poor of Thurles. The slide show demonstrates clear evidence of neglect, vandalism and a convenient land grab by land owners on either side, latter reducing the width of the pathway to one of single file.

Yours sincerely
George Willoughby


I briefly met with the said Ms O’Grady at 2.30pm on the Great Famine Double Ditch in Thurles on 22nd Nov. 2019 and requested that she contact the National Monument section, regarding the need to declare this area, itself, a national monument.

Correspondence from Ms O’Grady came dated Thur, 27th Feb. 2020, at 16:08.

It read: –
George
A quick line just to say I haven’t forgotten about your query, but there has been a lot of applications due in the last few weeks so I am slower than expected tracking down the necessary information. I will revert in due course once I have some information for you
.

Regards
Róisín O’Grady

This was the last communication I ever had from Ms O’Grady, despite contacting her office on several occasions.

Note: The great famine double ditch is being totally ignored, despite Tipperary Co. Council owning the land on either side.

I have since discovered, based on documentation obtained from Tipperary Co. Council offices, that Tipperary Co. Council intend to demolish this ‘Double Ditch’ to provide an inner relief road for the town. Ms O’Grady’s silence perhaps is being controlled by someone or something that is much more powerful.

A copy of an Archaeological Survey (See attached) is grossly misleading. Note: The Great Famine Double Ditch is totally and I believe deliberately ignored within this document, despite Tipperary Co. Council owning the land on either side.

Perhaps you could confirm also, if Ms O’Grady ever contacted your office, seeking legal protection for the Great Famine, Double Ditch, under the National Monuments Acts, which was requested by me in November 2019 or do we have a case of the tail (namely Tipperary Co. Council) wagging the dog (Tipperary’s own Co. Council Heritage Office ).

I remain
Yours sincerely
George Willoughby.

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In all, now to-date, 16 persons, including senior Co. Council officials, e.g Mr Joe MacGrath (CE, Tipperary Co. Council); 4 Teachtaí Dála; two of which support this present government here in Co. Tipperary, [namely Mr Michael Lowry and Mr Jackie Cahill, Minister Malcolm Noonan, (latter Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform), and Minister Darragh O’Brien, (latter Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage), all of whom have failed to answer the simple question; “Will the planned Thurles inner relief road impinge, in a negative way, on the 1846 Thurles ‘Double Ditch’, which has been a “Right of Way” and a “Mass Path” for almost 175 years and which is the property of the people of Thurles Town?”

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Covid-19 Update: Sun. 17th Jan. 2021 – 13 Deaths – 2944 New Cases

56 new killer Covid-19 virus cases in past 24 hours, as confirmed cases continue to rise in Co. Tipperary.

Thurles native and naive Co. Tipperary Fianna Fail TD, Mr Jackie Cahill, deservedly, suffered severe and strong disapproval to the very point of censure yesterday; on his social media accounts, following his vote catching tweet relating to the failure by the HSE to vaccinate Nenagh Hospital front-line staff. These same comments can be fully viewed HERE.

Amongst the many comments displaying anger and using irony to mock or convey contempt, in relation to Mr Cahill’s canvasing, were the following: –

Do any TD’s in Tipperary know a billionaire who could open a private hospital in Nenagh for ye?
(Referring of course to Mr Cahill’s premature ‘secret’ Holycross Museum announcement, and no doubt also referring to the many known associates of Mr Michael Lowry TD)

Well done Jackie, next time you’re canvassing in Carrick, we can have a chat about St. Brigids hospital.” (St. Bridget’s Hospital is currently marked for closure by the present administration.)

He’s deluded or he’s on an early canvas.”

Your post seems a bit misleading, and to be honest it’s not the first time you’ve made false statements about healthcare provision in Tipperary.” (Referring again to the now expected closure of St. Brigid’s hospital, Carrick-On-Suir, Tipperary.)

The staff had to shame the government to get access to the vaccine. He’s playing spin doctor along with them.”

Ask ur friend @MichealMartin TD how private hospitals (Beacon Private Hospital staff vaccinated) got it before public & where is the €14m given for useless ventilators.

Nothing to do with the hospital staff having to beg for the vaccine, you lemon.”

Disgraceful that nurses/caterers had to go on national news to look for the vaccine. Local rollout appears to be very disorganised ; vaccines not given to the most vulnerable staff members first; very disappointing.”

Ah, getting the old vote catcher ‘tweet’ in, you should have been on top of this from the beginning, but as usual its reaction from you and the big, look what I done for you, tweet.

So now we’re playing party politics with the vaccine! What’s next. FF members to be bumped to top of vaccine list, u should be ashamed to post such a tweet.

“Why would ANYONE have to make representations”.

Jackie the bluffer Cahill, absolute joke of a man, a liar like the rest of our politicians.”

Note Please: The above comments can NOT in any way be associated with website Thurles.Info. One comment posted by me, personally, was removed, latter which conveyed the truth of this Nenagh situation, conveyed by Mr Micheál Martin, for whom I hold the greatest respect.

It was also lamentable that some FF councillors shamefully encouraged Mr Cahill, in what is observed by many as deliberate deception, at the expense of his county’s medical workforce.

It is widely expected that Mr Cahill TD will now apologise for his selfish and unsubstantiated communications on social media; to the front-line staff of Nenagh Hospital on TippFM radio, tomorrow morning.

Hereunder, our readers can view the full video of Nenagh Hospital front-line staff in Co. Tipperary, pleading for what is rightly their entitlement, as a staff required to deal daily, and head-on with the deadly Covid-19 virus, since last March 2020.

Back now to the real facts, the truth and today’s reality.

The Department of Health have confirmed this evening that sadly there have been 13 further deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic; leaving the overall death toll, here in the Republic of Ireland, remaining at 2,608.

With our Irish hospital system already operating at surge capacity, there were 2,944 new additional virus cases reported today. This leaves the current total number of confirmed cases, since conception in the Irish Republic, at 172,726.

Of today’s cases nationally; 1,065 are in Dublin, 306 in Cork, 181 in Galway, 180 in Kildare, 160 in Limerick, with the remaining 1,052 cases located across all other counties.

There are 1,923 people with Covid-19 in hospital, and of that number, 195 people are in ICU, according to Ireland’s Covid Data Hub.

According to Ireland’s COVID-19 Data Hub, to date there have now been 3,582 recorded cases of the killer Covid-19 Virus within the borders of Co. Tipperary, per data relevant up to midnight on January 15th, 2021. Fifty six (56) cases are relevant in the 24 hours to midnight on Saturday, January 16th, 2021, or 1,529 over the past 14 day period, up to the same stated date (January 16th, 2021).

The Government have requested early deliveries of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine so that it can arrange to be ready for same to be administered in GP clinics, local pharmacies and appointed vaccination centres, as soon as it is approved at the end of this month.

In Northern Ireland, a further 25 coronavirus deaths have been recorded taking their death toll to 1,606. A further 822 new cases have been confirmed, taking their total number of positive virus tests to 95,361.

Total global cases up to 5.30pm this evening, now stands at over 94.7 million confirmed cases, with global deaths well over 2.02 million and rising.

Only YOU can stop the current chain of transmission.

Please Stay Safe – Stay Home.

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The Story Of Your Stuff

Investigating the long-term impacts of everyday decisions is at heart of EPA second-level schools’ competition.

  • The EPA today launched The Story of Your Stuff, a competition which challenges students to investigate the life cycle of their everyday ‘stuff’ through a creative medium, considering the entirety of the item’s life cycle.
  • Students are encouraged to use the EPA’s Ireland’s Environment website, www.epa.ie/irelandsenvironment/ as a main resource to assist their research.
  • The Story of Your Stuff asks students to address climate issues with creativity, and also awards a special prize for Irish language entries.
  • Students are encouraged to consider answers to questions of environmental sustainability raised during pandemic.
  • Closing date for entries is Monday, 8th March 2021.

The EPA today launched The Story of Your Stuff, a competition aimed at secondary school students, which seeks to empower young people to make environmentally conscious decisions about their everyday ‘stuff’ and activities. Entrants are tasked with researching the life cycle of an everyday item or environmental impact of an activity, and creatively telling its story through a visual medium.

Last year’s winners were Caoimhe Higgins and Katherine from St. Andrews College, Booterstown, Dublin who made a video on the story of soap, shown in video above.

Now in its fifth year, the competition brings together curiosity, creativity and science, and aims to get young people thinking about sustainability, climate action and environmental protection, spread the word among their friends and family and make lasting and impactful changes.

Entrants will be in with a chance to win €500 for themselves and €500 for their school. An additional ‘climate topic prize’ will be awarded to the entry that best addresses and incorporates specific climate considerations, including carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, to recognising a yearly increase in the number of Irish language entries received to the competition, a special prize for the best project delivered in Irish has been introduced.

Speaking at the launch of the competition, EPA Programme Manager, Dr Jonathan Derham said: “The EPA’s recently published State of the Environment Report highlights that the overall quality of Ireland’s environment is not what it should be, and the outlook is not optimistic unless we accelerate the implementation of solutions across all sectors and society. How and what we consume can directly negatively impact our environment. We need to understand these pressures and work to embrace more sustainable consumption behaviours.

The Story of Your Stuff offers young people almost limitless opportunities to explore how everyday decisions have far-reaching impacts on our environment. Moreover, against the backdrop of school closures due to COVID-19, The Story of Your Stuff is an ideal project to undertake from home, and for students to work on remotely with their classmates. I would encourage all second-level students and teachers to enter this year’s competition.”

Last year’s inaugural Climate Topic Prize winner was Lana Mitchel from Coolmine Community School, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 who created a video on the story of paper, shown above.

Astronaut ambassador

This year, the EPA has enlisted the support of aeronautical engineer, citizen scientist-astronaut candidate and award-winning STEM advocate, Dr Norah Patten as the competition ambassador for The Story of Your Stuff.

Dr Patten said: “As an advocate of participation in STEM, I’m encouraged by The Story of Your Stuff and am delighted to take up the role of ambassador for this year’s competition. Here, young people have the opportunity to bring their commitment to climate action and apply it to help influence environmentally-conscious decisions. I look forward to seeing how students immerse themselves in their chosen topic and go about presenting their findings in a creative and digestible way, with the aim of influencing behavioural change. I wish all entrants and their teachers the best of luck.”

For a third year, The Story of Your Stuff has partnered with UCD, which will host a finale event in April.

Director of the Earth Institute at UCD, Professor Tasman Crowe said: “UCD is delighted to once again support the EPA in delivering this initiative. The Story of Your Stuff has the potential to inspire the scientists of the future and is an important tool through which students develop the skills used by scientists and other researchers. Research has a huge role to play in protecting our planet and I hope students are inspired by the initiative to consider future studies in science and sustainability.”

Remember Competition guidelines and tips are available HERE and the deadline for entries is Monday, 8th March 2021.

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Helpful Resources For Return to Remote Learning.

RTÉ’s Home School Hub: A Resource that requires no Broadband.

One of the biggest challenges to remote schooling, faced by teachers and pupils alike, is poor access to broadband or lack of affordability.

Schools have received funding for IT equipment and digital platforms, but without adequate broadband, pupils and teachers can do nothing online and very little with their digital devices.

Minister for Education (Irish: An tAire Oideachais) Ms Norma Foley has repeatedly praised her department’s guidance and funding for IT and remote learning, but many teachers would argue that she is ignoring the blatantly obvious, namely, that remote teaching amounts to little, if you cannot access fast and reliable broadband.

Remote teaching has indeed highlighted how much remains to be done to improve broadband infrastructure in this country. It is, to say the least, regrettable that since lockdown and school closure became the new norm, that little has been done to improve the provision of broadband and internet access for our children, young people and their teachers.

If you are a family or teacher with limited access to the internet, then RTÉ’s Home School Hub is the resource you need. Home School Hub aims to help keep everyone busy and engaged with learning over this current lockdown.

It will air every weekday, for two hours from 10:00am on RTÉ2, starting tomorrow morning, Monday January 11th.

For those with adequate broadband; to help teachers, parents and pupils plan ahead, visit HERE to view resources and outline topics being covered this week.

Please note also that the Irish Sign Language Version airs at 1:00pm with a daily show on RTÉjr. Also, in the afternoon there will be more from After School Hub on RTÉ2 from 3.20pm.

Keep an eye on RTÉ.ie/learn, for more over the coming weeks.

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Helpful Resources For A Return To Remote Learning.

Free Access to Textbooks Online

As part of efforts to suppress this wave of Covid-19, the government has confirmed that all schools are returning to remote learning from Monday 11th January for a period of least three weeks.

Unfortunately, because this closure was not fully anticipated, many pupils are at home without their textbooks. Thankfully, many Irish education publishers are giving free online access to primary school and secondary school textbooks.

For more information, simply follow the links below:

For books by CJ Fallon click HERE.
For books by EDCO click HERE.
For books by Folens click HERE.
For Primary Books by Gill Education click HERE.
For Secondary Books by Gill Education click HERE.

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