WHILE SEATED in a Thurles restaurant, I overheard some interesting tidbits about rejuvenating industry in that town. Planning permission has been given to Centenary-Thurles Co-op for a EUR 10m biodiesel plant. This means farmers who grow rape seed would have an alternative income to replace sugar beet production.
The snippets of conversation were interesting in another dimenstion because they were British and American businessmen talking about plant construction without availing of a government package of incentives. This suggests many people believe petrol prices in Ireland will go north of EUR 1.30 a litre before the end of 2006, making the purchase of an ethanol-laced fuel a consumer imperative if the government reduces the tax at the pump. That should be in the cards because the Department of Marine and Natural Resources has a EUR 200m package of excise relief in the pipeline.
For anyone faced with traveling through Liberty Square in Thurles en route to Tipperary Institute, these developments mean your travel time through that traffic maze just got longer because you will now compete with heavy trucks in and out of the Co-Op and they use that traffic route. Don't expect restrictions on curbside parking that would ease the strain. Don't expect a Thurles Ring Road. Instead, just download a few "Trinity" segments from Adam Curry and listen to the marvels of environmentally-friendly travel as you crawl through Thurles.