A Notice of Motion tabled at Thurles Town Council by Councillor Noel O’Dwyer calling for a recycling centre to be established in Thurles, has been generally supported by members of the local authority, but is unlikely to be acted upon due to lack of funding.
Councillor O’Dwyer called on the council to provide a high quality recycling centre for Thurles and the surrounding areas, on it’s own, or in collaboration with North Tipperary County Council. He cited what he deemed to be a suitable location and also suggested that the County Council sheds situated in the Parnell Street car park could be relocated to the same site.
“Because Thurles has expanded so much in recent years and also to facilitate and encourage the welcome growing awareness of a need to recycle amongst the vast majority of people, I think it is imperative that such a facility is put in place immediately. It is no longer an adequate response from different members of the executive to say that we are trying to identify a site, but nothing suitable has become available. This type of blather has been dished out in response to requests by councillors for the past ten years or so. It’s as if the well paid executives are waiting for some greenfield site to appear out of nowhere, shouting, I’m available,” Cllr Dwyer said.
He continued by adding that the site he had identifed would be suitable in his estimation and was available to rent or purchase.
“I feel it would be neglectful of both councils not to proceed along the lines suggested in this notice of motion. I suspect the reason there is such reluctance at executive level to provide this service is that they want to divert the cost and responsibility for providing such a recycling centre over to the private sector. The most recent, standard brush off, was given to Councillor Kennedy recently by Brian Beck who appears to be the new kid on the block for environmental issues,” Cllr Dwyer said.
Councillor John Kennedy supported the notice of motion and said that he had not been satisfied with the answer received when he raised the matter at the County Council. He asked the executive to look into the matter in a serious way and to come back with proposals for the September meeting.
Councillor David Doran said that the matter has been coming up for discussion since 2004 while Cllr Jim Ryan claimed that by not providing a recycling service, the council is in breach of the Midlands Waste Management Strategy. He added that it is a shame that local refuse collection companies have to bring their recyclable waste to other towns, and said that the councillors should not be brushed off by the executives any longer.
Cllr John Kenehan pointed to the huge demand for a recycling centre and said that the Town Council and County Council had an onus to provide one. Cllr Michael Grogan agreed while Mayor Michael Cleary added that the lead has been taken in the schools of the town with so many of them achieving green flags and being environmentally aware.
Thurles Town Manager Mr Matt Shortt said that the issues raised by Cllr Dwyer in the notice of motion needed to be separated. He dismissed Cllr Jim Ryan’s suggestion that the council is in breach of the Midlands Waste Management Strategy, but pointed out that it is North Tipperary County Council who will be providing a recycling centre in Thurles - not Thurles Town Council.
Mr Shortt added that the council is not in a position to provide the funding for a recycling centre as there are no grants available any more. There will also be issues regarding the amalgamation of the two County Councils which will have to be resolved before any funding can be directed towards such a facility, he said, before adding that there would be huge capital costs associated with such a facility.
In relation to the removal of the council sheds in the Parnell Street car park, Mr Shortt agreed that they were past their best at this stage. They had been of their time, but are unsuitable now and the council is trying to find an alternative location.
Cllr Dwyer was not happy with the response received and said that every “ditch and bog hole” in the countryside is being filled up with recyclable rubbish because people don’t have a way to transporting it to centres in other towns. “Whatever we have to do to get a recycling centre in this town should be done,” he said. Cllr John Kenehan meanwhile, asked if there was a possibility of providing a monthly collection service in the town for recyclable materials.