Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Local Authority Boundaries
I thank the Ceann Comhairle for the opportunity to raise this Topical Issue matter and for his forbearance. This is an example of a smash and grab. We had an independent review, the findings of which we all accepted. Tipperary County Council and others made their submissions to it and we accepted it. This is going back to the Tullymandering days of the heavy gang in the 1973-77 coalition. Fine Gael paid the price for that.
This is an outright attack on Clonmel and Cahir. As Deputy Healy said, Clonmel, our county town, has been destroyed. As I have said, we kept Cromwell out of it but we could not keep the then Minister, Phil Hogan, out of it when he destroyed our borough council, which we had for centuries and in which we had great pride. We had €15.1 million of a fund in those days. We have only pennies now, crumbs from the table in Nenagh, which is a secondary town and it was always was, and I have nothing against the people of Nenagh. With respect to the county manager and his three-man team, Mr. McEvoy agreed to the amalgamation with respect to roads, planning and finance in terms of Nenagh and left Clonmel with precious little.
Putting Cahir in with Tipperary and Cashel is a travesty and an injustice. There is not even a road, or a hiking path, over the Galtee Mountains to get from Skeheenaranky or Burncourt, or Araglin or indeed Clogheen to Tipperary Town. One has to go into County Cork, into County Limerick and back to Tipperary or else go back into Cahir or Bansha. It is unjust. Who gives the Minister of State the right to do this? The Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, stood up here and said that the boundary commission did not do its job right and that they were going to add to it. That is outright Fine Gael arrogance; arrogance of the highest order. Its members think they can do what they like with the people but the people will have the final say and they are waiting for them in the long grass.
This is unworkable. They did not include the Tipperary name in the district. The Minister of State apologised for that, and he said something about getting married. I wish him and his wife well in their marriage but this is disgraceful. They omitted to include the brand name of Tipperary. What kind of officials were they who would think of the name of a district without including the name of Tipperary, which is recognised all over the world? I know the Minister of State represents Kilkenny, as did the then Minister, Phil Hogan, big Phil the enforcer, as I like to call him, but this coming from the Minister of State was outrageous. We kept Cromwell out but we cannot keep his interference out of Clonmel and Cahir, destroying the area and forcing us into an area that is unworkable, too distant from us, and this also resulting in a loss of money to the area.