Cllr Denis Leahy
Tipperary’s smaller towns will be left behind in the future unless local politicians make their case, heard this month’s Cashel Tipperary Municipal District.
The Southern Region will have to cope with a population increase of 165,000 people between now and 2040, excluding the major cities and suburbs, heard Cashel Tipperary Municipal District. Breaking down the figures, this adds up to about 333 extra people in Tipperary per annum. The National Planning Framework, a development plan to cater for these changes, was criticised by Cllr Denis Leahy. “I cannot say anything positive about the 2040 document.” While it might have been possible for some Co. Tipperary towns to “piggyback” on expanding metropolitan areas such as Waterford, this was not possible anymore. “What about rural Ireland, and quality of life?” asked Cllr Leahy.
“People are being corralled into the cities. The towns are being left behind,” stressed Cllr Leahy, comparing the situation to that of mining towns in England abandoned by Margaret Thatcher. Apart from Clonmel, “the other towns are all being put back.” Senior Planner Mr Brian Beck said there should be a plan that is “coherent” and projects where schools and roads should be. “It’s very important to have a framework,” but Councillors and public representatives “have to make the positive case for Tipperary.” Co. Tipperary is mentioned in areas like green energy and ‘rural clusters’ but towns like Nenagh and Clonmel have to provide a good case as an alternative to the big cities, added Mr Beck. “The Tipperary perspective will come out in this document.”