Tipperary Town suffered a devastating blow at the beginning of the new year when it was overlooked for funding by the Government for three crucial projects.
The fact that the town was rejected despite having in place a Task Force set up by the Government to revitalise the town caused great hurt.
There was outrage that Nenagh, again, succeeded in receiving regeneration funding while Tipperary Town missed out.
The application presented by Tipperary Town sought funding for a youth services and further education and training centre, an upgrade of Canon Hayes Recreation Centre and an equine and sporting tourism attraction amenity at Tipperary Racecourse. The council has since pledged €1m to get two of the three elements of the project to design and planning stage after huge public backlash. The local authority has “decoupled” the Limerick Junction aspect of the plan and is just focusing on the other two elements (see page three and 17 for more).
But the battle for funding that the Tipperary Town community is grappling with will continue.
The collective group involved in the Task Force and supporting its ambition and vision are determined to ensure Tipperary Town will get a fair share of Government funding in the future.
This week the two elected representatives based in Tipperary Town set out their wish list for 2022.
CLLR ANNEMARIE RYAN
“For me the future of Tipperary Town relies heavily on investing in our young people. I hope that we can increase their educational and employment opportunities in Tipperary Town. I would love to see the establishment of an education and training centre in the heart of the town, one that targets early school leavers and offers them opportunities to learn new skills, while encouraging self-belief and hope,” said Cllr Annemarie Ryan.
DAN BREEN HOUSE
The Tipperary business woman described the redevelopment of Dan Breen House as a training centre, as a key project in the regeneration of Tipperary Town. The Tipperary Town Task Force is about to finalise its action plan. One of the key actions within the plan is the delivery of a multi-annual Government funding that is dedicated solely to tackling intergenerational poverty, experienced by many families here in Tipperary Town. If I had only one wish it would be that we receive adequate annual funding from national Government to tackle poverty and social exclusion. Each child deserves a chance to live a full life with equal opportunities,” she said.
Cllr Ryan said that she was involved in plans to arrange meetings with owners of vacant properties in Tipperary Town (both commercial and residential) to explore the opportunities for bringing these buildings back into use.
“We need to have a frank and honest conversation about why we have so much dereliction and vacancy in our historic town centre and then develop appropriate projects to get these buildings back into use. I am working on the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check programme with Ali Harvey from the Heritage Council, and it has given me a detailed insight into the harm caused by dereliction and vacancy. Tipperary Town is a beautiful architectural market town; we need to preserve its uniqueness by sourcing adequate funding to help restore its built heritage,” said Cllr Ryan.
In the year ahead Cllr Ryan said that she would be keeping a close eye on the Limerick Junction to Cahir realignment project and would continue to fight for the badly and long overdue bypass of Tipperary Town.
“I will keep lobbying for better public transport links, in particular an enhanced rail service that incorporates both freight and passenger travel. We are lucky to have a railway station in Tipperary Town, but it needs proper investment to deliver more suitable timetables for people to benefit from,” insisted Cllr Ryan.
Cllr Ryan said that retailers and businesses were key to the success of every small town, especially the smaller independent retailers. “In February we will publish the findings of the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check with data that tells us what business and consumers want from our town centre. Next step is to deliver on this information,” she said.
Cllr Ryan said she was pleased with the progress made on delivering a wonderful mural art project within the town centre.
“The Task Force Murals group is aiming to deliver four high quality murals which will include working with national and local artists as well as community groups. I am excited to see what inspiring artwork we can deliver that celebrates our town and our famous name ‘Tipperary’,” said Cllr Ryan.
Cllr Ryan said that she would continue to work with the Task Force Heritage Group on restoration and future use for the courthouse and Bridewell and said that the potential options for the Workhouse needed to be explored.
CLLR TONY BLACK
Cllr Tony Black said that over the years the town seems to have been left behind and the community had experienced a sense of abandonment.
He was pleased to note that in recent years, through the work of existing groups and with the emergence of new groups, the fortunes of the town appear to be changing.
“In 2021, the work of the Tipperary Town Task Force, coupled with the progression of plans for the eagerly awaited bypass and the cooperation of various groups have led to a feeling of hope and anticipation,” said Cllr Black.
He pointed to the number of buildings in the town centre that availed of the painting enhancement scheme, the repairs to the roof of the courthouse, the arrival of Dealz, Mr Price and other businesses or the green light for the development on Dundrum Road as signs of progress in the town.
He said that these developments happened despite the pandemic and 2021 had to be seen as a successful year for the town.
“However, it wasn’t that successful for everyone in Tipperary and I would like to acknowledge the businesses and people who were directly affected by Covid-19 last year and I hope that they continue to be supported by our community as these difficult times continue,” he said.
Looking ahead to this year Cllr Black said progress on the bypass was crucial.
“I would also like to see the local authority continue to work with any investors or developers who view the town as being worthy of investment. In particular, I would like to see common sense prevail with regards to zoning and planning and not just see a continuation of the policy of sticking rigidly to guidelines and regulations. A lack of forward thinking can lead to towns like Tipperary losing out to bigger towns and Tipperary is crying out for employment and investment,” he said.
He also wanted to see the continuation of footpath and road improvements around the town following a number of improvement works delivered in 2021.
“The completion of the O’Brien Street junction and the removal of the ‘temporary’ roundabout is a project I look forward to seeing delivered in early 2022. It is something the residents, local representatives and council have cooperated on and it will show that with cooperation great things can be delivered for our communities,” said Cllr Black.
He also wanted to see a focus on the areas surrounding Tipperary Town that are very much part of the community.
“Without our villages, townlands and rural communities the town would not be able to survive and I hope to see these areas continue to be invested in by the local authority. Whether this be road improvements, traffic calming infrastructure or tidy towns investment I am always on hand to assist in any way possible,” he said.
“Let 2022 be the year where our local and national politicians put aside their political differences and ambitions and work together to deliver for Tipperary Town and surrounding areas. The people deserve it and Tipperary needs to be given the space, support and opportunity to fulfil its potential,” he added.
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