WORK is continuing on the revamped Town Square in Templemore following a protest last week by residents and traders in the area. Traders and residents Peter O’Connor, John Walsh and Francis Murphy had parked their cars in The Square, preventing contractors from moving on to phase two of the work.
The protest came to an end on Wednesday afternoon following talks between the protesters and Templemore Town Council during which Mr Walsh took ill and was brought to hospital.
At this Monday’s Templemore Town Council meeting, Mayor Maura Byrne said she was “delighted to see work on The Square continuing following talks and that the work is going to continue without protest”.
However, Mr Murphy told the Tipperary Star this Tuesday that they still had concerns about the work, but felt it was “fruitless” to continue their protest. He thanked everybody who had supported them during the protest.
Mayor Byrne was complimented by Cllr Lily O’Brien for the way she had represented the council and for “keeping a cool head”.
Cllr Martin Fogarty praised the “dignity people showed by their silence” during the protest and in the aftermath of the talks.
However he was disappointed that a “county colleague” seemed to go on a solo run over the matter.
Cllr Mick Connell said that the council “was not gloating” when they complimented the management and Cllr Byrne for their part in ending the dispute and he wished Mr Walsh well. He was supported by his fellow councillors in wishing Mr Walsh a speedy recovery.
“It was all done for the betterment of Templemore and I do believe the work will give it some sense of identity,” he said.
He agreed with the Mayor that the proposed lighting system around the area would “identify The Square”, after Cllr Byrne stated that she would like to see lamps in the area to “give it some prestige”.
Cllr Valerie Young had some reservations about the size of the build-outs and the overall finish, following a slight tweaking off the original plan, but town manager Karl Cashen told her that The Square would have “remained a building site for six to eight weeks” otherwise.
He told Cllr Young it was “not possible to contact all nine councillors every time they had to make a change”.
However, Cllr Young said she was “ripping last Friday” and thought a different finish would look better than a “slab of concrete”.
She was supported by Cllr Joe Bourke and Cllr Michael Ryan, while Cllr Connell said he was disappointed, “but I accept the reason given”.
Cllr Ryan asked if the area could now be enhanced through adding some colour to it, to which town clerk Tom McGrath said the clayed area would reduce the effect of the concrete, and that flowers would be planted instead of grass
Cllr Marcus Wilson complimented all those involved in resolving the issue and referring to Mr Walsh said: ”Nothing was worth that”.
He believed the new Town Square would enhance the town immensely.
The council is to look at planting mature tress to soften the newness of the look of the area.
Meanwhile, Mr Murphy said they were not happy with the work and they were “not giving it our blessing”.
He said they had looked for a meeting with the council last week and had gone into the talks hoping for a stay on the work.
“However, the response we got was that the work was not going to stop and that the council would ringfence the entire square to carry it out. It was a veiled threat,” he said.
“They bullied their way through and I know they’ll say there was consultation, but sometimes it would be easier to get an audience in The Vatican than meet the council,” said Mr Murphy. “We just had a bellyful of it and there are still serious concerns about loading and unloading.”