By Eoin Kelleher
AS Cashel enters into one of its most difficult periods within living memory, the Mayor of Cashel Dr Séan McCarthy says the heritage town has many strengths which can see it through the tough times ahead: from its people and heritage, to its local democracy and first-class infrastructure.
Dr McCarthy has served on the Town Council since 1979, and has seen tough economic times in the past. With many small businesses in Cashel hanging on by a thread, he says jobs are a priority for the Town Council. Negotiations are still in train behind the scenes with management of Johnson and Johnson to try and find replacement jobs for the dozens of employees let go from the Cordis plant on the Cahir Road before Christmas. Dr McCarthy hopes that another company might purchase E100m state-of-the-art factory, previously used to manufacture medical equipment. “We’ve got to keep chasing it. I am hugely disappointed with the IDA. I don’t think they’re putting any effort into promoting the site, or attracting new manufacturers to Cashel. They’re concentrating on the cities, Dublin and Cork, and the west of Ireland. Cashel is being neglected in a big way. Tipperary is being neglected, and the Minister for Enterprise (Richard Bruton) has not even bothered to inspect the situation. He was travelling all over America trying to get Carrick-on-Shannon sorted out when the Bank of America were pulling out of MBNA.”
Dr McCarthy said Cashel and South Tipperary has “no clout” within government. One of Dr McCarthy’s key objectives during this, his fifth term as Mayor of Cashel, is to see the campus of Our Lady’s Hospital revitalised and modernised with a new outreach clinic. With the closure of St Michael’s Psychiatric Unit in Clonmel, some mental health services are also to be located on the grounds of Our Lady’s. Dr McCarthy has been in contact with Anne Marie Lanigan, head of the HSE in the South East, with a view to getting medicines, surgery, and orthopaedic services located at Our Lady’s. “It would be ideal to have them there. We’ve had this huge investment in the building, of between E5m and E6m. It’s a magnificent building, but it’s virtually empty. There is a minor injuries clinic and they do the best they can. The bloods are being taken once a week for Warfarin testing (an anti-coagulant used to prevent blood clots). The bloods are taken on a Wednesday and being sent to Clonmel. But outside that, the main building is virtually inactive and closed.”
Full interview in this week’s Tipperary Star.