Cllr Seamus Morris critical of Tipperary council's submissions on National Planning Framework

Tipperary Star reporter

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Nenagh's Cllr Seamus Morris has made his own submission to the National Planning Framework, Towards 2040 plan.

The Sinn Fein councillor told the Tipperary Star he had done so because he felt the submission by Tipperary County Council was “weak”.

“I wouldn't have to make this submission if I thought the Tipperary one was strong enough,” he said.

And Cllr Morris said he had asked for the Mid West regional submission before he made his own, “but didn't get it”.

He has now asked the council to supply him with any submission made by other bodies, including other councillors.

In his submission on behalf of Nenagh Sinn Fein, Cllr Morris wants the framework to include the development of Foynes as a major port as it could be one of the regional assets used to drive growth as it could unlock huge economic benefits.

“The Shannon Estuary is one of the most valuable natural resources for Ireland. It has a depth in excess of 18 metres, making it Ireland's premier deep water resource, capable of handling vessels of up to 200,000 deadweight tonnes and is connected to all major international shipping lanes,” he stated.

Cllr Morris also wants central government to halt plans to extract 300 million litres from Parteen basin and pump it to the Greater Dublin Region.

“It will only reinforce the unbalanced regional development of the country. It also has the potential to destroy forever, huge amounts of agricultural lands and effect the economic development of the farming community along the corridor,” he said.

Cllr Morris also believes Tipperary could have a huge influence on Mid West development and that Nenagh should be earmarked as a “zone of influence”.

“Nenagh has an abundance of industrial units , up to 1000 housing planning permissions, a strong educated workforce, strong educational facilities, very strong sporting facilities. Nenagh can provide the perfect work life destination for workers and their families,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tipperary County Council has called for the retention of the Limerick to Ballybrophy rail line which passes through Nenagh and Birdhill, in its submission.

The council says that while Tipperary is very well served by the Dublin-Cork-Limerick railway line, the county also benefits from rail lines from Limerick to Waterford and Limerick to Ballybrophy.

“However, services on these rail lines are not operating to their potential and the recent proposal by the National Transport Authority to close the lines is a matter of grave concern to the council,” the submission states.

“The NPF must include an objective to retain both these rail links, and service provisio should be enhanced and aligned with strategic economic objectives,” it says.

It further seeks provision of the Killaloe bypass / Shannon Bridge and R494 improvement and upgrade of the Nenagh to Thurles road, and improvements to the N52.

While the plan calls for investment in town centres, it is short on specifics for Nenagh, merely stating that a civic improvement plan is needed.

It sets Clonmel as the heart of core development, with Nenagh as a district town. Nenagh's hinterland is designated open countryside, though the tract from Terryglass to Ballina along Lough Derg is described as a primary amenity area.

In terms of jobs, the submission says that the council, along with partner agencies such as the IDA, actively supports the economic development of towns in a number of ways, including the identification, development, and marketing of strategic employment land banks, including those in Nenagh.

The submission also says that the National Planning Framework needs to recognise the contribution of Tipperary to national tourism development.

It calls for the NPF to promote the towns of Ballina / Killaloe and Nenagh as the gateway to the Lakelands region of the country.

On health, the submission calls for the retention of Nenagh Hospital.