‘While the Task Force has had some early successes and the commitment by
Minister Eamon Ryan to the construction of a bypass to alleviate town centre
congestion is a major boost, the extent of the remaining tasks should not be
‘Is it possible for each agency and the Departments to contribute to a central
fund, which would be guaranteed in advance and be available to the Task Force –
that’s the key issue’ stated Deputy Michael Lowry when addressing the Minister
for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath, during Leaders Questions in the Dail on
In response to Deputy Lowry, the Minister said ‘What I will commit to doing is
taking up the issues you have raised with the relevant Ministers to examine their
budgetary lines to see what support is already there and to examine what further
opportunities there may be for us, as a Government, to provide further support to
the revitalisation efforts for Tipperary Town. You’ve acknowledged the
commitment that Minister Eamon Ryan has already outlined and how a by-pass of
Tipperary Town should be prioritised under the proposed upgrade of the Cahir to
Limerick junction roadway and I think we all acknowledge that that project is
Deputy Lowry outlined to Minister McGrath that ‘The Task Force came about at
my request following significant protests in Tipperary Town. It was convened in
early 2020 and is a multi-stakeholder group which has the active support of local
community and voluntary organisations. A 15-year Strategy and Action Plan has been developed, aimed at arresting the decline in the town and driving socioeconomic recovery.
‘The scale of the challenge around Social Inclusion is especially daunting. Parallel
to developing an overall Plan for the town, the Task Force has developed a
detailed and comprehensive Social Inclusion Plan aimed at addressing a myriad of
issues that prevail, including up to 40% male unemployment in areas of the town,
high levels of welfare dependency, 36% households with a lone parent. High
levels of disability and sickness. Several key indicators are over twice the National
average and will require significant multiannual funding supports in order to
achieve meaningful outcomes.
‘The Task Force opened dialogue with the agencies that operate in the area of
Social Inclusion and has been met with broad support for their Social Inclusion
Plan. However, it is already obvious that, as these agencies operate off annual
programmes and budgets it is not possible for them to commit the multiannual
funding required to implement the Plan.
‘The most pressing issue in the town at the moment is non-participation and
exclusion, where whole communities in the town are living without any sense of
hope or opportunity. Tipp Town Social Inclusion Plan is designed to offer these
people a future through education, employment pathways, supports at household
level for distressed families and programmes aimed at assisting young people to
remain engaged in education.
‘Without this support the wider efforts of the Task Force in terms of economic
and other developments in the town are doomed to failure.
‘I welcome the recent announcement by Minister Humphreys that funding is to
be provided for a Social Inclusion Coordinator for Tipperary Town for an initial
three-year period. This commitment in itself is an acknowledgement of the
seriousness of this issue. I now ask that this commitment is further underpinned
by ensuring this person is given the appropriate resources needed to deliver the
required results’ concluded Deputy Lowry.