Saturday 11th Feburary 2006

Fethard Community shocked by councillors’ refusal to listen!
On Monday last, at the monthly County Council meeting, South Tipperary councillors decided, by the chairman’s casting vote, not to defer their decision on the controversial Rocklow Road / Strylea Proposed Housing Development and let the community present their case to councillors at a Council meeting. At a public meeting in Fethard on Monday night following the news of the decision, residents were amazed to hear that a party ‘whip’ had been enforced to pass the decision and that as a result Fethard community representatives were not given the opportunity to address the council members.

Fethard community have no objection to social housing in Fethard and would indeed welcome the social and affordable housing if they were integrated into the new housing developments on the Killenaule Road, Congress Terrace and Cloneen Road. The community have made local development wishes for Fethard clear in their submissions to the Fethard Area Plan. These plans appear to be ignored.

The committee and members of Fethard & Killusty Community Council feel very strongly about the imbalance between public and private housing development to date in Fethard.  Public housing schemes in Fethard (Woodvale Walk, Fr. Tirry Park, Canon Hayes Court, Slievenamon Close, Barrack Street and Kilnockin View) provide one hundred and eighty-one houses. In contrast private housing schemes consist of approx. forty-six houses completed (Strylea, Cedar Grove, Cois Falla, Abbey Close) and approx. thirty-three under construction (Killenaule and Cashel roads). By including the (proposed) additional houses this increases the public housing stock to over 200 units – a ratio of almost 3:1.  It is proposed by the Community Council that Fethard is being allocated a higher number of social housing units than many other towns in the County. Why?

The County Council have totally ignored the recent Feasibility Study undertaken in Fethard by Tipperary Institute that strongly recommends that:
“Proper housing and infrastructural development is crucial given the issues of poor quality of life and anti-social behaviour in some of the local authority estates. Any future housing development should not repeat the mistakes of clustering disadvantage and poor service provision reported in this research. Proper community participation in the planning and development of new housing and the development of adequate services pre-development is essential.”

The community have also expressed their concern that the location of the proposed 30 houses will compound Fethard’s traffic problem that already exists on the Rocklow Road, The Green and Main Street.

Books Wanted
If one of your new year’s resolutions was that you were going to, ‘sort out all them books,’ well now is the time!  The eleventh Tipperariana Bookfair is being held in Fethard Ballroom on Sunday next, 12th February, and all donations of books are gladly received.

The bookfair is organised by the Fethard Historical Society and is their main fundraising event of the year. The money raised is used mostly to produce historical booklets and brochures that can be read by locals and visitors alike. At present a colourful brochure of Fethard Medieval Town Trail is ready for printing and will be launched soon. Also the society is looking at ways of how it can involve young people. The recent study of Fethard youth showed they were very aware and interested in playing their part in promoting and preserving their historic town. The Historical Society would wish to encourage this in any way possible.

So if you have too many books or if you know some one else who does, well then tell them what to do. All and every type of book is welcome, what you may consider as ‘rubbish’ may be another persons favourite. The books can be left into the Ballroom on Saturday between 2pm and 6pm and also at any time after 10am on Sunday. The Fair itself is on between 2pm and 6pm and the entrance fee is only €2. The Bookers Café will be in full swing, piano music will fill the air, and with over 20,000 books to choose from, where else would you want to go on a cold February Sunday afternoon.

For further information please phone Dóirín at 052-31936, Terry at 052-23402, or any member of the society, and we will also arrange collection of any books (within Co. Tipperary anyway) if that is more convenient.

Fethard ICA Guild
Fethard ICA Guild will hold their February meeting on Tuesday 14th February at 8pm in the ICA Hall, Rocklow Road. Our guest speaker will be Nancy Moloney from Graignamanagh who will have a supply of ‘Aloe Vera’ products and will speak on their health value to us. Hostesses are the ‘Green Group’ and the competition theme is, ‘Signs of Spring’. Non-members are very welcome to come along and attend our meetings.

With the White Heathers
The improvement in scenting conditions, which usually coincides with the colder weather after Christmas, has not been evident this season. Most packs are having the same experience, perhaps due to the extraordinary mild weather prevailing, but all are, however, having the occasional good day. This occurred with the White Heather Harriers from their Ballingarry meet on Sunday 29th January.

Finding at Corcoran’s Glen at Foyle, hounds hunted through Jessfield to the Ballintaggert road. Turning right-handed there, the fox took them to the Ballingarry Callan road. Swinging right-handed here they ran back towards Ballingarry to the graveyard, again turning right, their pilot took them over the hill to the road at Jessfield, which they crossed and ran on strongly to Fitzgerald’s covert at Foyle. Hounds hunted strongly through the covert pushing their fox out where he re-crossed the road to Corcoran’s where they first found. They lost this good fox on the avenue near the farmhouse. This was a great run of 70 minutes with a two mile point both ways and probably twice as far as hounds ran. The great day concluded with some nice hunting around the historic War House area.

The Ballylusky White Heather Harriers will meet on Sunday next 12th February in Cloneen (for Ballinard) at 11am.

Credit Union Regional Primary Schools Quiz!
Fethard Ballroom buzzed last weekend with twenty-three tables of four for the Fethard & District Credit Union’s annual Primary Schools Quiz. Fethard’s St. Patrick’s Boys’ National School were the victors in the ‘A’ competition. Well done to Brian Healy, Tommy Anglim, Charlie Manton and Niall Doocey.

The honours to ‘B’ competition go to Cloneen National School. Congratulations to Colin Meagher, Simon Standbridge, James O’Rahilly and Joshua O’Sullivan. Both teams will now progress to chapter level in March. As well as trophies for the winners, there were lots of prizes presented by Marian Gilpin, president of the local Credit Union.

Many thanks to Emma Fleming, Jean Anglim and Becky Fogarty from the Secondary School who helped on the day; Ann Fleming, Jacinta O’Connell and Helena Delany who corrected; and to the teachers who attended.

Ladies Football Club AGM
Fethard Ladies Football Club annual general meeting will take place this coming Friday night, 10th February in the Fr. Tirry Community Centre, Fethard at 8pm. All those involved are asked to please make a special effort to attend. New faces are also very welcome. Further enquiries to Joe Keane at Tel: 052 31719.

Fethard Coursing Club
Fethard Coursing Club will meet in the Car Park on Sunday 12th February at 11am.  All members are requested to attend.  We hope to run the final of all Stakes on this day. All are welcome.

Fethard GAA Club News
On this Sunday 12th February we play J K Brackens in the first round of the County Senior Football League in Fethard at 12 o’clock. Well done to Paul Fitzgerald, Cian Maher and Aiden Fitzgerald on last Sunday’s appearance in Sligo with the Tipp Senior Footballers who got of to a winning start in the league. May it continue on this Saturday 11th February in Thurles where they take on Westmeath.

The adjourned AGM of the senior club was held on Wednesday 1st February in the Abymill Theatre with a big attendance and a lively meeting. The team selections for the coming year were on the agenda:

Minor Football: Tommy Sheehan (manager); Co-selectors: Willie Quigley, Ken O’Donnell, John P Looby and A.N. Other.

Minor Hurling: Martin O’Connor (manager); Co-selectors: Liam Hayes and Jim McGrath.

Under 21 Football: Gerry Aherne (manager); Co-selectors: Stephen O’Donnell, John Hurley.

Under 21 Hurling: Stephen McCormack (manager) with two selectors to be appointed.

Intermediate Hurling / Junior B: Denis Byrne (manager) with two selectors to be appointed, Junior B Football (manager), Michael O’Riordan with two selectors to be appointed.

Senior /Junior A Football: decided by 2 to 1, a committee to be appointed by the club. Officers are to recommend candidates for manager for 2006.

Our sympathy at this time is with the Henehan family, Main St, on the death of Sean. Go ndeana Dia trocaire orthu.

Fethard Juvenile GAA Club!
The Juvenile GAA Club is back in full swing and last year ended with a very enjoyable party last Saturday night. The under/12 South hurling medals were presented followed by a disco which all seemed to enjoy. A sincere ‘thank you’ goes to the South Board chairman, Dick Egan, who made the time to attend and present the medals. The highlight of the night goes to John and Rosanne Carroll, Lonergans Bar and Oriental Gardens, who sponsored a beautiful set of tops to the boys. They were most appreciated. It’s great when businesses of the town are willing to step up and support the juveniles for without such support we would not be able to function.  A sincere ‘thank you’ John and Rosanne! 

The under/16s are back in action and training has already got under way. Our juvenile AGM will take place on Monday 13th February and we would like to see more parents get involved. Any parent who would like any information during the year can contact the club secretary on 086 1713502.

Fethard Bridge Club
On Wednesday 1st February Fethard Bridge Club played the first round of the Club Championship and the results were:
1st Gross: Gemma Burke and Carol Kenny;
2nd Gross: Anna Cooke and Bernie O’Meara;
1st Nett: Nora Ahearne and Olive Looby;
2nd Nett: Rita Holohan and Mary Delaney.

On Wednesday next, 15th February we play the third round of the Club Championship. Anyone looking for a partner please contact Annie O’Brien at Tel: 052 31862.

Country Music Fans
Legendary guitarist Philip Donnelly pays a return visit to Butlers Bar on this Thursday night, 9th February, with his unique style of country rock music. If you haven’t heard him, come along down to Butler’s, admission is free.

IFA Honour Denis McGrath!
Denis and Kay McGrath were the guests of honour at a special meeting of Fethard Branch of the IFA on Tuesday 31st January. A presentation was made to Denis in appreciation of his 40 years as branch secretary of Fethard NFA / IFA. A period of officership of that length is unique in IFA. He first became secretary in January 1966. Previously he was secretary of Fethard Macra Na Feirme. Denis and Kay were joined by family, present and former officers and many members of the branch to celebrate the occasion in the ICA Hall.

Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto
The numbers drawn on Wednesday 1st February were: 3, 6, 22 and 25. There was no Jackpot winner and
no ‘Match 3’ winners. Three tickets were drawn and the following received €50 each:
Kathleen O'Riordan, Cloneen, Fethard;

Julie Wall, Barrettstown, Fethard;

Greta O'Donovan, Burke Street, Fethard.

The three €50 Lucky Dip winners were:
Bridget O'Brien, Cloneen, Fethard;

Sarah Mullins, St. Patricks Place, Fethard;

Adrian Allen, St. Patricks Place, Fethard.

Next weeks Jackpot remains at €10,000 and the Jackpot sellers prize is €1,000.

Nationalist Features
Grateful parents raise €35,000 for childrens’ charity
A Fethard tiny tot's two-year battle with serious illness has prompted her parents to embark
on a major fundraising drive for a charity which provides relief to families coping with major diseases.

Keri Brett, daughter of Clodagh and Brendan Brett from Kilnockin in Fethard, has had cerebral palsy and brain
damage since she was born over two years ago and doctors still don't know if she will ever
walk or talk.

However, great progress has been made by the brave two-year-old since an extremely difficult first nine months of her life - when her symptoms caused her to cry
hysterically for up to 20 hours per day.

Her parents have put her improvement down to the work of paediatrician Dr Eddie McGrath
and his team at South Tipperary General Hospital, but say that the Jack and Jill Foundation have also provided invaluable help
from an early stage.

So much so that Clodagh has organised a major fundraising ball which took place last
Saturday night, 11th February, at Hotel Minella in Clonmel and, with over 500 tickets sold out, up to €35,000 is set
to be made for the charity.

“The Jack and Jill Foundation have been very good to us and I just wanted to do something in
return to help”, explained Clodagh Brett this week to The Nationalist. “They give great
support to families who have kids with special needs and severe problems and kids who might
not be going to live. We can get somebody to come in and mind our little girl for a while and
they pay for it. Even just to be able to pick up the phone to them at any stage, it's a great
support network.”

According to Clodagh, Keri was so ill after she was born that doctors feared for her future. “She was so bad, she wasn't supposed to live. But she
fought and lived. But for the first seven or eight months of her life, she'd scream for 16 to
20 hours every day.”

Having heard about the brave baby's condition, representatives from the Jack and Jill
Foundation made contact with the Bretts and offered to help out, and since then they've
provided huge levels of assistance.

Meanwhile, Keri’s treatment and her courageous battle with her condition have led to a
significant improvement, although she has a long way to go yet. “There's no guarantee as to
whether she'll ever walk or talk. She can eat blended foods now but we're still trying to teach
her how to eat and swallow properly. We're still having problems with her taking bottles and she'd
never be able to reach out and pick up anything, she hasn't the use of her limbs.”

Clodagh came up with the idea for a fundraiser for the Jack and Jill Foundation before
Christmas and decided to hold a Valentine's Ball in Hotel Minella. Tireless work selling
tickets has led to it becoming a complete sell-out, with huge crowds expected on Saturday night for the event.

“The bulk of them would have been sold in Fethard but also some in Clonmel and there's even
a few from Cork who are coming”, she adds. “People have been very good, some are even
buying tickets and then reselling them to raise more money. I think people realise how lucky
they are to have healthy kids themselves.”

Fethard's houses go-ahead on chairman's casting vote
A controversial housing development in Fethard is to go ahead following a County Council
decision that was made on the chairman's casting vote.

Cllr Derry Foley, Chairman of South Tipperary County Council, had to make his casting vote
and let the development go ahead when a vote of all councillors ended in deadlock on Monday,
with 11 in favour and 11 against.

Councillors described the development of 20 houses and eight serviced sites, at Strylea, as a
"thorny issue". Cllr Michael O'Brien said the lane where it is proposed to build these homes has a lot of
antisocial behaviour. He said the Council was inundated with people looking for houses in Fethard and there are
currently 67 applications for the town. He was in favour of the development but asked for the
Council's decision to be postponed to give local people time to meet with the Council.

County Manager, Ned O'Connor, explained to the meeting that councillors could only change the plan in line with planning regulations. A decision had been
deferred before and time was running out to make a decision. Mr. O'Connor said it would be inappropriate to bring a group of residents before the full
Council meeting.

He said there are currently more than 60 people on the housing list for Fethard. By the time
these houses are finished, in two years, there could be over 100 on that list. The Council
have no other land in Fethard.

Mr. O'Connor told councillors that it would be a serious dereliction of duty not to provide
housing in Fethard. Councillors were divided on whether the plan should be approved or deferred for another

“We know these houses are going to be built anyway. I see no benefit in playing games with
something that is a fait accompli," said Cllr Tom Ambrose. Cllr Pat English disagreed, saying the people of Fethard deserved a chance to come in before
the Council before a decision is made. Cllr Michael Fitzgerald said he would not be voting against the houses but believed the people
were entitled to a hearing. It is not a 'fait accompli', he said.

Cllr Joe Donovan asked if they did meet with residents would it just be “political
gamesmanship”, because no one was going to vote against the houses.

Cllr Ambrose said it was “nauseating” and he never thought he would see the day when parties
would put off building houses. “There have been five or six meetings with these people, we
know that nothing is going to change. Let's do the job we were elected to do,” he said.

Mr. O'Connor agreed there had been “more than adequate” consultation. A vote of all councillors present was taken but when that resulted in 11 in favour of a
deferral and 11 in favour of approving the development it was the casting vote of Chairman
Derry Foley, who had already voted in favour of the development going ahead, that concluded
the matter.



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