MORE BALLS:THE BATTLE FOR THE METAL MAN CONTINUES

ACROSS THE FIELDS

ACROSS THE FIELDS

As the shenanigans surrounding the Metal Man continue unabated I more and more feel I would like the Metal Man left alone. Weekends and bank holidays are a nightmare. The place is rife with walkers who wander around the middle of the road, children in tow, staring at the sky. How I have not had to scrape a family off my car yet I know not. If more people start wandering around I may have to take drastic action and invest in a power hose. Then again the proposed trail may be the very thing that keeps them off the road and so I feel its is necessary to stick my oar in again at least to update my readers.

First of all the Tramore Town Council voted to agree to the transfer of the pillars  five votes to four in what was apparently very heated meeting. Councillor N0.1 who, I guess you all know now, is Cllr. Maxine Keoghan, has indicated that she will to continue her fight to stop Tramore Heritage Ltd. receiving the pillars.

The vote is good news for Tramore Tourism and Tramore Heritage Ltd. however attacks on them continue both verbally and in the local press.

The FaceBook page, font of so much misinformation, has been deleted, also good news.

Regarding my post last week, a seemingly minor point. The word ‘Battle’ in the title was deemed by some as overkill but I think its important to point out here that this debacle is doing a lot of damage to individuals and to our community. Besides, you have to admit, it’s a bloody good title…

I have had mostly good feedback but one comment to the effect the post was unbalanced. Hmm. In the course of writing I edited out a lot of swear words and unhelpful pictures from my post and replaced them with compliments and scenes of rural peace. All for nought it seems. I have been revealed as just another person with an opinion. Damn.

Two weeks ago I had no allegiance to anyone and I did not know the principals except as vague names in the ether. What I want is what is best for Westown and for me because I live here. I did try to remain unemotional in my post but I did, as stated, develop some views, which is why I actually wrote the thing in the first place so yes actually I suppose in that sense it is unbalanced 😛

I provided information that led me to my conclusion but left out out anything that I deemed superflous or was uncorroborated and/or  unecessarily detrimental to individuals personally for the sake of brevity and to avoid spreading gossip.

But, to be clearer, the conclusion I reached was that if what Cllr Keoghan wanted came to pass and the pillars somehow passed to the County Council to be leased to a private company, then the private company the Cllr set up (Tramore Cultural Developments Ltd.) might end up being the one to whom the County Council leased the pillars.

Whether that was the conscious intention of the Cllr or not is neither here nor there. I believed that scenario was possible given the Cllrs stated concern for and connection to the pillars, her urging for the pillars to be leased to a private company and the fact that she seemed not to want Tramore Heritage Ltd to be that company. She certainly didn’t nominate Tramore Heritage even though they were, to her mind, a private company and how could her company refuse an offer to take care of the pillars down the line if there was no other suitable company around?

Me, I do not believe any private company limited by shares, vulnerable to takeover by an individual, should have control of a public amenity and I would not be willing to risk that happening even by accident.

There are of course different interpretations of the Cllrs actions. Cllr. Keoghans setting up of a company in the months prior to starting a campaign to stop Tramore Heritage Ltd. from receiving the pillars may have been unconnected.  It could just be an unfortunate juxtaposition of events and she could well have resolved never to take up such an offer from the County Council in the future.

JULY WESTOWN

JULY WESTOWN

I still remain at a loss as to why the Cllrs concerns weren’t raised earlier but there could be a perfectly good reason for the delay and I just haven’t heard it yet.

I know Cllr Keoghan was involved at the start of this important project and made sure she remained in the loop, which I think does back up her claims that she has Tramores interests at heart. She and two other Councillors were at a meeting which went into Tramore Heritages plans in detail in November 2011.

I have been told by Tramore Heritage that they met with Tramore Cultural Developments (not at this point registered) in February 2012 and co-operation on a local heritage plan based on work already done was agreed. What has happened to change that I do not know and I have not heard Tramore Cultural Developments take on things.

Meanwhile the whole public/private company debate chugs on. I think that some people, in referring to Tramore Heritage as private, probably mean that the board is made up of private individuals rather than people with public posts which though true has helped confuse the issue as it is not the legal definition of that company. The legal definition is that they are public. They are also non-profit.

I have concluded that Tramore Heritage, a public company, is the best option we have right now to save the community money while opening up the site. You don’t have to agree with this but for now the project has been given the green light and will hopefully not be held up again though one never knows.

Since the vote another issue has been raised by Cllr Anne Marie Power who also voted against approving the transfer and that is that people may have to pay to go to the Metal Man. Well, Duh! I don’t know what Tramore Heritage plan in regards to this, I haven’t asked (I believe they intend to get project funding from Failte Ireland) but surely a small charge would alleviate demands on the public purse?Its not going to cost nothing to develop and maintain this site. Right now you can’t go on the site even for a million squids(then again for a million squids I’d carry you across the field myself…)

Many sites in the public domain have charges most specifically the sites managed by the Office of Public Works. It has been asked why the OPW can’t take over, I myself would love that, it would solve a lot of problems. They would most likely charge but anyway I imagine that the same holds true for the OPW as it does for the County Council. No dosh. I could be wrong, feel free to go and find out.

http://www.opw.ie/

WESTOWN EVENING

WESTOWN EVENING

Regarding the heritage trails, it has been suggested elsewhere that instead of the silliness of having two planned heritage trails along the bay as is the current situation, the two parties  share the project. This would seem like a good idea and I suspect in fact that was what was originally happening anyway until the kibosh was put on the proceedings. It seems pointless to waste community resources and time on overlapping projects. Some copping on needs to be effected methinks.

As to Tramore Heritage, its clear they need to answer more questions regarding their plans and they have expressed willingness to do so. They need to make it abundantly clear that they cannot sell the pillars, that they cannot be seized as collateral, that they cannot make personal profit from them. I don’t think they can do any of these things but many people do seem to think that and those people need solid proof.

Anyhoo, here’s is a link to a press release from Tramore Heritage which includes basic company information

https://www.facebook.com/notes/friends-of-the-metalman/tramore-heritage-limited-directors/328873627234820

Tramore Heritage have said they will be calling a public meeting in the near future and that the Metal Man project is very much open to public input so if you are curious about them at all I would suggest you attend and ask the questions that need to be asked. You can also become involved so when they or anyone else turn out to be the sons of the devil you can be there to stop them.

Hell you could make an event out of it, break their legs and throw them off the cliffs like the Vikings used to do. I’m sure they are feeling a bit like they have been fecked off a cliff right now anyway. It could be called a re-enactment, charge a fiver a head. Job done. OK, that’s a joke and not a suggestion folks.

I again urge you to gather your own information where and when you can. Attacking people as has been happening is useless. Question your councillors, contact Tramore Tourism and Tramore Heritage (you’ll find them online at least) and quiz them. They want you to.

For now I have raised enough questions for people to ask and maybe a public forum will be called to clear the air. Cllr Keoghan has, as been said elsewhere, fought vigorously on this issue and intends to continue to do so, kudos to her energy, she may be the one to do get this forum going. That hopefully is my last post on this for a while. Until next time keep in by de wall. I mean it.

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11 responses to “MORE BALLS:THE BATTLE FOR THE METAL MAN CONTINUES

  1. Clare,
    Both Companies are actually private, one limited by guarantee, which is normal for most community organisations, and one limited by shares. A Public Company is one which is formed with the intention to seek a listing on the stock exchange, which I presume is not the case here.

    Chris Mc Cann

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    • Hi Chris. Tramore Heritage is in fact a public company,(see link in comment below)there’s a screenshot from http://www.solocheck.ie in the previous post(that website has changed its format in recent days)but thanks for your point, it may explain the continuing impulse to call Tramore Heritage private giving the impression that the directors will own the pillars. Tramore Heritage Ltd. being limited by guarantee, is a specific type of corporation used primarily by non-profit organisations and has no share capital(again see below). Unfortunately continuing debate over definitions seems to have only caused a lot of confusion and a lot of animosity which is a pity. It would be simpler I think if a government body like the OPW could take over management of the site but I am also somewhat reassured by the County Councils partnership with Tramore Heritage. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

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  2. I doubt they will ever charge for accessing the Metalman. Instead they will raise funds for developing the site through fundraising and sponsorship campaigns, and they have already set up the ‘Friends of the Metalman’ which sounds like they intend to get individuals & businesses to be funders/sponsors or ‘Friends’ – I think the Theatre Royal, Garter Lane and Christ Church Cathedral have a similar programme.

    What seems to be implied by the Councillors who are against Tramore Heritage’s proposal, is that TH intend to charge for access so they can line their own private pockets. I guess TH need to clarify their stance on that, but I would say any money they generate by charging for access would have to go towards the costs of running the site. Looking at the directors of TH, I don’t think we have anything to worry about. It’s not like they are going to charge a fiver or a tenner for access and make a fortune for themselves.

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    • Hi, Micky, thanks for that. Yes you’re probably right. Me, I wouldn’t mind paying a fee especially as the company is non-profit and any fees would have to go back into the project. OPW sites are well worth it, Reginalds Tower, €3, how bad?and many do free Wednesdays now too, but there’s me getting off the topic and yes it looks like Tramore Heritage will go the path you are suggesting and raise funds. It’s one of the things that I hope will be clarified to everyones satisfaction at the public meeting. Many thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment, appreciated.

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  3. As an appendix I am including some links to information regarding company structure here and also a link to applying for charitable status which Tramore Heritage has done.

    The first article from January 2013 lays out very clearly what a company limited by guarantee is in comparison to a company limited by shares. Here is a quote from it…

    “These companies(limited by guarantee) are very common in Ireland, because the Revenue expect any new charity company to be limited by guarantee, so they are invariably charities. The Revenue have standard company Memorandum and Articles of Association and in practice people tend to just change the ‘principal objects’ clause. They are non-profit organisations.

    Most companies limited by guarantee are not set up for the purpose of making profits and, not having a share capital, they lack any ready mechanism for the distribution of profits among the members. Many such companies include in their memorandum a clause prohibiting the distribution of profits or capital, and this will be essential if the company wishes to be regarded by the Revenue as being incorporated for charitable purposes.

    The accounts prepared for companies limited by guarantee must be audited (it is proposed that this will change in the next couple of years).

    Directors cannot receive remuneration, and no dividends can be distributed, but staff can be paid.”

    As you can see it says “most companies” which is where there might be a possible legal loophole but that is also clarified and once the company has no mechanism is set up to distribute profits and the company has applied for charitable status then that company is non-profit.

    http://www.smeblog.ie/2013/01/differences-companies-ltd-by-guarantee.html

    ..and here is a link about how a company applies for charity status.

    http://knowledgenet.carmichaelcentre.ie/articles/steps-need-be-taken-and-conditions-be-met-obtain-charitable-status

    As an extra note from http://www.revenue.ie:
    “Officers/Directors/Trustees of the charity are prohibited from being employed by or in receipt of any remuneration from the charity.”

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  4. Hi Clare,
    For full and legal information on the Tramore Heritage Company Ltd. the only place to find the accurate and a full and detailed information is on the Companies Registration Office of Ireland where this company is legally registered in Irish Company Law…www.cro.ie You can search for the company by typing in their name and purchase for €2.50 the memorandums and articles of association of the company. It clearly states the intention of the company and whether they can legally sell or profit from any property or assets of the company, including the metalman should they ever legally own it.
    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

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    • Hi Sam. I actually have seen the articles a couple of weeks ago, so that may tell you my thoughts on them as I have written the two posts since.

      The important thing for me is that the company is limited by guarantee(see detailed info in above comment).The Revenue demands this structure for any company going to apply for charitable status and I assume the Revenue have accepted Tramore Heritages application and articles and I am happy to have them comb through the articles. If they don’t like ’em I don’t think they’ll let it slide.

      BUT as the memoranda and articles are more than likely standard Revenue issue for a limited by guarantee company (ie what they suggest a limited by guarantee company use in order to receive charitable status)and Tramore Heritage have more than likely just changed the object clause(worth getting them to clarify that)the Revenue will surely accept them?(For more info on that see quote in my previous comment above)* Charitable status is important for me too. Hope that helps somewhat.

      *edited

      I was intending for all that company stuff to be my last piece of info. I wanted to share information I gathered to make up my mind and the mind is made up for now. I will be be keeping an eye out down the line but I am afraid if I continue here now it could tip over into another FaceBook page-like thread and we do not need that.

      It is vital now to direct queries to the company or we run the risk of having speculation on these matters passed on as fact. Whatever my opinion, as I said in the main post, I do believe Tramore Heritage have things they need to clarify for people. Hopefully you’ll get to the public meeting, hope everyone who has questions does, whatever I think now I will still be interested in the answers.

      Thanks for reading and commenting Sam, appreciate it 🙂

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  5. I am closing comments now because I think it would be extremely unhelpful at this point to start more back and forth on this issue online especially on a personal blog that has obviously come down on one side rather than a dedicated open forum. I feel there has been too much obsfucation elsewhere online so far and it has proven too easy for people to hide or doubt identities elsewhere online though everyone has been great here I have to say. I have provided a lot of the information that I felt was important to this issue and you are free to take or leave it. This is a personal blog and my posts represent me and only me. Though I will keep tabs I am ready to get my life back and turn off my PC 🙂 I hope I was of some help. If anyone needs more info they need to question the principals in this case. Question everything in fact and keep yer eyes peeled for Tramore Heritages public meeting. Thanks again for reading everyone and for the comments too, again much appreciated. Clare

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