Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe TD, visited the LIT campus in Thurles with Garret Ahearn, Fine Gael general election candidate in Tipperary, on Monday afternoon.
LIT, in conjunction with Tipperary GAA County Board, presented their plans for the development of a 4G artificial pitch, a sand based pitch and spectator stand on the Thurles campus which already has an impressive indoor sports facility.
Tipperary County Council are also partners in the multi-million Euro development plans which also include accommodation facilities for teams and students and the development of six indoor tennis courts as part of a joint venture with Tennis Ireland.
Tipperary County Board Chairman, John Devane, and Secretary, Tim Floyd, also brought the Minister and Mr. Ahearn to visit Semple Stadium and presented their plans to enhance existing spectator and training facilities at the Stadium and the adjacent Dr. Morris Park.
The Minister and Mr. Ahearn were both highly impressed with the development plans, the co-operation evident between LIT, the GAA and Tipperary County Council and the widespread community and sporting benefits at the heart of the plans.
Mr. Ahearn said “I asked Minister Donohoe to visit LIT and Semple Stadium because both LIT and the GAA are at the heart of life in Thurles and the surrounding district.
“Their plans will enhance existing sporting facilities in the town and college and will provide much needed investment and employment in the town.
“The involvement of Tipperary County Council and Tennis Ireland are also very welcome and show the importance of Thurles as a central and easily accessed location.
“I will actively seek government support for worthy ventures such as this.”
Mr Ahearn also brought Minister Donohoe, along with Deirdre Clune MEP, to the C&C Group Bulmers plant in Clonmel to meet Operations Director Pat Morrissey and his team. C&C Group directly employ 200 people on their Clonmel plant with another 150 indirect jobs in the town and surrounding areas.
Mr Morrissey gave a brief history of the company before outlining the companies national and international markets. With so much of the companies exports going to the UK, Brexit was highlighted as a challenge facing the Clonmel based company in the next year or so. The visit concluded with a tour of the site.
The Minister and Garret Ahearn finished the day meeting the CEO of Tipperary County Council Joe Macgrath and local Fine Gael Councillors who outlined the immediate need of extra funding for repair and maintenance of rural roads within the county.
Mr Ahearn finished by saying: “I want to thank the Minister for spending the day with me in Tipperary to see first hand the Challenges we face but also to learn of the opportunities and potential Tipperary has.
“Following today’s visit I will continue to put pressure on the government to support Tipperary.”