Morris highly critical of Tom Hayes vandalism and damage to trees


Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has hit2016-02-20-DSC_5112-edited-smaller out at the manner in which posters from Tom Hayes have been nailed to trees around Clonmel. He says such disregard for natural life from supporters of the outgoing Minister is particularly disappointing as the Minister has had special responsibility for Forestry, and because some of the trees are ash.

Cllr Morris said: “Nailing election posters to trees is a regressive development in a modern election. Most of us have moved beyond thinking of trees as unimportant and near-inanimate objects. We have moved to understanding that trees provide more than just visual amenity. They clean the air, provide the oxygen we breathe, and are a key component in maintaining a healthy environment.”

2016-02-19-IMG_2602-Clonmel-CahirRoadWe have come to accept and care for the natural environment and show regard for trees in particular. It was therefore a major surprise – and disappointment – to learn that so many trees have been vandalised in this way. Hammering nails into trees stopped being acceptable decades ago.”

Some of the trees are ash, an essential species for a hurling county, and a species that is already under threat from the Ash Dieback which has spread across Europe and is already in Ireland. That’s a fungus that spreads and kills the trees over time. It does this by damaging the layer of bark that transports nutrients to the rest of the tree. That’s also the layer that is most compromised by the hammering in of nails, such as Mr Hayes has done. There are 3 nails in many of the trees, and therefore 3 sites for infection.”2016-02-19-IMG_2601-Clonmel-CahirRoad

I expect of Tom Hayes that he will now publicly take responsibility the removal of these posters, and for the cost of an inspection, health-check, and treatment of the dozens of trees involved by a qualified arborist. He must take responsibility for these acts of vandalism, and for putting this right. There is also at least one tree near Kilsheelan bearing a nailed-on poster of Jackie Cahill, and I expect him to take the same responsibility.”

It may sound a little like a ‘hippy’ philosophy to have concern for trees as living creatures, but they are – no matter how it sounds – and we depend on them. The Irish people have for millennia had special respect for trees. Now there’s about a dozen trees on the Cahir road out of Clonmel that have been abused this way and have been harmed.”

As we as a people have come to a better understanding of the complexities of our environment, and the importance of all the species in it, this is a sad regression. It could be that Mr Hayes membership of a party that has shown itself immune to consideration of the well-being of their fellow man has made him immune to such considerations for all other living things.”2016-02-19-IMG_2598-Clonmel-Kilskeelan

Photographs 1-3 show posters of Tom Hayes nailed to ash trees on Cahir Road, Clonmel.

Photograph #4 shows poster of Jackie Cahill nailed to tree near Kilsheelan, Clonmel.

Morris rebukes Aherlow House Hotel receiver, as couples lose deposits


(Video at end on how Séamie Morris has helped hotels in Nenagh)

Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has hit out strongly at the receiver of Aherlow House Hotel, and their hands-off policy on deposits and payments made by couples for celebrations to be held there in the future. The receiver is Grant Thornton.

2016-01-24: Cllr Séamie Morris, Warren Roche (Carrick-on-Suir), and Tony Feeney (Armagh & Nenagh) before the march started.
2016-01-24: Cllr Séamie Morris, Warren Roche (Carrick-on-Suir), and Tony Feeney (Armagh & Nenagh) recently.

Cllr Morris said: “A number of young couples have been in contact with me. They paid their deposits to Aherlow House Hotel in good faith for their wedding celebrations to be held there. Very few of us fail to understand that any money available to young couples is very hard come-by, and that it represents an investment in their future that they can not afford to lose.”

However, upon learning that Aherlow House was going into receivership they made contact again with the hotel and receiver, to be told their payments were not in the possession of the hotel, would not be returned, were in the possession of the hotel operator – who leased the business – and that the receivers Grant Thornton were not willing to take responsibility for their return.”

Those deposits and payments were an asset of the hotel. Why then would the receiver – if they were doing their job correctly – would Grant Thornton not be willing to access them? It’s unacceptable to let the dreams of these couples fall between the cracks like this. The total amount in question is about 70,000, which is a significant asset. When that’s divided between the approximately 20 couples involved, that’s 3,500 each. Young couples can’t afford to lose that kind of money for anything, not least when it’s loss is tied to disruption of their special day.

Sinn Féin won’t stand by while young people are treated this way. We will consider all options, including a protest at the hotel. We are concerned also with the jobs of the workers in the hotel, of which there are about 100. Grant Thornton must show a social conscience, and not just process this receivership in the interests of the banks.”

Grant Thornton must now take full ownership of this problem. I’ll be in contact with their Limerick office shortly to register my unhappiness with their handling of this, and to seek a solution.”

Most of the couples affected are based in South Tipperary, and my colleague and fellow Sinn Féin team-member Cllr Martin Browne has been monitoring the story.”

Cllr Martin Browne added: “We expect that the new owner/operator of the Hotel will both look after the staff by continuing to employ them, and the couples booked in to have their marriage celebrations there. If the couples cannot be accommodated there, then every assistance should be given to find alternative venues. Some of that has been done already.”

The Hotel is a significant employer in the area, and it must be re-opened as a going concern. The staff are essential to this, and must be looked after.”

The others only spoke of the hotel being full, I spoke of how I had filled it – Video


(Video at end)

Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has reminded his constituency rivals of his ability to do rather than just talk about doing. Speaking after an interview for the Seán O’Rourke Show on RTE Radio Friday, he said the venue in which the show was held was one he had filled many times with his sports tourism initiative.

2016-02-05 Séamie Morris after the radio show.
2016-02-05 Séamie Morris after the radio show.

Cllr Morris said: “The radio debate was held in the Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh, a friendly hotel I know very well. Minister Kelly looked through the glass in the door and saw lots of young people down for an all-island Eight-ball pool tournament. He used that as an opportunity to say that his austerity policies were the cause of the economy doing well, and that the group present was evidence of a bustling economy.”

The fact is the group was sports related and had nothing to do with his efforts. On the other hand, I’ve brought sports tourists to that hotel and filled it more than once. I had the foresight to realise that hurling was a sport which could uniquely drive employment and inward spend, and I also had the initiative to make that happen.”

One of the teams that came here to learn hurling came all the way from Kansas, USA – twice – and used a double-decker bus, there were so many of them. 50 High School rugby teams from the USA and Canada have been here over the last 3 years. While others are merely talking about the hotel being full, I have actually done that. In those 3 years the hotel has been full several times as a result of me using my initiative and creating the product that drew them in.”

As Minister Kelly said, Tipperary is the home of hurling. He’s right, it is the home of hurling. But words are cheap. Anyone can say what he said, but only I had the insight to turn that fact into employment for the young people who are working here now.”

Minister Kelly also claimed direct involvement with the arrival of First Data. While I welcome the arrival of First Data – and hope the company will do well here with the well-educated and hard-working workforce available to them in Nenagh, we’ll wait until they arrive and get going before we celebrate. Towns in Tipperary need jobs, but they need them now. A job at the distant end of a pipeline isn’t enough, when a mortgage is due this week.”

Up and down the county people are recognising that I have been innovative in how I do things. I could have complained, and I could have whinged. But instead, I used my time as a politician to create tourism and to create employment for the young people in our county.”

It’s up to the people to decide, but if they don’t like how things are now, and they don’t want more of the same, they’ll have to decide to make the change and vote Sinn Féin.”

Morris expects bumper employment year with Sports Tourism


Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has spoken of his continued confidence in his Sports Tourism initiative, and his expectation that 2016 will bring even more to the local economy with 5 groups already booked in from Canada and the US.

Cllr Morris said: “Since the start of this initiative over 900 American, Canadian, German, and UK sports tourists have come to Nenagh. They then used other tourism products from Upperchurch to Ballina and all over Tipperary. Some of the groups return again to the county.”

2011-03-18: The first visit: L-R Rob Gavin, Tim Kleumpers (former US international and STA Football coach), both from Kansas; then Mayor of Nenagh, Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin.
2011-03-18: The first visit: L-R Rob Gavin, Tim Kleumpers (former US international and STA Football coach), both from Kansas; then Mayor of Nenagh, Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin.

I have reason to be confident for 2016, as there are already significant bookings made. This is the latest success in the initiative which I started some years ago. At that time I recognised the potential of a signature Sports Tourism product to contribute to the economy of North Tipperary. I then started the Tipperary Sports Tourism Grant to help other sports organisations all over Tipperary to make us the premier centre of Sports Tourism in the State.”

Since then everything from international sailing events in Dromineer, to the Tom Semple Hurling and Camogie tournament in Thurles, have been helped by the funds drawn down from my Sports Tourism Grant Scheme.”

I quickly realised that I needed to set up a product which got the attention of the sports-tour operators who were already in the business of seeking out North American groups for visits to Ireland. While Mayor of Nenagh, on a trip to Boston I met up with a group from Kansas keen to come to Ireland on a rugby trip. I persuaded them to include Nenagh on their itinerary.”

2015-03-19: Almost 4 years to the day and going strong: High School students from St Mary’s Bruce Grey college in Canada at Phil Burkes hurling work-shop in Nenagh.

This led to contact with Irish Rugby Tours, which is owned and run by George Hook Junior. He was delighted to include Nenagh and the Premier Hurling Experience on his itineraries.”

So far in 2016 we’re looking forward to welcoming Bev Facey Girls High School from Canada, and St Augustine Preparatory School, Old Salesainum School, Fenwick High School, and Neuman University Womens Rugby Team, from the US. Groups vary from 33 to 55 per group, all of whom need accommodation, entertainment, and food.”

They will all take part in the Premier Hurling Experience, which includes hurling skills, a puc fada competition, and the hurley-making experience with renowned Hurley maker Phil Burke.”

2015-09-28: There is potential in the scheme for non-peak business also. This photograph shows Junior High School students from Herzogenrath in Germany, after enjoying a puc fada competition in late September. Pictured on left is Jake Morris. Picture on right is Cllr Séamie Morris, Sports Tourism organiser.

As a local councillor I have been delighted to be able to provide a vehicle to attract international tourists to Tipperary. I will continue to come up with innovative ideas to put Tipperary on the map for international tourists, and I hope that as TD for the county that I will be able to expand these to become the basis for a jobs initiative. ”

We want groups in South Tipperary to get involved. There are benefits for all in this scheme. In addition I have also provided 50,000 from Nenagh Town Council for a full all-weather pitch, which the county as a whole does not presently have but certainly needs.”

Tipperary has so much to offer any international tourist, especially those willing to travel for their sport. With sports and history abounding in both North and South Tipperary, it is my hope to see a major increase in local employment arising from marketing Tipperary as a major tourism product if there is political will to do so. I have that will.”


Morris on another successful season of sports tourism


2015-06-18: Cllr Séamie Morris and Con Morris pose with the girl and boy winners from Stuttgart.

Cllr Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin has concluded another successful season of his Sports Tourism initiative, saying that both European and North American groups get great enjoyment from Sports Tourism, just as Tipperary gets great employment from Sports Tourism.

Cllr Morris said: “Only last week a German school group from Herzogenrath Gymnasium sampled the Premier Hurling experience in MacDonagh Park Nenagh. A few weeks back, they were preceded by another German group, from Villendorf Stuttgart, who experienced hurling for their first time.”

“Our tourists really enjoy the Premier Hurling Experience which starts with a short introduction to hurling and the skills involved. They then put what they see into practice, and are put through a number of hurling drills by Premier Hurling coaches.”

“Of course all the groups enjoy the Puc Fáda competition at the end. Sometimes that’s the best part for them as they enjoy competing. Girls, boys, teachers and parents take part. We’ve even had the bus drivers taking part in it! Some of the Canadian ladies rugby groups have been very competitive.”

“So far this year 16 groups from Canada, USA and Germany have visited Nenagh and experienced our native sport of hurling for the first time. The whole experience that they taste here is magnificent. Because of it’s popularity, I have had several groups that are already planning ahead for their next trip to Tipperary. They come from as far away as Kansas and Canada. Some are planning to come back to us for the third time.”

“There are also individual visits from people who have had Tipperary recommended to them by groups who came here for the sports initiative. I originally set this up to give Nenagh a signature tourism project to bring people to the area, and am delighted with it’s success. Now I’d like to develop a similar project on an all-county basis.”

I am now planning a new initiative which will link all our Republican heritage, historic battle sites and memorials in a Republican heritage trail. This will see all of Tipperary take the forefront in historic commemorations from 1916 onwards, as Tipperary was to the forefront of Republican resistance in the War of Independence and Civil War.”

Jake Morris and Cllr Séamie Morris pose with the girl and boy winners of the Puc Fada competition from Herzogenrath.

Photographs (by Teresa Collins, Portroe)