Tipperary County Council casts doubts on merit of Cllr Phyll Bugler's call for free WiFi in Nenagh

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Tipperary County Council casts doubts on merit of Cllr Phyll Bugler's call for free WiFi in Nenagh

Cllr Phyll Bugler: wants free WiFi in Nenagh

Tipperary County Council has cast doubts on a call by Cllr Phyll Bugler for free on-street wifi to be available throughout Nenagh.

The Fine Gael councillor said that one of the benefits of the service was that visitors and shoppers would only need one password to access information on events and shops.

However Nenagh district manager Marcus O'Connor said that people could get all the information on their own mobile data.

“I'm not so sure how successful free street wifi is. It is important, however, that there is high-speed broadband in the town,” he said.

Cllr Bugler urged that the council at least think about the idea.

She made her call during a discussion at Nenagh Municipal District Council on tourism in the Lough Derg region.

Earlier, Cllr Seamus Morris called for the development of the town's historical quarter, urging that the one remaining Nenagh Gaol block still intact be renovated.

“It is in the same state now as when the prisoners were kept in it,” said the Sinn Fein councillor.

The gaol was built in 1843 and closed in 1887. Its most infamous event was the hanging of Loughmore brothers William and Daniel Cormack in 1859 for the murder of John Ellis, a crime they did not commit.

“It has huge potential,” said Cllr Morris. “It is time to start talking about it and how it can bring tourists back to the town.”

With Nenagh due to celebrate its 800th anniversary in 2020, Cllr Morris said: “Making the gaol accessible is something we could aim for. Nenagh grew up from the castle.”

He was supported by Cllr Bugler and Cllr John Carroll, who described the area around Nenagh Castle, the courthouse, the old town hall, the heritage centre and the former gaol as “the jewel in the crown” of Nenagh tourism.

Cllr Hughie McGrath reminded the council that the redevelopment of Nenagh Castle had been phase one of a two-pase process, which was stalled when funding was cut.

“We need to see if we can re-ignite phase two again. It incorporated knocking two houses on Pearse Street and building a glass walkway. The design is in place. Maybe we should take it back to our Dail deputies,” he said.

Cllr Ger Darcy said he would support anything to develop the historical quarter.

Further support came from Cllr John Carroll and Cllr Joe Hannigan, who suggested putting together a working group to bring the idea to the next level.

“We should set a goal and map out a pathway. There are serious opportunities here for Nenagh,” he said.

District administrator Rosemary Joyce pointed out that the council had advised groups that a committee to develop 2020 had been put togther involving Nenagh Chamber, Nenagh Arts Centre, North Tipperary Genealogy Centre, Ormond Historical Society and the council's heritage officer.

“The gaol block and phase two on the castle have all been raised and we will be coming back to you on that,” she said.

Castlefest praised

Meanwhile, Cllr Hughie McGrath was praised for organising Nenagh Castlefest, which featured, among others, musicians Mundy and Paddy Casey as well as trad music organised by Ormond Comhaltas.

“It was an amazing event,” said Cllr Morris. “There was a great buzz around and a feelgood factor about it.”

Cllr Darcy said the payback would be good for the town and showed Nenagh could host two-day events.

It was also praised by Cllr Carroll and Cllr Mattie Ryan.

Cllr McGrath said the organising committee, a joint venture between the St Patrick's Day committee and Comhaltas had “left no stone unturned”. That combination of music had brought a unique atmosphere.

He said the festival suggestion had initially come from Mr O'Connor