Thurles – a great place to live and work;
More needs to be done:
Every resident of Thurles, irrespective of political affiliation, shares a common objective – to raise the profile of Thurles as a quality place to live and work.
We are all agreed on the town’s assets:
- Central location,
- Rail network
- Access to motorway links
- Top class schools
- Affordable housing
- High grade public amenities – library, theatre, swimming pool
- Choice of community and social outlets – sports, drama, music,
Where are we falling short ?
The urban population has remained static. Inward investment has faltered. The demographic structure points to an ageing population with a steady decline in the younger generation. These trends are common to small and medium sized towns across Ireland. This decline is part of the economic and social dynamic of modern Ireland. To deal with it we need to identify weaknesses and deficits, address them, formulate a coherent community backed plan and set about implementing it. Blaming central Government for what is fundamentally a European wide phenomenon is futile, distracting and irrelevant.
Some practical steps:
A key transformation in the working environment going forward will be the increasing number of people working online from home. We need – urgently – to respond to this changed social and economic reality.
High speed broadband:
A key priority must be the provision of high speed broadband. Allied to this we need office space including space with desks to rent on a short-term rental basis in Thurles.
Working from home/ Hot Desks
Companies are increasingly looking to reduce infrastructural costs by relying on less fixed rental office space. Innovative successful companies will increasingly seek to encourage staff to work from home or from low cost hot desk environments. Promote and grow the existing facility in Lit and Thurles Chamber enterprise centre.
Incubation Hub/ Enterprise Ireland
The strategy would engage with LIT to develop an incubation hub for start-up companies modelled on similar hubs in Dublin’s Docklands. We would also seek the support and input of Enterprise Ireland to create the environment for companies to grow and flourish in Thurles. Helping local business to develop and grow ecommerce platforms.
New Urban Vision and Marketing Strategy:
If this is the way of the future Thurles should look to its assets – location, accessibility, affordable housing, quality schools etc – and integrate them into an urban vision and marketing strategy of Thurles as an attractive, low cost, alternative location to Dublin and Cork for innovative companies and their younger generation employees.
Enhanced train service
Commuters rely on the train. To underpin our appeal to younger generation high tech workers with young families we need more direct trains connecting Dublin and Thurles with reduced commute times
Thurles is a centre of education. It is home to 3rd level institutions including Mary’s Immaculate College and LIT which deliver a wide range of training courses and career options. Thurles attracts secondary level students throughout Munster and Leinster in response to its high-quality pedagogical reputation. Local schools have competed at all-Ireland level, including sports such as Hockey, Basketball and Hurling and have produced successful athletes competing at interprovincial and international level.
Youth Development and Culture
- Phoenix Productions musical society
- Thurles and Holycross Drama Society
- Children’s Youth Choir
- Local music bands recognised at national level
Enhanced rail access – and accessibility to Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports – would be a central plan in developing a local tourism programme focusing on hill walking, fishing, the hidden Ireland, farm stays, traditional music, authentic pubs and cooking. Close to ten million tourists visited Ireland last year. If a small percentage came our way it would be a huge boost economic boost. The town and surrounding area has a growing network of high quality low cost AirBnB accommodation.
Things we could do.
Enhance the profile of Thurles as an attractive place to visit. We might develop a walking tour of the town.
An audio tour would be provided via a website. Each site on the tour would have an audio description and story. The site works as a map of the route for the tour. The audio could be done by the Thurles Drama Group and might involve Transition Year students.
The Cathedral has a few unique features. The tabernacle was designed by a pupil of Michelangelo. The Rose window is similar to the Rose window in Notre Dame in Paris. St Patrick’s College has a beautiful library. In 1884, Hayes Hotel was the founding place of the GAA.The Battle of Thurles occurred in 1174 when Strongbow was defeated by the High King of Ireland. Other sites of interest are Holycross Abbey, Paddy Slattery’s museum, Cabra wetlands, the Cottage at Loughmore and walks in Upperchurch and Grange.
Develop a festival around the huge crowds that attend the Munster hurling championship games making the square a go to destination with music ceili and family friendly events encourage families to make a day of it, come to Thurles the birthplace of the Gaa.
The website can act as a community notice board promoting all local events and activities combining it with social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and twitter etc.
Ireland is a changed society in 2019 from that of even 15 years ago. Everyone face challenges at some stage in their lives.
Changes in family structures, social norms and technology impact our communities in many ways and our younger generation is perhaps impacted more than most. Peter’s idea is to implement the Lift program across schools and clubs in Tipperary.
What is LIFT (Leading Ireland’s Future Together)
LIFT aims to raise standards of leadership and behaviour in Irish society, from the school yard to the classroom and the clubhouse to the boardroom. It does this through a simple but profound 8-week programme of guided self-reflection that builds inner leadership and character.
Peter is a trained Lift provider and has been implementing it in schools throughout the county. The idea is to train Lift providers in the schools making the LIFT program self lead within the schools.