RCDC Questions Whether Roscrea Is Treated Equally?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

THE QUESTION if Roscrea is treated equally to other towns in Tipperary was raised at the March public meeting of the Roscrea Community Development Council (RCDC).

RCDC Chairman, John Lupton, placed an item on the agenda for the meeting where the question of parity among towns was put to local representatives and the public of Roscrea, after many local people have questioned if Roscrea receives equal funding from the public purse.

'Roscrea historically has always been at a disadvantage compared to other towns of similar size because we never had an Urban District Council or Town Council, and now that all of that system is gone we feel that many towns who remain advantaged based on deals arranged under the old system,' the Chairman said.

'We want parity for all the towns - Roscrea is at the very far end of the county and is disadvantaged by that. We have nine Councillors in our Municipal District, but apart from Councillors Smith and Moran who attend our meetings regularly, it appears most of the rest just gravitate around the Thurles area,' Mr Lupton said.

PJ Wright, a member of the Assumption Park Residents Association, told the meeting that Roscrea gets less of a subsidy for the Leisure Centre and less money to fund the St Patrick's Day Parade - something that causes upset for Roscrea people, he said.

'The business people in Roscrea pay the same rates and the same costs for services and so they should be treated equally - and there should be seen to be equality,' Mr Lupton added.

'The retail infrastructure of the town has been decimated and Roscrea is particularly affected and many small shops are really struggling for viability. They are struggling with the current rates system and if they want to develop their business they have to pay expensive planning fees which they can't afford. I really feel the local authority needs to rethink their planning system for small towns,' the Chairman said.

Responding to the criticisms of the local authority, Cllr Michael Smith (FF) said he feels there are many misconceptions circulating among the public about Council funding.

'The Leisure Centre in Roscrea, since it opened, has received just short of half-a-million euro, which is a very significant figure. Templemore gets €1,200 for their St. Patrick's Day Parade; Thurles gets €1,400 and this year Roscrea received €1,000,' Cllr Smith told the meeting.

'A comparable town to Roscrea in Tipperary in size and population is Carrick-on-Suir and the Sean Kelly Centre there received no funding whatsoever to get started. Only last week the Council declared that facility will start receiving €15,000 a year, while Roscrea is currently getting €90,000,' he said.

'It would be very wrong for anyone to suggest that Roscrea, because of its location, is being left behind. There have been lots of roadworks, footpath and infrastructure works carried out in the town recently. One of the major problems I have always had is that the NRA control two major routes through the town,' Cllr Smith said.

The Roscrea based Councillor added that he feels the dissolving of the Town Councils was 'a layer of democracy that was destroyed overnight' and that he feels Roscrea is treated very equally, highlighting that many of the community organisations and residents associations in the town receive a higher level of funding than any other town in the Municipal District.

Tommy Murphy, Chairman of the Ashbury Residents Association, told the meeting that similar residents groups in South Tipperary are 'light years ahead of us in the North' in accessing funding.

'When the elections come around again people in Roscrea need to cop-on and vote geographically instead of politically - we need a TD in the town,' Mr Murphy said, adding that Cllr Smith had delivered on several projects for his area despite previous Ministers telling residents in the area that 'what we wanted was impossible.'

Cllr Eddie Moran, a member of the Lowry Team, told the meeting that he agrees Roscrea is treated somewhat unfairly. 'Templemore and Roscrea are the two smallest towns and get left behind. It can be very unfair,' Cllr Moran said.

Mike Edwards, Vice Chair of RCDC and representative of the Roscrea Men's Shed, told the meeting the reason community groups do better in the south of the county 'is because they can organise better concerted campaigns for funding.'

'They can get everyone involved and mount campaigns for funding with lots of people involved. We still struggle with that. Everyone in Roscrea should get behind one organisation like the Tidy Towns and groups should help each other, rather than compete,' Mr Edwards said.

Closing the discussion, RCDC Chairman asked if a breakdown of the figures relating to public funding for Roscrea compared to other towns could be made available.

'We need a clarity of what figures are spent on all the towns from Clonmel to Roscrea - it's the only way to clear up all the questions,' Mr Lupton said.

'We will get a full breakdown for RCDC so they can see if money is being spent in the town. I would also suggest that RCDC write to the Municipal District and request that a deputation from the town be allowed to visit one of our monthly meetings and put their feelings directly to all the Councillors for the area,' Cllr Smith said.


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