Action Needed on Town Centres

Gearóid at Market Place in Clonmel
Gearóid at Market Place in Clonmel

The politics of facilitating developers means that the state serves those who shout the loudest or who are best connected, instead of what is best for the public. It also leads to bad decisions about where to site housing or services with consequences clear from the recent floods.
On Saturday January 23rd, Tipperary Greens engaged in a canvass at Clonmel Farmers’ Market with election candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon. Businessman and founder of Longways Cider, James O’Donoghue said that the team found people were very receptive, raising issues which included support for small farmers and local food producers. After the canvass, local members took me on a tour of the town centre and Market Place Shopping Centre. This large retail development anchored around a Super Valu (formerly Superquinn) outlet, shut last week with the loss of over 40 jobs – another loss of jobs in the market place area, where previously many businesses employed in excess of 100 people.

High rates and parking charges, along with a lack of footfall are contributing to this town centre’s demise and the issues affecting Clonmel are similar to those in other parts of the county where the over-supply of edge of town shopping (which benefit from easy access and free parking), squeezes the lifeblood from the town centres.

Unless we want our town centres to become ghost towns, local authorities must rebalance the scales in favour of town centres and small locally owned businesses. This can be done by make rates fairer and reducing parking charges, which are in effect a penalty on centre of town business. Parking charges and high commercial rates helped address local authorities lack of income as a result of the scrapping of local rates as an election stunt in 1977. With property tax now funding local authorities, it is overdue time to review parking charges and the rates system.
“In the longer term” says Con Traas, local Green Chair, “Tipperary Greens are seeking to fundamentally change attitudes to development. The current model favours larger over smaller, and multinational over local business, and all the while too many politicians seem prepared to vote in favour of any development which might lead to a ribbon-cutting event that gets their pictures in the paper. Councils need to actively reverse this, as well as increasing the provision of quality housing in and close to our historic and beautiful town centres.”

The Greens are the only party in the country with a clear record on planning. We have consistently opposed the kind of bad planning which puts houses, shops and services in the wrong places and creates a car dependant culture. Good urban planning creates human scale towns, with housing near shops and services.
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TDs Pay and Expenses: 9 times the average Irish wage!

Calling it like it is will be a key part of our campaign.

Far too many of Irish politicians are focused on trying to convince people that they are actually doing something for them. Some are worse than others. Our PR STV system reflects very well the popular choice but leads to national elections which are fought over local issues instead of where the country should be going. The crash show us the consequences of this taking the eye off the ball.
While the financial crisis was going on, TDs and ministers were spending huge amounts of time and taxpayers money sending letters to people for issues that are not the business of national politicians.

We’ll be campaigning in Tipp to abolish constituency offices (vote getting machines for politicians), and investing in the Citizens Information Service instead. We should also cut TDs pay and the over generous pensions. If elected I will give 35 percent of my salary to the Tipperary Citizens Information Service.
Long term though, to get national elections fought on party policies, we’d need a partial list system like that advocated by David Farrell – The Irish Political System, Head of School of Politics and International Relations, UCD, at a 2012 event in Tipperary.

The last government was elected with huge mandate for political reform, but unfortunately did not deliver. The recommendations of the Constitutional Convention have been largely ignored, apart from the marriage referendum, and some late tweaking to Dáil procedures. The referendum to abolish the Seanad without any Plan B was not any kind of reform – and rightly rejected by the Irish people.

Codding people into thinking that you are doing them favours is not a proper political system. Read more on my proposals here.

Green Meet up Thurles, Sunday 2-3.30pm

creating a green voice in Tipperary

Tipperary Greens are holding a discussion/campaign organising meeting in Cabragh Wetlands environmental education centre near Thurles this Sunday 13th December 2-3.30pm.

The objective of the meeting is to have a discussion with the selected candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon on the campaign goals, so that it inspires those involved/potentially involved! Refreshments will be provided. For more information email tipperarygreen@gmail.com or call 085-7409023. You can follow our 2016 General Election Candidate on @Gearoid4Green All are Welcome.

Cabragh Wetlands is located on the Cabragh Road between Thurles & HolyCross – past the old sugar factory. More information on their website http://www.cabraghwetlands.ie

Taking the Plunge – Gearóid4Green

Having considered it for a while I’ve accepted the invitation from the Tipperary Greens to take part in the upcoming election. Con Trass, owner of TheApplefarm.com first announced this on Twitter on Friday 27th November following selection by the local party.

I want to say thank you to the local papers who carried the announcement this week.

Over the last few years, like everyone else, my own faith in politics has wavered between despair and cynicism. The upcoming general election is a national conversation. I think the Green Voice can be a useful part of that. I want to represent people on proven green policies that will boost the local economy.

For more about me click here.

People in Ireland used to look to Tipperary for leadership. Whatever the national movement, whether the Young Irelanders, the Fenians, the Land League, the GAA, Independence or the foundation of Muintir na Tíre, the people of Tipperary played their part. This proud tradition of political innovation and courage associated with the county  I would like to see revived.

Make Tipperary Ireland’s most energy independent county by 2030
Currently Tipperary gives away €100 million per year in imported energy and doesn’t have a strong local industrial base. Reducing Tipperary’s spend on imported energy by just 25% would create local jobs & investment worth over €25 million per year! We should also support community ownership of Solar, Wind & other renewables.
The green agenda can light a spark under the local economy. This requires investment in home insulation, energy efficiency and locally produced energy. To date Irish governments have demonstrated no ambition here. Denmark is already producing nearly 100% of its electricity needs from home – with a huge boost for local jobs.

I want to help put green policies back on the agenda in Tipperary. I want to inspire a new generation of green activists, men, women and others, with simple policies t0 make Tipperary a wealthier and happier place to live. Other policies I want to promote include:

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHOPS – stop penalising local businesses with high parking charges and rates.

UPDATING POLITICS
-Own your politician-the Tipperary Green Party will create a local recall mechanism, unique in Ireland
-TDs are overpaid. If elected, I will give up 35% of the €87,358 salary to the local Citizens Information Service and 5% to the party

IRISH WATER – hold referendum to prevent water privatisation, Promote conservation-charge for waste only

YOUNG PEOPLE-Afterschool places/Youth services to be mainstreamed for all young people. Reduce voting age to 16

We will be organising a meeting in the next few weeks to put the campaign together. Anyone with any ideas, skills or even just time, please get in touch on 085-7409023 after 6pm or email fitzgibbong@gmail.com

You can also connect here: Twitter @tippgreens OR Gearóids facebook & Tipperary Greens facebook page

To find out more about Gearóid you can see his LinkedIn profile