Well, I have just heard, possibly on the back of a motion by Tramore Town Councillor Pat Finnerty to insist that the Metal Man be taken over by Waterford County Council that Tramore Heritage Limited(THL) are going into voluntary liquidation.
On the surface this would sound like a good thing but that would only be if you didn’t know what has been going on over the last 6 months. I have written two other blog posts on this issue but here’s a summary.
Firstly to remind you, Waterford County Council refused the offer of the pillars from the Commissioner of Irish Lights(CIL) due to lack of funds and sponsored Tramore Tourism to set up THL so they, the County Council, could work with THL as partners to gain funding for the project.
Since December certain Tramore Town Councillors have worked to discredit THL and their 4 years of work and negotiations, by contacting the CIL and claiming that THL were in fact engaged in a dastardly plan to gain the pillars for themselves with their ‘private’ company, using them to create personal wealth. The spectre of the pillars being sold by THL was also raised conjuring visions (for me anyway) of even more dastardly people pimping the Metal Man out to grubby perverts on the seedier side of town or further afield. Hello Sailor.
The fact that THL were not private, they were in fact a public company was neither here nor there. Nor was the fact that THL was made of local people with sterling track records in community work and business and who had a vested interest in making sure the town flourished.
More recently THL changed their public Company articles-NOT the company structure which being Limited By Guarantee is the only way to go for a not-for-profit legal entity- to assuage any fears anyone may have had after being exposed to the conflicting information that was floating around. All to no avail.
To make things even more distasteful, the Town Councillors primary vehicle for spreading what amounted to lies and at least one personal attack(we have records folks) was a FaceBook Page, The Voice of the Metal Man(now defunct of course)of a 14-year-old boy.
Now I am not a parent but I know that if a child of mine, or even if a classmate of theirs, was used in such a manner, I would tear through whatever institution was supposedly charged with their care like a tornado until all the bad elements were erased. This did not happen. Nothing like it happened.
It seems not to bother people either that one of the Town Councillors in question who was fighting for the pillars to be put in County Council hands to be leased on to a private company( rather than be passed onto a public company) was in fact the owner of a recently created private (ie for profit) company with four shareholders and the stated mission of developing Tramore.
What this means, for me anyway, if I was a betting person, is that I might bet on the control of the pillars ending up in the hands of a private individual and their company by, oh, this time next year?Or maybe the year after. Lets get the elections over with first…..
There is of course another element in this issue that may not be so easily manipulated: the land owners of Westown. The Town Councillors who were against THLs Metal Man project have shown considerable ability(I can’t call it skill as the most depressing thing about all this is how little skill they had to apply to pull the wool over people’s eyes)at getting what they want, not to mention there being certain familial ties to the land in the area, a factor which may or may not have had much to do with the debacle in the first place, and so it is hard to know what the outcome will be. Certainly at the present, whether or not the pillars are in anyones possession, the land they are on is private and negotiations for access will have to be started all over again.
Of the other aspects of this sad story there is the one that forced me to write my own blog posts in the first place:the local press. As I realised during the Garrarus campaign-a campaign which inadvertently brought me into this argument in the first place when certain ‘inaccuracies’ regarding the local councils ultimately unsavory role in that issue were touted as truth on the Voice of the Metal Man page-the press are not in the business of investigating issues or presenting balanced arguments.
Me, the way I am built, if I am presented with a puzzle I have to solve it for myself and so this Metal Man thing became a puzzle for me. My allegiance, at the start at least, is always to the solving of the puzzle. Even my own Mother doesn’t take precedence for me over the truth of things. She’ll tell you that. I am a bit like Rain Man but without the sums…
I will add here yet again, that though I have tried to be thorough in my thinking and present the information that made my mind up for me unemotionally -theres a lot more swearing in real-time let me tell you-this a is still an opinion piece on a personal blog. It is the opinion of one person, an opinion that tilted strongly to one side after what I learned.
As a resident of Westown (or Westtown to spell it as it is on the maps), I have long been happy with the fact the Metal Man is on private land and I have no need for a public walkway out to it. I am happy on the roads, always have been. I only wrote on this issue when I saw the level of shenanigans going on around the development of the place where I live. That and I just cannot abide lies.
Still, having seen THLs plans and seeing the enthusiasm of its members I can only mourn the loss our community has suffered in allowing these people to be beaten. It is truly a shame and unfortunately completely typical of our Banana Republic.
The best thing about this whole mess is that THL refused to be dragged down to the level of their attackers and they walked away rather than take part in the destruction of something that they created in good faith not to mention the destruction of the hope of the people of this community and on a wider level the people of this country and for that they have earned my respect and gratitude if only because they have let me know there are still some people left with a bit of character and self-respect. Kudos to you all. Anyone who says they could have done it differently, that they could have talked it out, has no real understanding of what has gone on here.
As for the ‘mistakes’ THL made well the only ‘mistake’ they made was not preparing for the concerted and sustained campaign against them. They foolishly thought everyone was working towards the same goal of reinvigorating Tramore. It’s a mistake I can forgive.
I hope, uncivically I suppose, that the pillars remain out of public reach rather than ending up in the hands of people whose values I find suspect and whom, I have come to believe, have only their own interests at heart. Time will tell.
As for our Town Councillors, I don’t think they have realised yet that they can sit back and celebrate their victory as they are still parroting the same old crap on local media as I write. When you think about it their victory is probably deserved. They worked hard, even if its work I personally would never be able to indulge in. They weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
All of this is just words in the wind. The powers that be won’t care that they have lost my one paltry vote, a vote that is like the cry of a small animal dying in the large and unfriendly desert of Irish politics. Ah sure look at me getting all carried away…
Then there is Tramore, a seaside town of expensive closed public toilets, potholed and rutted pay car parks, waste ground, rubbishy beaches and promenades. Well it looks like nothing much has changed and it is sad to say that, today at least, all I am hoping for now is no change in case that change is for the worse.