Fethard's 'Chainsaw Massacre' Protest
Large group who came along at short notice to support the 'Fethard Chainsaw Massacre' protest in Fethard, Co. Tipperary, to object to the County Council's massacre of trees in the town.
County Council accused of ‘Chainsaw Madness’ after tree felling vandalism in Fethard last week; all footpath trees destroyed; no prior consultation with residents; actions totally unjustified and avoidable, say residents. Full restoration of all trees demanded and undertakings for proper consultation in future.
Residents of Fethard are struggling to come to terms with the loss of at least twenty young and healthy broad leaf trees that the Council have, without warning or prior consultation cut down last week. Incredulous passers-by and street residents watched in horror as these fine specimens, no more than twenty-year-old, were felled to the ground.
In response to a call from Fethard Historical Society, an official from the Council offered the following justification for the Council’s actions. He said that the Council have been advised by their insurers (Irish Public Bodies) to remove trees which may constitute a trip hazard by pushing up concrete paving. He went on to say that the Council acted quickly because a sum of money became available to carry out the work which had to be spent without delay. He regretted that there had not been consultation and ‘empathised’ with the upset of residents. He disagreed that actions to accommodate the disturbance of the pavement could have been taken to avoid felling.
Tying a 'Yellow Ribbon' on the stump of one of the trees that was cut down on Main Street, Fethard are L to R: Theresia Guschlbauer, Alan Moore and Richard Auler.
Concerned local organisations and individuals have inspected and photographed the remains of the trees stumps and reported that no significant disruption of the pavement had occurred with the majority of the trees destroyed, and that in the three or four cases where some minor uplifting has taken place, they are adamant that remedial action could and should have been carried out as the proper alternative to felling. They point out that there are several simple engineered solutions to tree root or trunk encroachment issues such as recessed grids or flexible bituminous surfacing. Locals would also like to know what expert assessment was carried out to consider such alternatives prior to felling.
They point to best practice in other jurisdictions for example in South County Dublin where the Tree Management Policy states: “Where trees are considered to be causing damage to paths or footpaths, the Council will not normally consider tree removal except where there is a risk to public health which cannot otherwise be mitigated. Removal of the tree will usually be the last resort.”
Willie O'Meara, one of the hundreds happy to sign the 'Fethard Chainsaw Massacre' protest petition. The petition is also available at CENTRA Supermarket to sign if you were unable to attend the protest.
In the days following the felling, the feelings of Fethard residents have been running high as more people discovered the loss of their trees. A protest gathering was organised in response which took place in Fethard on Sunday, January 27. A crowd of approx 200 people turned up on Main Street to sign a petition where they were addressed by spokesperson Alan Moore and Mary Hanrahan (Fethard Historical Society).
Alan Moore reported that local people are dismayed by the Council’s actions and don’t buy the ‘trip hazard’ argument. He said he’d been advised that alternative measures should have been pursued if there was any issue with pavement lifting, and that simple pruning or pollarding would be the standard treatment for trees which grow near wires or buildings. He wondered what kind of society are we living in if the legal profession and the insurance industry are calling the shots to the detriment of our environment. He also pointed out that the Council’s actions fly in the face of the Fethard Public Realm Plan commissioned and adopted by the Council in 2007 which stresses the value and importance of trees in the town.
Alan Moore addressing the crowd
Mary Hanrahan also deplored the Council’s actions and reminded the audience of the efforts of local people over many years to make Fethard a more attractive place to live, and how quickly this has been damaged, and how we need more trees at this time of rapidly changing climate.
Imelda Goldsboro acknowledged public distress over this matter and told the audience that she had contacted the Senior Engineer in the Council responsible who gave an undertaking that all the trees would be replaced and with species chosen by local representatives.
Theresia Guschlbauer reminded the audience that similar destruction has taken place over recent days in the Dunnes Oakville car park where twelve mature and semi mature trees were felled because they were ‘diseased or dangerous’ according to the landowners. Theresia outlined the value of trees in terms of their beauty, their contribution to biodiversity and in mitigating climate change. She talked of how pruning, pollarding and disease treatment would all be carried out in other countries rather than felling if there were problem issues identified. She reported that there is huge dissatisfaction with Dunne’s Stores decision and many customers have vowed to boycott the store as a result.
Billy McLellan, formerly from Fethard, returned to his native town to support the tree-felling protest last Sunday, where he also met his former neighbour, Goldie Newport.
The Council’s actions raise profound and serious questions not just for Fethard residents but at a national level in terms of public consultation, valuing natural heritage and bowing to the crude diktats of the insurance industry, who appear to offer reduced premiums to Councils if trees or other ‘hazards’ are removed. Their actions also raise questions about the level of expertise and staff training in choosing such a drastic option rather than exploring recognised alternatives to felling.
Meanwhile, a visit to the homepage of the Tipperary Council website reveals a lofty mission statement, which appears to have been completely ignored in this case. Aims such as: “To protect and enhance the unique identity of built, historic and natural environment of Tipperary for future generations”, appear rather meaningless after the tree felling in Fethard.
Councillors Mark Fitzgerald, David Dunne and Imelda Goldsboro photographed at the protest.
Fethard has a strong community ethos, and its residents take pride in their involvement in the town’s growing reputation as a place to visit and to live in. Recent successes include the Horse Country Experience developed in partnership with local businesses as a signature tourist destination and the opening of a new award winning restaurant, Dooks.
Local people have hitherto enjoyed a constructive relationship with the Council and are happy with recent Council led initiatives such as the new East Gate Park currently under construction which will show off more of the historic town, and the ongoing work to resurface the approach roads to the town. They therefore cannot understand the tree felling as it is so out of keeping with their experience, and are now calling for an urgent meeting with the relevant Council officials to address the serious issues raised.
Photographed at the 'Fethard Chainsaw Massacre' protest are L to R: David Teevan, Pat Looby, Alan Moore, Philip O'Donnell, Theresia Guschlbauer, Richard Auler, Lucy Moore and Cllr. Mark Fitzgerald.
Extract from South County Dublin Tree Management Policy 2015-2020:
It is often possible to repair paths to take account of adjacent trees and tree roots. Where roots protrude, they can be root pruned, or the path can be re-laid around the tree with flexible material such as asphalt to provide a smooth surface or using reinforced concrete or other engineering solutions. Where trees are considered to be causing damage to paths or footpaths, the Council will not normally consider tree removal except where there is a risk to public health which cannot otherwise be mitigated. Removal of the tree will usually be the last resort, accepting that in some circumstances where the tree is of low value or easily replaced removal may be the most appropriate solution. The Council will seek to explore engineering options through internal consultation between the Public Realm and Roads Maintenance sections to reduce trip hazards before root pruning or tree removal. The Council will develop a protocol for resolving issues where tree roots are in conflict with public areas under hard surfacing.
Social dancing at Fethard Ballroom
Fethard Ballroom continues its New Year social dancing on Sunday, Febuary 3, to the music of ‘Just 2’. All are welcome to come along and enjoy a great night’s entertainment and social dancing from 9pm to midnight. Admission is €9, which includes tea and cakes.
Senior Citizen’s Meeting Cancelled
Please Note that the Fethard Senior Citizens’ Club's meeting planned for Tuesday, February 5, in the Tirry Community Centre has been cancelled due to inclement weather conditions forecast for next week.
‘Daughter’s of Dún Iascaigh’ wins Tipperariana Book of the Year award
Photographed at the presentation of the Tipperariana Book of the Year Award for 2018 to members of Cahir Women's History Group whose book, 'Daughters of Dún Iascaigh',won the Tipperariana Book of the Year Award for 2018, organised by Fethard Historical Society. L to R: Dóirín Saurus (Fethard Historical Society), Karol De Falko, Breeda Ryan, Josephine O'Neill, Mary O'Donnell and Mary Hanrahan (Chairperson Fethard Historical Society).
The organisers of the 24th annual Fethard Book Fair – taking place on Sunday February 10 – have chosen ‘Daughter’s of Dún Iascaigh’ as their ‘Tipperariana Book of the Year, 2018’. The award was presented to the Cahir Women’s History Group in the ‘O’Connell Memorial Hall’ in Fethard, better known as the ICA Hall, at a ceremony on Friday night last, January 25.
The four editors of the book, Josephine O’Neill, Karol DeFalco, Mary Caulfield and Breeda Ryan were present to receive the award, along with many other fellow book contributors and family members and friends who were acknowledged for their great achievement. ‘Daughters of Dún Iascaigh’ is a beautifully produced book, which in its 300 pages recounts the history of the women of Cahir from the very earliest times.
Guest speaker Alice Maher, contemporary Irish artist, whose work is featured on the cover of the winning book 'Daughters of Dún Iascaigh'.
Present on the night also was renowned artist Alice Maher, another daughter of Cahir whose artwork adorns the cover of the book. At the reception, Alice read ‘Women of Cahir’, a very evocative poem from the book. The poem is in effect a distillation of the many stories of the women mentioned in the book.
A Special Book
Mary Hanrahan, chairperson of the Fethard Historical Society (organisers of the Tipperariana Book Fair), welcomed everyone to the ICA Hall which was a very appropriate venue given the subject matter of the 2018 winning book. Indeed, as mentioned in Daughters of Dún Iascaigh’, when the ICA was formed in Cahir in 1944, Fethard ICA ladies went to Cahir to advise and support the setting up of their new guild.
Mick Nugent, Newcastle, photographed with his two daughters, Michele (left) and Mary, at the presentation of the Tipperariana Book of the Year Award.
Tipperariana Book of the Year Award
Terry Cunningham, of the Historical Society, gave a short outline of the origins and name of the ‘Tipperariana Book Fair’ and how the tradition of inviting authors of ‘Tipperary’ books to come to the fair led on to the idea of a ‘Book of the Year’, which is now an accolade much appreciated by the authors of the winning books.
Mary Hanrahan then reviewed ‘Daughters of Dún Iascaigh’, commending the editors for the skilful combination of diverse voices telling the hitherto hidden stories of the women of Cahir. The tales told range across the centuries from that of Badamair in the Book of Leacan right down to the 1950s. These stories have resonance, not only for the people of Cahir, but also nationally and internationally. Mary also praised the use of factual narrative to relate often highly emotional content while eschewing unwarranted sentimentality. The four editors of the winning Cahir book then each received a specially commissioned ‘ceramic piece’ by local artist Dóirín Saurus.
Photographed at the presentation of the Tipperariana Book of the Year Award for 2018 are L to R: Annette Condon, Billy O'Neill, Ann Coffey, Mary Byron, Seamus Byron, Marie O'Connor and Nathaniel Bourke.
Josephine O’Neill spoke on behalf of the Cahir Women’s History Group and said how happy they are with the enthusiastic reception that the book has received and how it has sold out completely. However, a new print run will arrive in time for the Fethard Book Fair on Sunday, February 10, when the ‘Daughters of Dún Iascaigh’ will take pride of place at the 24th Tipperariana Book Fair.
Music, Song, Tea and Cake
The evening was made complete by a very focused and beautiful performance by singers and musicians; Seamus Hayes, his wife Mary Nugent and her sister Michele Nugent. Then it was time for tea, cake, wine and apple juice. It is a sign of the times that the organisers reported that empty apple-juice bottles outnumbered empty wine bottles at the end of the night. Minister Shane Ross will be very happy indeed.
Photographed at the presentation of the Tipperariana Book of the Year Award for 2018 are L to R: Liam Roche, Sean Sampson, Mary Healy and Eamonn Clohessy.
The closing date for entries in the Art and Handwriting competition at area level is Friday, February 15. Age groups in Art for boys and girls are U8, U10, U12, U14, and U16. Handwriting ages for boys and girls are U10 and U12. Entry Fee is €3. Entries will be collected at Holy Trinity National School, Fethard and Killusty School on Friday, March 15. Alternatively, entries may also be given to Noreen Sheehy on or before that date.
The county final will take place in the Presentation Convent, Thurles, on Saturday, March 9. Best of Luck to everybody.
Fethard Bridge Club results
On Wednesday, January 15, we played for prizes sponsored by Monica Anglim and Betty Walsh and the results were: 1st Gross, Carmel Condon and Brendan Kenny (winners of sponsored prize); 2nd Gross, Rita Kane and Kay St. John; 3rd Gross, Berney Myles and Alice Quinn; 1st Nett, Tony Hanrahan and Keith Woodlock; 2nd Nett, Rita Holohan and Ellen Rochford; 3rd Nett, Judy Doyle and Joan Hayes.
Next Wednesday, February 6, we play the third round of the Player of the Year competition. Bridge starts at 7.15pm. Anyone looking for a partner contact Gemma Burke 086-6064148.
Patrician Presentation Secondary School news
Style in motion, Michael O'Meara, Junior Captain at Slievenamon Golf Club, tees off to get the 2019 season under way.
Well done also to 3rd Year pupil, Michael O’Meara who has been appointed the Junior Golf Captain at Slievenamon Golf Club. Michael is a real gentleman and was awarded the Timmy O’Connor ‘Spirit of the School’ Award at the 2018 Awards’ Ceremony, for the pupil who most embodies the spirit of the school. We wish Michael all the best in his new role.
On Thursday last, January 24, the Transition Year and Fifth Year classes with their teachers, Mr Walsh and Mr Glendon, participated in the Maths and Numeracy Trail in Castlecomer Discovery Park, Co. Kilkenny. Mr Walsh plans to organise a Maths Trail in Fethard in the near future.
Munster Post-Primary Schools Inter Provincial Team
Congratulations to 5th Year Pupil, Lucy Spillane, who was chosen for the Munster Ladies Post-Primary Football Team which went on to beat Ulster in the final on Saturday last in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath. Lucy is a great sportsperson and gives of her best at school and on her various teams. She is the eldest daughter of Micheál and Sandra Spillane, Tullamaine, and is a great role model for all our pupils.
Sincere sympathy to Ms Catriona McKeogh and the McKeogh Family on the recent death of their mother, Mrs Pauline McKeogh RIP.
Catholic Schools’ Week
Catholic Schools’ Week will be celebrated as usual in the school. It runs from Sunday, January 27, to Saturday, February 2, and the theme this year is ‘Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.’ The classes will discuss the following topics during the week in their religion classes: Living Tradition, Welcoming Diversity, Inter-Generational Education, Serving Communities and Supporting Faith.
School Sports’ Awards
The Sports Awards for December and January were presented at assembly during the week by Mr Billy Walsh and PE teacher, Ms Yvonne Murphy. The December ‘Volleyball Award’ was presented to TY Pupil, Alison Connolly for her skill and competitive spirit in recent matches. Sophia O’Brien, 2nd Year received the January Award for her superb leadership in Cadette Volleyball matches. The Boys’ December Award went to Michael O’Meara for his skill on the football pitch and for his recent appointment as the Junior Captain of Slievenamon Golf Club. Finally, the January Awards went to Darragh Hurley, 5th Year for being a real leader on the football pitch and to Tyler McCormack, 3rd Year for his hard work as substitute goal keeper in a recent Munster competition.
Mr O’Connor and the 1st and TY Enterprise teams are busily getting ready for the March Finals in LIT, Thurles in March. Thanks to the teams’ mentor and Student Enterprise Co-ordinator, Ms Sue-Anne O’Donnell who visited the school on Friday last to guide the teams in drawing up their Enterprise Reports.
The death has occurred on Sunday, January 27, 2019, of Mary Hunt, Willow Park, Clonmel, and formerly of Knockinglass, Fethard, peacefully in the loving care of the staff in Melview Nursing Home surrounded by her loving family. Mary, predeceased by her husband Jimmy and her brother Jimmy Phelan. Sadly missed by her daughters Bernie (Frith), Frances (Joyce) and Maura (Tynan), sons Seamus, Tony and P.J., daughters-in-law Bridget, Catherine and Michelle, sons-in-law David, Noel and Dave, grandchildren Caitriona, Samantha, Ciara, Nicola, Amy and Luke, brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and friends. May Mary Rest in Peace.
Reposing at O’Donoghue’s Funeral Home, Kickham Street, Clonmel on Wednesday evening, January 30, from 5pm to 7pm. Funeral arriving at St. Joseph the Worker Church, Moyglass, on Thursday, January 31, for Requiem Mass at 11.30am with burial immediately afterwards in the adjoining cemetery. Family flowers only please, donations, if desired, to Day Care Centre, Irishtown, Clonmel.
Interested in cycling?
Slievenamon Cycling Club’s ‘Sunday Spin’ will leave from the Ballroom car park opposite to Dooks Café this Sunday, February 3, at 9am. The spin will be approximately 60 to 70km. New members are most welcome. Slievenamon Cycling Club promotes cycling at all levels with members from Clonmel, Kilsheelan, Fethard, Clerihan, Carrick-on-Suir, Rathgormack, Killenaule and Ballingarry. See club’s Facebook page for more information.
Mollie's birthday 'Coffee Morning' for charity
Mollie Standbridge will celebrate her 60th birthday somewhat different this year as she is hosting a special birthday 'Coffee Morning' in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. Mollie is a volunteer at Fethard Horse Country Experience based in Fethard's Town Hall and will use the same venue on Thursday morning, February 7, from 9.30am to 12.30pm, for her special birthday 'Coffee Morning'.
All are invited to come along and support this novel fundraising event in aid of the very deserving Irish Cancer Society. We also take this opportunity to wish Mollie a very happy '60th Birthday'.
Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto
The numbers drawn on January 23, were: 1, 6, 20 and 29. There was no jackpot winner and three ‘Match Three’ winners who received €50 each: Majella Daly, Strylea, Fethard; T. Delahunty, c/o Tom Purcell; and Margaret Walshe, Barrack Street, Fethard.
The following three ‘Lucky Dip’ winners also received €50 each: Ger McCarthy, Kerry Street, Fethard; Helen Crotty, Killusty, Fethard; and Paddy Tobin, The Commons, Thurles.
Next week’s draw takes place on Wednesday, January 30. The Jackpot is €10,000 and the Jackpot seller’s prize is €1,000. All proceeds go towards community projects in Fethard, and we thank you for your on-going support.
GAA Sports Development Lotto
The numbers drawn on Friday, January 25, were: 9, 10, 14 and 19. There was no jackpot winner and three ‘match three’ winners who received €50 each: Anna Cooke, St Patrick’s Place, Fethard; Margaret Lonergan, Clerihan; and Spud Culligan, Main Street, Fethard.
The next draw takes place on Friday, February 1, in Burke’s Bar at 7.30pm, when the jackpot is €20,000 and the seller's prize is €1,000.
The committee of Fethard GAA/Sports Centre Development Lotto would like to thank all our supporters near and far who participate in our weekly lotto draw. The funds raised are used to promote sport in the local community.
Volunteers needed at Fethard Day Care Centre
The Fethard & District Day Care Centre are looking for volunteers to collect and deliver Meals on Wheels in the Fethard area. If you have an hour to spare once a month, please contact Ger at the Day Care Centre on Tel: (052) 6132917 or for more information.
We are also holding a Senior Day at the centre on Friday, January 25, from 10am. The chiropodist will be in attendance and all seniors welcome to attend.
Fethard Players back with ‘The Real McCoy’
Some seats are still available for Fethard Players production of the hilarious comedy,‘It’s The Real McCoy’, which continues nightly up to Saturday, Saturday 2, in the Abymill Theatre at 8.15pm. Admissions is €15 and booking at Fethard Horse Country Experience or by Tel: 085 2338513.
Tipperariana Book Fair on Sunday, February 10
The 24th Annual Tipperariana Book Fair will take place as usual on the second Sunday in February – Sunday, February 10, 2019, in the Fethard Ballroom starting at 2pm. The Fethard Historical Society- organisers of the fair - are planning to ensure that this year’s Book Fair is another successful event for the society and the town.
It is noteworthy that the town of Fethard - known for its town wall, horses, football and carnival, is now also associated with books through its connection for the past twenty-four years running the annual Tipperariana Book Fair.
What started out then as an idea to generate income for the recently formed Historical Society, soon became somewhat of an ‘institution’ for people from all over County Tipperary who have an interest in books and local history.
Julia McHugh having a read at last year’s Tipperariana Book Fair in Fethard Ballroom
If no problem, don’t fix it
The fair has not changed at all in its twenty-four years as it seems to work successfully under its present format. The idea is quite simple; over thirty antiquarian and second-hand book dealers from all over Ireland set up stall for the day and the Historical Society also have their own stall, which is stocked with books donated by supporters of the Book Fair. There is also an in-house café operating during the fair and a piano player wafts the punters from his perch on the stage. It all just seems to work and every year hundreds of people from all over the county and beyond come to Fethard for the day.
Tipperary Authors and Books
From year one also it has been the tradition to invite authors of Tipperary books published in the preceding year to come to the Fair to promote, sell and sign their books. This has since proved to be an attractive feature of the day. This practice then led on to the idea of holding a Tipperariana Book of the Year Award, which is now an established part of the Tipperary book scene and the 2018 winner will be announced by the fair organisers before the end of January.
Ways to support the Book Fair
Anyone wishing to support the Book Fair and in turn to help the work of the Historical Society can help in several ways. Firstly, books can be donated to the society for sale on the day and these will be collected from your home if you so wish. There is also help needed on the days leading up to the fair, sorting and classifying books and manning the society stall at the book fair.
Of course, another great way to help is to use your social media platform to spread the word about the fair, as our usual large ‘mailing list’ had to be curtailed this year due to the high cost of postage.
For further information contact can be made by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 087 9305232, or 087 9009722. Information is also available at: www.tipperariana.com
Fethard Faces and Places from the Past
The following are a selection of photographs recently added to the Fethard Faces and Places from the Past page on Facebook, also published here
for the benefit of our readers who are not on Facebook. The Facebook page is used for sharing old Fethard photographs with other members of the group and is open to all interested in joining. Send any comments or photo information to email@example.com
These are a selection of photographs taken in 1982 . . .
Girls taking part in a Moyglass Road Race in 1982
Boys taking part in a Moyglass Road Race in 1982
Bro Ultan’s retirement day from St. Patrick’s Boys School 1982
St. Patrick’s Boys School pupils photographed at the retirement of Bro Ultan in 1982
Jack O’Shea’s Bar team that took part in the Fethard Festival Relay Race 1982
Winning team that took part in the Fethard Festival Relay Race 1982
Teacher and coach, Anna Judge, photographed with Fethard Secondary School volleyball team in 1982
Fethard Pioneer Association members photographed in 1982
Jimmy Ryan, Watergate, helping with the demolition of the old creamery in Fethard in 1982.
Items for inclusion on this website and on the weekly Fethard News page on The Nationalist can be emailed before noon on Mondays to firstname.lastname@example.org or delivered by hand to Joe Kenny, Rocklow Road, Fethard.
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