That “hundreds of people within walking distance of Cashel” will now be a part of the Carrick on Suir electoral area is “nonsensical” according to one disappointed local councillor.
As arrangements were announced for the next step in the historic amalgamation of North and South County Councils, including the abolition of town councils and redrawing of electoral boundaries, it was revealed that Cashel town will no longer have a civic or area office under the new arrangement. Instead an area office for the new Cashel-Tipperary area will be based in Tipperary Town.
Local councillors expressed deep disappointment at the news, with Cllr Tom Wood saying the plan must have been drawn up by a “foolish person” and described the new boundaries as “an absolute scandal.”
Cllr Wood, speaking at the July meeting of South Tipperary County Council said it was all very fine to adopt change “when it is fair and seen to be fair but in Cashel town and hinterland this is anything but fair. What has been done in relation to Cashel should be called ‘Putting Some of the People First,’” he said, referring to the ‘Putting People First’ plan under which the changes were introduced.
Up to 40 people operate out of the current civic offices, he said, and it is a huge benefit to the economy of the town when people come to town to do business and stay to shop.
“20% of the Cashel area has been moved into the Carrick and Tipperary areas. Hundreds of people within walking distance of Cashel, and three or four minutes drive. People one mile outside Cashel are in the Carrick electoral area. It’s nonsensical.
“They are Cashel people and they love Cashel. They respect the local authority. They deserve something better. It’s an absolute injustice.”
Fellow Cashel man Cllr Sean McCarthy agreed. “As someone who has represented the Cashel area at urban and county council since 1979 I an totally perplexed, annoyed and enraged by the proposed changes. Cashel and its surrounds have been savaged and ravaged and potentially destroyed.
“We are all familiar with the term ‘gerrymandering.’ I think we now have a classic example of ‘Phillymandering.’”
Cllr McCarthy went on to say it was “a barefaced attempt to disenfranchise people.” With only nine of 36 electoral districts in the new Cashel -Tipperary area in the Cashel area he said Cashel candidates had a “minimal chance” of being elected.
“Cashel has been relegated to being a town of the past with a very gloomy future.”