Introduction to my motion to the meeting of Cork County Council, 28th October 2014

That Irish Water would:

  1. produce a protocol for the taking in charge of water/wastewater infrastructure within residential estates
  2. set targets by which the taking in charge of water/wastewater infrastructure within residential estates would be completed
  3. not exclude residential estates with pumping stations/wastewater treatment plants from inclusion in those targets.

Should Irish Water not address this issue, Cork County Council cannot advance the taking in charge of residential estates throughout Cork County.”

All around the County, thousands of residents live in estates which have not been taken in charge.

In November 2013. Cork County Council took nearly 130 estates in charge and signified an intention to take another 242 in charge in due course.  (Note that there are 201 additional again to these.)

But Irish Water has instructed county councils not to take any estate in charge until it has Irish Water’s agreement to take over that estate’s water infrastructure.

This creates a major problem for estates where there is a problem with the developer and where the County Council is working with residents to sort it out.

It creates an even bigger problem for estates with larger items of water infrastructure like pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants.  Irish Water has said that it must assess the “risk” or cost of taking such larger items of water infrastructure in charge.  In fact, it has said that taking such larger items of water infrastructure in charge must be “in the general customers’ interests”.  What does that mean?

In May, the Minister for Housing said her Department was working on a protocol in relation to the taking in charge of estates.  This was to have been finished in the coming weeks.  But it is now October and there is no sign of the protocol.

In the meantime, householders are expected to pay LPT to avail of local services.  Services such as pot-hole filling, dealing with subsidence, gully clearing, managing fallen trees.

But they won’t see any any benefit to their LPT payments because of the delays in the taking in charge of their estates enforced by Irish Water.

So I propose that this Council should insist that Irish Water would:

i) produce a protocol for the taking in charge of water/wastewater infrastructure within residential estates

ii) set targets by which the taking in charge of water/wastewater infrastructure within residential estates would be completed

iii) not exclude residential estates with pumping stations/wastewater treatment plants from inclusion in those targets.

I propose that we send this immediate requirement to both Irish Water and the Minister for Housing.

Circular Letter PD 1/08 issued on 26 February 2008 (which I understand is the most recent circular from the Department relating to taking in charge of residential estates) advises that any protocol developed by local authorities for the taking in charge of residential estates requires a statement of the facilities to be taken in charge and the maintenance of services that will be provided.

I don’t think we should wait for Irish Water to sort itself out.  I think Cork County Council should go ahead and take in charge those estates that continue to wait and could be waiting indefinitely.  No change in policy is needed.  All we have to do is take the lead from the Department, list the facilities and services we will look after and simply omit the water and wastewater services.

If we don’t do this, thousands of people could go on waiting for the basic rights their LPT payment guarantees.

Notes from the meeting of Cork County Council, 28th October 2014

[a]                  CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES

 1.  Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 13th October, 2014.

Agreed and seconded.

Tenders for Cork Harbour Maritime Heritage Project were opened.


[b]                  VOTES OF SYMPATHY

2.  Votes of Sympathy (if any) to the relatives of:

 (i)            members or employees of the Council,

(ii)           dignitaries of Church or State, or

(iii)         members of old I.R.A. and Cumann na mBan.

Cllr Keohane (SF) expressed sympathy for a recent bereavement.


[c]                  STATUTORY BUSINESS

3.  Disposal of Property – Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001:

(a).  Disposal of land at Barrett’s Hill, Ballinhassig, Co. Cork

(b).  Amendment to Disposal of Land at Broomfield West, Midleton, Co. Cork, to the Department of Education & Skills, by the substitution of “2.2467 hectares/5.551 acres” in lieu of “c. 2.29 hectares/c. 5.66 acres”, being the area of said property and “€416,325 (€75,000 per acre)” in lieu of €424,500.00 (€75,000.00 per acre) being the consideration for said property.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF) asked about the Ballinhassig site.  Is the money from its disposal ringfenced for a particular project?

SOC: Not really.  If it is a social house, the money is ringfenced for housing purposes but otherwise the money goes into the general coffers of the Council.  Would have to look up data on site in question.

Cllr Buckley (SF) asked about Midleton lands.

DCE:  These lands have been in the Council’s possession for some time.  They were intended for maybe the development of industrial units.  They are now being sold for a new school.

Cllr Lombard (FG): Disposal of land for new schools in the Western area was discussed at the Southern Committee meeting.  Makes no sense.  How the south side of Carrigaline is being serviced needs to be addressed.

Mayor:  Issue of disposals is up for discussion at the next CPG.

DCE:  Apologises.  This land in the Western division should not have come to the Southern Committee.  Disposals generally go to the relevant Divisional Committee for information purposes and then to full Council for confirmation.  Will not make this mistake with regard to South Carrigaline again.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  South Carrigaline – we don’t know where we’re going with regard to road repairs, etc.  Seems crazy that materials need to travel all the way from Bandon and Kinsale to be used in Crosshaven.  Could someone make up their minds and see how issues are going to be dealt with in South Carrigaline.  We’re 5 months after the election and this issue hasn’t been dealt with yet.



4.  West Cork Municipal District:

Nomination of the following Members to the West Cork Island Interagency:
Cllr. Joe Carroll
Cllr. Michael Collins
Cllr. Patrick Gerard Murphy

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  If this is coming to full Council for ratification, election should be done in accordance with full Council procedures.  It should not have to come to full Council.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  Agrees with Cllr Murphy.

SOC:  CPG should decide this.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  Then it should have been put to full Council to see that full Council agreed with CPG’s decision.

Mayor:  We will defer the matter. And get the procedure checked out.



5.  Department of Social Protection:
Letter dated 17th October, 2014, in response to Council’s motion of 13th October, 2014, regarding the Gateway Scheme.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Seems from this letter that customers may express an interest in taking part in Gateway by applying to their social welfare office.  So it seems that there is a voluntary aspect to it.  Cork County Council has been allocated 215 positions under the scheme.  How many have been filled already?

DCE:  Had figures with me at the last Council meeting but do not have them today.  But can clarify them for Cllr O’Grady.  It is part of the national scheme and we have to accept the rules.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Response from the Department is totally unsatisfactory.  Answers a question which wasn’t asked.  Propose that we tell the Department that this is not a satisfactory response.


[f]                  NOTICES OF MOTION

6.  Councillor Bernard Moynihan:

“That Cork County Council fully supports and endorses Cork’s bid to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016.”

Cllr Moynihan not present.


7.  Councillor Marcia D’Alton:

“That Irish Water would:

i) produce a protocol for the taking in charge of water/wastewater infrastructure within residential estates

ii) set targets by which the taking in charge of water/wastewater infrastructure within residential estates would be completed

iii) not exclude residential estates with pumping stations/wastewater treatment plants from inclusion in those targets.

Should Irish Water not address this issue, Cork County Council cannot advance the taking in charge of residential estates throughout Cork County.”

[Deferred from Council Meeting on 13/10/14]

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Text of my introduction to this motion is presented separately.

Cllr A Moynihan (FF):  Seconds the motion.  This is a wide-ranging motion.  Grave concern to many residents all around the county.  Especially for residents where wastewater treatment plants are causing huge problems.  These residents don’t know how they are going to get these plants repaired in the longer term.  The County Council will do emergency works under health and safety.  Understands that there are background meetings between the Department and Irish Water to advance this protocol.  But it needs to happen sooner rather than later.  Its an ill wind that is blowing no good because at the moment, these wastewater treatment plants are still in private ownership and people living in those places have only 50% of the water charges.  But the longer term question mark hangs over them.  Because it is not a uniquely Cork situation, thinks we should direct this motion to the AILG.  Need other local authorities to also press this issue.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Supports this motion.  Has been a long-term critic of Cork County Council’s slowness in taking estates in charge.  Move last year to take many estates in charge meant a lot to residents in those estates.  Unfair on residents in most recently published list of 15 estates who were not taken in charge.  They were left behind.  As a Council, we have to be active in trying to extract the protocol from Irish Water.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Welcomes the motion.  Don’t have a problem with the first three parts.  Has a problem with the last sentence.  Reads that as being a blockage to the taking in charge of these estates.  Procedures such as this should all have been set in place before Irish Water was set up.  Would like to propose as an amendment that the last sentence should be changed.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Agrees totally with Cllr O’Grady’s proposal.   In fact, the introduction to the motion indicates that the fact that Irish Water does not have this protocol in place should be no hindrance to the County Council at all in taking estates in charge.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Generally supports the motion.  Big issue with pumping stations.  Over the summer had some meetings with Director of Planning with residents who were waiting many years for their estates to be taken in charge.  He agreed at the time that agreement with Irish Water was forthcoming.  Thinks we should further this issue with Irish Water on Thursday.  Suggests that we also write to PAC committee to have head of Irish Water in before them to answer specific questions such as this.

Cllr T Collins (Ind):  Supports motion.  Has query – person living in a house in a ghost estate which has not been taken in charge and there is a smell of sewerage coming into her house.  Is she expected to pay both property tax and water charges?  What is going to happen to the likes of that person?  It is not fair to charge this person.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  Very important motion.  In the past there were 185 estates in front of the County Council.  15 were left out in the cold.  These had problems primarily with wastewater and management committees.  For the future, what will Cork County Council do with the old applications for taking in charge and with the new ones?  What is the procedure from now on for both existing and new applications for taking in charge?

County Engineer:  Not sure if there is a whole lot to add to this.  The Members are very up to date.  Irish Water says they are currently in the process of formulating the policy.  They have a draft circular from the Department that they are incorporating this into.  The principle that Irish Water was adopting was that if there wasn’t a financial implication, they would take the estates in charge immediately.  If there was, the and the County Councils proceeded with taking in charge, liability might lie with the Councils.  This suggests that there may be a question of money should the County Council proceed with taking in charge in the absence of Irish Water policy.  But Irish Water does say that policy will be out in a week or two.

DCE:  As a County Council, we continue to deal with bondsmen, banks, etc. who were associated with the building of estates. We are advancing discussion with them in order to bring infrastructure up to standard in advance of taking in charge.  This infrastructure most definitely includes water and wastewater infrastructure – that is the responsibility of the bond.  (In response to question from Cllr D’Alton.)

Cllr T Collins (Ind):  If the bond is not paid down, the estate stays as it is.  Sewerage situation in the case already mentioned is so bad that it is actually backing up.  This should not be happening.  So her problem will not be answered.  Can we get bonds to be paid down some other way?  Can we force bond-holders through in a legal way?

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  Heretofore bonds were the last resort for financing any deficient development.  This process in itself will be a long haul.  So is there anything we can do to speed this up?

DCE:  The bonds are a last resort.  Because we have the power to call in those bonds, the banks and insurance companies will largely deal with us to finance necessary outstanding works.  Ultimately at the end of the day we have the power to call in the money and do it.  Our approach has been to talk to them and to encourage them to engage.  It appears to work in most cases.

County Engineer:  Refers to letter from Irish Water.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Thanks the Members for their support.  Evident that this is an issue that is effecting people across the entire county.  Agrees with Cllr Moynihan’s suggestion that this motion should be forwarded to the AILG for a unified approach to bringing this protocol forward.  Agrees with Cllr Forde’s suggestion that we should write to the PAC asking that they question the head of Irish Water on issues such as this.  Glad that we will be writing to both Irish Water and the Department on the urgent need for this protocol.  But cannot see why Cork County Council should not continue with taking estates in charge.  Cannot see why, if water and wastewater infrastructure are not listed as services taken in charge, any liability with regard to these services should accrue to us.  Continues to believe Cork County Council should take responsibility for doing this.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Proposes that we write to the minister and propose a referendum that Irish Water is not privatised.

Mayor:  This is not relevant to the motion.


8.  Councillor Aindrias Moynihan:

“Cáineann Comhairle Contea Chorcaí go gear an rialtas toisc gur thógadar 20% don cáin maoine áitiúil gur bhailiodh sa chontea seo, agus lorgaimid go chuirfaoi an táirgead ar fáil don Comhairle ar mhaithe le seirbhisí áitiúl.

That Cork County Council condemns the government for taking 20% of the Local Property Tax which was raised in County Cork for local services and demands it be made available for services in County Cork.”

[Deferred from Council Meeting on 13/10/14]

Cllr Moynihan (FF):  This motion is a follow up from the recent LPT discussion.  €8.4m collected from Cork households is retained by the government and is not available in Cork.  When the government introduced LPT it was promised for local services.  So local people should expect to have local services for LPT.  Is this going to be another broken promise?  Each Municipal District could expect to have at least €1m to deliver local services if this retained 20% was given back.  Local government fund switched off

€1.157b – the Department has this.  It is much more than last year.  The Department doesn’t need to hang on to our €8.4m to ensure that each local authority can fund its services.  They do not need to take LPT.  They have other ways of doing that.  This is a county-wide issue and we should be pushing it for the sake of the county.  We need to seek this money back.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Seconds and fully supports.  Important to remember that when LPT was first introduced as the Household Charge, the line was put out by the government that this was to fund local services.  There was no mention that the money would go back into the central fund.  Wants to comment on FF’s supporting a 10% reduction in LPT.  Some Councillors have said that this lost 10% of the €42m that will be collected next year would have resulted in improved services.  But this is ridiculous because it suggests that 90% of the €42m will not.  LPT has replaced other forms of funding.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  SF believes that LPT should never have been introduced.  It was used to replace the Local Government Fund.  FF has short memories.  There was €57.4m in the Local Government Fund in 2007.  It was reduced then by 25%.  In the end, €32.6m was left in it in 2014.  This is a reduction of 40%.  That is where the problem lies.  LGF needs to be increased and LPT abolished.  There are people in rural areas and counties who cannot afford to have their services paid for by the LPT.  We think that the LPT should be used to support those people.  All people have equal rights.  But SF is saying that it will abolish the LPT when we get into government, so we cannot support the motion.

Cllr Lombard (FG):  This Chamber had a bruising debate on LPT.  We made our views clear in FG.  We were against the cut in services which the 10% reduction in LPT would bring about.  FF trying to relive it now.  If we are to follow from this, some local authorities would have no services.  If you live in places like Douglas and Carrigaline, do you deserve all the money?  Whereas someone living in an area like Coolea would get none?  No roads, no services?  FF trying to leave places in West Cork with no money.  They are trying to take our LPT and crucify people who live in rural Ireland.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  Have to support the principle of equalisation.  Rural areas will suffer if we don’t equalise.  We were told at the LPT debate that if we left the property tax as it was, considerable advantage would accrue to the Council.  These figures were laid out to us.  (Read the figures out.)  We were also told that there would be €4.5m available to reduce our dependence on using Council surpluses.  So doesn’t know where Cllr McGrath’s argument is coming from.  Also fearful of what is upcoming in FF’s intention to look at the rates situation.  They will affect programmes like the Economic Development Fund which have been hugely successful in Cork over the last number of years.  The key point here is do councillors agree with equalisation?  We cannot pick and choose as to whether equalisation happens county wide or nationally.

Cllr N O’Donovan (FG):  Is indeed a follow up motion to LPT debate.  FF just looking for headlines again.  As a West Cork Councillor, is very supportive of equalisation.  This is an example of FF economics.  It is indeed an attack on rural Ireland.

Cllr A Moynihan (FF):  When LPT was being introduced, it was for local services.  There should be no issue with funds from one part of the county being available for spending in other parts of the county.  But from Cork to Castlebar?  The government has other money available to it if it wants to equalise.  They don’t need to take Cork money.

Cllr McCarthy (FG):  FF voted to reduce LPT.  The strategy of retaining 20% for equalisation was known then.  So it is a moot point that they are arguing now.

Cllr Moynihan:  Goal posts have moved.

Vote taken.  In favour – 22; Against – 27.  Motion was not passed.


9.  Councillor Seamus McGrath:

“To seek clarification on the procedure involved in establishing Bye Laws to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h within residential estates. The response should indicate whether these Bye Laws can, or must, be introduced at Municipal District level. Also, to seek a resolution of support from Council members for this proposal.”


10.  Councillor Deirdre Forde:

“That this Council welcomes Circular RSD 01/2014 on the control of Vehicle Speeds in Housing Estates, issued by Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, to all Local Authorities.”

Motions 9 and 10 taken together.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  All recognise that speed in estates is a major issue.  Traffic calming is the single biggest issue that comes up regularly.  Referred to Cllr D’Alton’s motion of a few weeks ago.  Supports and said that it is still important but thinks funding may become an issue.  Knows many residents are struggling to pay the grass money, etc.  Thinks adjustment of speed limit is a tool we should use effectively as a Council.  Not the first time a speed limit review in estates has come up in the Chamber.  But the issue never seems to go anywhere.  There is a campaign building now.   Minister seems to be broadly supportive of speed limits being reduced in residential estates and it has happened in some residential estates in Dublin.  Speed control is all about improving quality of life.  Knows it is difficult to enforce.  But there are many other roads in the county where it is not enforced but there are still speed limits.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  Very big issue.  Seconds motion.  It is time that we review the speed limits.  What is the time frame and what is the procedure?  It is quite a long tedious procedure and should be started.  A lot of estates have schools adjacent or in them.  There should be special speed limit in the vicinity of these.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Many people can propose but it takes someone with heart to do something about this.  The Minister has this heart.  It is very sad that most of the speeding is done by the residents themselves and all the newsletters in the world don’t make a difference.  This needs to be taken account of at the planning stage.  For years it was not.  It also is an issue of enforcement.  Simply reducing speed limits is not enough.  Bonds should be used to help residents install bumps urgently.  How fast can the manager go through with this review?

Cllr Canty (FG):  Fully supports both motions.  This issue has been brought through the County Council many times.  At the end of the day, a lot depends on the people who are driving.  You can put in all the bumps, flashing lights you like but at the end of the day, it’s the residents themselves who are responsible.  An awful lot is due to legislation.  We have been told there are no guidelines in relation to the height of the ramps, etc.  Also have to get consensus from the residents.  You also have to go to the gardai.  But agrees that something has to be done.  Desperate that there are accidents in etstates that have brought this to the fore.  Through roads through estates are also a problem.  Coming off a road at speed and turning into a residential area, it is hard to slow down.  The speed limit at the top of Carrigrohane is the same as the speed limits in our residential estates.  That is crazy.  It will come to a point where residents are afraid of their children playing on the road.  I live on a road where we have 3 speed ramps and they are making no difference at all.  So need properly funded legislation and properly funded gardai.

Cllr O’Grady (FF):  Supports motion especially McGrath’s motion.  Have some questions about procedure.  These estates have to be identified.  How are they to be identified?  Hopes it won’t just be an ad in the paper as it was for LPT.  You can ask the residents what they want.  You can ask the members here.  Cork County Council will need to make up a list of these estates.  Estates which have not been taken in charge is another issue.  After the public consultation, bye laws will have to be adopted.  Will that be at municipal level or Council level?  The erection of the new signs – who will do and pay for this?  How are local authorities to check whether the speed limits are being observed?  The Departmental document says that local authorities should have flexibility to take account of local conditions.  It is a worry to me that speed ramps can be an option only after going through a whole load of other procedures.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  Agrees with both motions.  We have to work on this from the ground up.  Speed limit would be worthy.  The issue with planning is of paramount importance and it is up to us as a Council to adopt procedures which our planners must observe to slow traffic from the outset.  Enforcement – have problem with this.  Who is going to enforce it?  Council cannot.  So we either have speed cameras on board or the gardai do speed checks.  Would see the Planning SPC as being a good place to start policy on traffic calming.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Supports both motions, especially that to reduce speed limit in residential estates.  But thinks there will be a real issue with enforcement.  Lives in a 400 house estate which used have the gardai drive around it regularly.  Has not seen a garda car now in months.  Nonetheless, to have a new speed limit sign at the entrance to an estate would be a visible reminder of the need to slow down.  Despite supporting these motions, does not want them to divert from the need to provide ramps and other forms of traffic calming in estates where it is necessary.

DCE:  Special speed limit bye laws are a reserved function of the local authority and not the municipal district.  Reads Circular from the Department.  Speaks about procedures.  Will provide Circular to all Members who are interested.

As part of planning considerations, Cork County Council already takes account of geometric design, etc that might impact on speed in proposed new estates.  Cork County Council was one of the first local authorities to produce guidelines on the design of housing estates.  It is still in place.  In relation to the second notice of motion in particular, we were promised that the Department would issue revised guidleines in relation to controlling speeds in residential estates before the end of the year.  We have 1031 estates throughout the County and excluding Town Council areas.  We have to identify estates where issues may arise.  Have to respond to the Department in November.  We might identify real priorities at Municipal District level and commuincate these to the Department as a first-off.  In order to get the most pressing areas moving on, maybe identify 5 estates in each Municipal District and submit these to the Department for funding.  Asks members to come forward with some suggestsions at next Municipal District meetings.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Must estates be taken in charge to qualify for consideration?

DCE:  Imagines that they must.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Not ok that residents in these estates should be left behind again.

DCE:  Will seek clarification.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Welcomes that there is progress.  Has problems with identifying certain estates.  His motion was an across the board protection for all residential estates.  There would be plenty of estate candidates which would fit the bill.  Cannot give precedence to one over another.  Proposes that we support the 30km speed limit in all estates in principle, however it is implemented.  Proposes that we send this support in principle back to the Department.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Would like the DCE to give the name of the scheme which will be able to fund such works.

DCE: Low Cost Safety Scheme

DCE:  Is reluctant to commit to an across the board bye law.  Would have to produce drawings and assessments to support the case.  Would be happier to deal with the estates which we know are causing problems.

Cllr T Collins (Ind):  Discuss this at JPC?  Would that help?

Cllr Forde (FG):  The signal needs to go out to the public, not to the department.  It is the public who is reponsible for the speed.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Thinks we need to send a message in principle to the Department.

DCE:  We’re not going to get funds for additional facilities in >1000 estates.  Wants the Members to be clear that the CCC will not be able to fund this.


11.  Councillor Des O’Grady:

“To request a written report on the financial contributions made by developers to a special fund towards expenditure that was to be incurred by Cork County Council in respect of improvement works, including roads, footpaths and public lighting, to remedy infrastructural deficiencies in the Killumney, Ovens area.

The report to include

  • The total amount contributed to this fund.
  • A list of developers who contributed to this fund.
  • The amount of funding each developer contributed.
  • The amount already used for improvement works in the Killumney Ovens area.
  • The amount now remaining in the fund.

Mayor:  Suggests that detail like this would come through the Municipal District in future.

Cllr O’Grady (FF):  Will relay this message to the 300 houses in Grangemanor.  Was carried away by the fact that Lehenaghmore was discussed at our last full Council meeting!!!

(I left the Chamber for a few minutes.)

DCE: Last year Council put aside €1m for urgent footpath works.  This was an acknowledgement that not all areas got the funding they should.

The money was spent on Capital road works in Ballincollig area, road improvement works between Jim Bobs Cross and Killumney and the Ballincollig Green Route.  This was how the money was spent.


12.  Councillor Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire:

“Go naontaíonn Chomhairle Chontae Chorcaí go mba chóir go mbeadh maolú sealadach ar an córas Pairceáil íoctha, ag ceadú do dhá uair sa lae pairceála saor in aisce, don tréibhse ón 21ú Mí na Samhna, go dtí an 24ú lá Mí na Nollag, leis an cuspóir gnó a spreagadh inár bailte agus ceantaireacha fo-uirbeach, le linn an tréibhse riachtanach Nollaig.

That Cork County Council agrees to a special temporary relaxation of Pay Parking, allowing for 2 hours free Parking each day in all the major towns and suburban areas for the period from the 21st November, to the 24th December, with a view to promoting business in our towns and suburban areas in the vital Christmas Period.”

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  Sick waiting for a response on the pay parking issue.  Waiting 6 – 8 months now.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Thanks for the support in advance!  Making a specific proposal and am open to amendments.  Cork City Council has had a number of promotional schemes in the City Council area.   High time Cork County Council examined this issue.  Small and medium businesses are the backbone of our economy.  Hard to do business against the city centre and the shopping centres who have their own parking facilities.  Thinks we need to support commercial activities in our own towns and surburbs.  Thinks 2 hours free is about right to allow people substantial time in the area whilst keeping long-terme parkers moving on.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  Seconds this motion.  Thinks very timely.  Had a similar motion at his own Municipal District meeting.  We are talking about the survival of our towns.  Fermoy has pay parking.  Midleton, Mitchelstown and Charleville have free parking.  We should have relaxation of the rules especially for the Christmas period.  Knows people in Fermoy who are not coming into the town for shopping because they can go to Mitchelstown, Charleville or Midelton and not pay anything.  Our towns are dying.  Especially Fermoy.  Please give 1 hour free parking in general but at Christmas period, please give 2 hours free parking.

DCE:  Conscious that Members have raised the issue of parking at the Christmas period before.  We have 8 towns including Douglas with pay parking.  Historically arrangements have been made for the Christmas period; because most of these were arranged through Town Councils, none of the arrangements have been the same.  Conscious that we need across-the-board rules.  Proposing that we would come back to each Municipal District with proposals for the Christmas period.  Obviously the whole pay parking issue will come back before us anyway.  The starting point for the Christmas relaxation proposals will be whatever there was last there last year.

Cllr Forde (FG):  The issue is speed.  How fast can a change in the bye-laws be enacted?

Cllr McGrath (FF):  At our Municipal District meeting last week, we were told the announcement in relation to the Christmas parking proposals was imminent.  Doesn’t want to wait till 20th November at our next Municipal District meeting.

DCE:  There is no provision for enactment of this.  Is a temporary relaxation of bye-laws approved by the Executive.  We had hoped to come back to Members first.  We don’t really have to wait to the Municipal District meetings.  Can circulate proposals to Members and seek comments.  Can do this in the next couple of days.

Cllr Murphy-O’Mahony (FF):  Not happy with the arrangements Bandon has had to this in the past.  Wants parking to be available on the public street, not just in a designated car park.

Cllr Dawson (FG):  Populist politicial footballing will come out of this.  Our budgets did not allow us to relax the bye-laws in Fermoy in the past because the budget depended on it

Cllr McCarthy (Lab):  We had to do a 12 month budget in Fermoy Town Council even though we were being dissolved in May.  We did our best but we had no choice.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF):  Thinks we need to discuss the issue of pay parking today.  The Bandon-Kinsale municipal district meeting isn’t until very late in the month.

DCE:  We’ll make sure that our proposals are circulated in advance of the next meeting.  Can’t see any logic in trying to agree 8 different areas here today.

Cllr Sheppard (FG):  We were told in Cobh Municipal District that the money raised from parking in our town would have to go to the budget of the Municipal District.  Yet East Cork Municipal District was told that Youghal could keep the money raised from pay parking in Youghal.  We need to be clear on how this policy will put in place across the County because we will never agree policy on pay parking if we are arguing over issues like this.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Agrees with the sentiment that on-street parking is preferable.  Concerned that there might be any possible delay in this.  As 2 Municipal Districts have already resolved to amend their general parking bye-laws and these amendments had to go to CPG, does this proposal to relax the bye-laws for Christmas have to go to CPG too?

Mayor: No.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  High time we stood up for the businesses and shoppers in towns like Fermoy.  These are new arrangements, new Municipal Districts and we need to show responsibility for their success.

Mayor: It is a decision for the Municipal District if the money raised from pay parking is to stay within the town or to go to the area generally.

Cllrs Cullinane/Barry/Sheppard:  We were told that this is not the case.

Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind):  We were told that pay parking money raised in Youghal stays in Youghal.  We were told this quite clearly and up front.  So this issue needs to be sorted out.

Mayor:  In the past, we were told it was up to the members of the Municipal Districts to decide where the money raised from pay parking would be spent.

DCE:  This is really a matter for the budget.  Income from pay parking really needs to form part of the Budgetary plan.  Things have changed over time.  We have to be cognisant of all of that now.  There will be a special CPG meeting on the budget next week.

Mayor:  None of that aspect of pay parking will impact on the Christmas relaxation of the bye-laws.


13.  Councillor Noel Collins:

“That this Council request the relevant Government Departments to make more funding available for the provision of additional juvenile hostels, whether through statutory agencies or the voluntary sector, to deal with homelessness, which is becoming a major concern, resulting in juvenile crime.”

Cllr Collins (Ind):  Fragmentation of services is a major problem in dealing with homeless young people.  Not enough hostels are provided, either statutorily or voluntarily.  Congratulates Fr. Peter McVerry for his work in this area in Dublin.  Sport is hugely recognised as a way of keeping children out of this kind of trouble.  Sport raises self-esteem.  Communities which lack support in providing sporting facilities should be given that support.  Every effort should be given to supporting these amateur organisations.  Anyone involved in group sport is unlikely to end up as a juvenile offender.  Homelessness is another aspect of this problem.   Often young people are left to fend for themselves when it comes to accommodation.  Locking juvenile offenders up with adult criminals is a major problem.  Not appropriate.

Motion agreed.


14.  Councillor Kevin O’Keeffe:

“That this Council call on the Government to take back control of Irish Water until a proper management and operational structure is put in place.”

O’Keeffe (FF):  Paying for water was one of the first things on the agenda of the incoming government.  They rushed legislation through the Dail for the formation of Irish Water.  It was against the advice of some of the best consultants.  Only 3 hours were given to its discussion at Dail level.  Many issues have come in up in the last 10 months.  People are alarmed and confused.  Asking the government to rejig the set up of Irish Water.  Issues have arisen since day 1.  Why does Irish Water need PPSN numbers?  Charges for leaks?  Childrens’ allowances?  Reductions for contaminated water supplies?  Bonuses being given out?  We went through this with the HSE not being accountable properly.  Asks that the government would take back Irish Water until these issues are sorted out.  Tomorrow morning if I went into my solicitor and said I wanted to set up a company, he would take a company name off a shelf and I would use it for that company.  It would have more accountability than Irish Water does.  It’s gone so bad now that some politicians are looking for constitutional amendments that it stay in private ownership.

Cllr N Collins (Ind):  Phil Hogan claimed he was appointed EU Commissioner because of his ability to deliver.  The only thing he delivered for many families was abolition of Town Councils, LPT, water charges and buckets of controversy.  Supports and seconds the motion.  The people deserve better.  The people pay the piper and should be allowed to call the tune.  Monstrosity guided by the bonus brigade.  Abolish Irish Water and let the status quo remain.  If the government fails to act now, when the flood gates open there will be no holding back of the tide.


15.  Councillor Pat Buckley:

That Cork County Council calls on the Government to;

  • Immediately reverse domestic water charges which are an unfair and unjust double charge being forced on already struggling households.
  • Stop the roll out of metering and redirect the €539m loan finance from the National Pension Reserve Fund towards fixing the massive leakage problems and interruption to supply.
  • Recognise that Irish Water is not fit for purpose since it is unaccountable to the Minister and therefore to the Oireachtas and the citizens of this State.
  • Prevent Irish Water from any further excessive spending of taxpayer’s money, including the proposed further €35m on the use of external consultants in 2015.
  • Ensure that there is no duplication of services being delivered by Irish Water and Local authorities
  • Guarantee that water services will remain within full public ownership now, and in the future.
  • Listen to the widespread public anger that exists towards this Government and Irish Water by the Irish people, who are now rightly organising and mobilising in protest and opposition to these water charges through the Right2Water public campaign which includes activists, citizens, community groups, political parties and trade unions.

Cllr Mullane (SF): Seconds the motion and proposes an amendment for Motion 14: to add to immediately reverse the legislation that has introduced water charges.  SF is against water charges and has been since they were imposed.  This service should remain in public ownership.  Also where does FF stand on water charges?  Wants clarification on that.  FF proposed the idea for water charges in their last programme for government.  Thinks this is opportunistic today on the part of FF.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  No intention of defending Irish Water or the way they have managed the system since they took it over.  Like SF, we consider it necessary to broaden the tax net and charge for water.  From a FF point of view, one of the reasons for establishing Irish Water was that funding for water would need billions of euro to fix the pipes that were left in such bad condition by FF.  That amount of borrowing had to be taken off national exchequer accounts.  Not only to ensure good domestic supply but also a good industrial supply.  Has no problem with SF’s position on this because SF has told us where they would raise the extra money – inheritance tax, tax on higher earners, etc.  The argument I have with SF is that their tax principles would hamper economic development.  But at least they are explaining where they would get their money.  But would like to hear FF’s position on how the alternative budget that they are proposing would be dealt with if this motion were passed here today.

Cllr J O’Donovan (FG):  Asks people to look at need for Irish Water and for a high quality infrastructure.  Thinks people would march because of poor delivery of water if there wasn’t a plan to improve it.  What about listening to people who are in favour of water charges and who welcome plans to improve it?  Read between the lines of what SF is asking people to do.  They are asking people not to pay water charges.  That will result in water being cut off.  Then people will have to go back to SF and ask what to do next.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  Irish Water is not working.  Especially in relation to cost.  €680m down the swanny on management, perk, bonuses and consultants.  Asks whether there is any scheme in relation to improving the infrastructure in North Cork going ahead now.  Knows about Kildorrery.  Is sure Cork County Council is still in control.  Irish Water – the present government is swinging from crisis to crisis and it is making it up as it goes along.  Spent 39 minutes on the phone last Friday before I was told they had no answer.  What about outlandish costs in relation to repairs?  Irish Water doesn’t even know what part of Ireland we are from.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Lots of discussion about the way Irish Water is being run.  Right to a point because they seem to be all over the place as a entity.  But water charges are the issue here, not Irish Water.  Doesn’t matter how efficient or otherwise Irish Water is.  Doesn’t think Cork County Council should pass a motion without referring to this.  It is correct that water/wastewater infrastructure was underfunded over many years.  Metering money would have been far better spent in remediation of our mains and water system.

Cllr N O’Donovan (FG):  This is the second motion today where FF is talking with both sides of their mouth.  Not here to defend Irish Water.  Defends need for proper utility and water system.  Agrees with SF quite a bit.  40 – 45% of our investment in water infrastructure has gone down the drain, literally.  20,000 people on boil water notices.  We do need change.  55 – 60 schemes are needed for West Cork.  These schemes have been on lists for years and nothing was ever done about it.  The real test of Irish Water will be in 3 – 4 years time to see if these schemes are tackled.  What FF is doing here is pure headline grabbing.

Cllr Hayes (SF):  The Irish Water issue has been discussed ad nauseum.  Irish Water is just a very expensive call centre.  Cork County Council is carrying out the work on behalf of Irish Water anyway.

Cllr O’Shea (Ind):  Hugely frustrating to try to contact Irish Water.  Supports this debate in the Chamber.  Irish Water doesn’t say what the issue was or whether the issue was dealt with.  They give no correspondence.  They do not address issues.  Irish Water is a mess and it should be put to bed immediately.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF):  SF has never advocated a do not pay campaign.  Very serious accusation that needs to be retracted.  Public meeting in Bandon tomorrow at 8pm.  Invites Cllr J O’Donovan to come along and to the forthcoming public rally.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  We are where we are – another FF cliché.  Do you really think that whatever we pass here today is going to be seriously looked at?  Put down a motion that we can seriously debate.  There’s no question about taking Irish Water back.  Let’s deal with it as best we can.  There’s no doubt that there are problems there.  It is frustrating and Irish Water is not up to speed.  But improving that is up to us – the Council staff must back them up.  No privatisation.  This should be clarified.  Privatisation happened to Eircom under FF watch.  Mary O’Rourke, look what happened to her.  Let’s deal with the issue seriously.  This is a very serious issue and is not worthy of rubbishy motions.  If we try to take it back, we would make things way worse and more confusing.

Cllr McCarthy (FG):  Finds it disingenuous that FF is bringing this to the table again.  It would have been dealt with under the FF agreement with the Troika.  Disagrees with some things that were said here today.  Cllr O’Laoghaire said that the problem here is that people do not want to pay for water.  Last Red Sea poll said that 65% of people have no objection to paying water charges.  The problem is the bonus culture in Irish Water.  There are myriad problems with Irish Water.  But will refute that people don’t want to pay for water – they do.  We are the only country in the OECD that do not pay for water.

Cllr M Collins (Ind):  We do need accountability.  It is taxpayers’ money.  Is a long-term opponent of Irish Water.  It was clear where it was going.  Response has been appalling from the start.  Irish Water has angered the public from the outset.  These are the very people who’s co-operation it needs.  If we had accountability in this government, Phil Hogan would be called back to answer for the mess he left.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  People do pay for water through general taxation.  Is indeed a very serious issue.  Would like to see where Irish Water is going with this down the line. Privatisation not been mentioned here today.  Irish Water is sending packs to people who are not even on the public system.  This indicates that down the line there will be changes to the system.  Irish Water cannot deal with problems.  Rang Irish Water last Saturday because of the 16th breakdown of the year on the water system in Rylane.  Girl on the phone said to ring Cork County Council – she was not aware of a problem in Rylane.  The Cork County Council out of hours number responded and said that it was being fixed but that there could be no timescale on it.  Irish Water was set up as a vehicle to transfer money into the exchequer.  We are involved in a campaign against water charges at present.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Obviously very important issue.  Disappointed the debate has descended into political sniping.  Firstly, laughable that SF is accusing FF as being opportunistic.  SF is a party that changed its opinion during the Dublin By-Election.  Somewhat of an obsession here this morning about FF’s position.  Makes no apologies that FF as a party has tried to respond.  We cannot stand idly by and let the Irish Water fiasco continue without comment.  500 people on payroll, huge salaries, bonus culture.  We have the same right to respond to that as any other political party.  During the national budget, FF proposed the most prudent budget a few weeks ago.  SF proposed a neutral budget (fair enough) and FG proposed an expansory budget.

Cllr Conway (Ind):  Sitting here for an hour listening to this.  Disappointed that it has descended into political argument.  How genuine are these people?  Knows people who are terribly concerned about Irish Water.  Politics don’t matter to these people.  There are going to be major problems with water infrastructure in this country no matter how you look at it.

Cllr Fitzgerald (FF):  I do not accept what is there now.  We have created a situation which is not acceptable.  Will continue to go through Cork County Council to solve his problems although he knows we’re not supposed to.  But Irish Water cannot deliver.  We cannot operate without the local authority and Irish Water is not fit for purpose.

Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind):  People I am dealing with simply cannot pay water rates.  Cannot pay so many of the charges – water, LPT, etc.  We are letting these people down as we politically point score.  This is my take on the motion.  What about those who cannot pay?

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): Thanks the Members for the support.  The public has no confidence in this utility set up by the government.  The government has acknowledged mistakes have been made.  PWC was asked to prepare a report on the establishment of Irish Water.  The government totally ignored that report.   Thinks the government needs to go back to the drawing board again.

Cllr Buckley (SF):  We’re not going to get a better quality of water.  Irish Water is basically lying to us.  People are being intimated by packs coming through the doors.  The biggest fear is that of privatisation.  They told us Bord Gais would not be sold off.  It was.  Privatisation of water is being pushed by World Banks, etc.  Thinks absolute disgrace.  There has never been honesty in Irish Water.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Still has no clarity on her initial questions.  What is FF’s position on Irish Water?  Also amendment to Cllr O’Keeffe’s motion: add in “and to immediately reverse legislation that has introduced water charges”.

McGrath (FF):  What is the obsession with FF’s position?

Amendment has been seconded.

14 – 24 in favour of the amendment.  So the motion stands.

Both motions passed.



16.  National Roads Authority:
Letter dated 4th September, 2014, regarding funding for improvement works on N71 from Owenahincha Cross to Bohonagh.



17.  Deirdre Clune, MEP:
Letter dated 6th October, 2014, in response to Council’s letter of  25th September, 2014, regarding the fluoridation of water

Cllr N Collins (Ind):  Notes that Deirdre Clune was the only MEP to respond, thanks her for doing so and has no doubt but that she will be successful in her new position as an MEP.


[h]                  VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS

18.                  VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS (if any)

Congratulations given by Cllr McCarthy (FG), Cllr O’Flynn (FF), Cllr Forde (FG), Cllr Hayes (SF) and others.



Cllr O’Grady (SF):  The Lord Mayor of Cork City was in China recently.  Her trip garnered a lot of publicity.  Heard that our Mayor was in China recently also.  But we heard nothing about this.  Can we have a report or something on the trip?

Mayor: CE will be giving a report.

My submission to the proposed change to Objective TM5-2 of the Draft County Development Plan

Mr. Andrew Hind,
Senior Planner,
Planning Policy Unit,
Cork County Council,
County Hall,

24th October, 2014.

RE: Proposed Change No. 10.17 Objective TM5-2: Cork and Other Ports

Dear Andrew,

You will be aware from our discussions in the Council Chamber that I do not support the approach Cork County Council has taken in the Draft County Development Plan 2013 in specifying the locations which it regards as most favourable for the Port of Cork’s proposed relocation to the Lower Harbour.

I have particular reservations about the Draft County Development Plan’s recommending the type of Port activity which should take place at these locations.  In this regard, I refer particularly to Paragraph 6.6.4 of the Draft Plan.

Cork County Council has never undertaken any work of its own to confirm that these activities in these locations are the most sustainable from a Cork Harbour perspective.  It has merely relied on the Port of Cork’s own Strategic Development Plans 2002 and 2010.  The conclusion of the Port’s Strategic Development Plan 2002 was that Ringaskiddy was preferred for relocation and expansion of the Port’s container business.  This conclusion was resoundingly disagreed with by An Bord Pleanala in its refusal of planning application PL04.PA0003.  The Board’s reason was clear:

…It is considered that the proposed development would:

(a) result in much of the port related traffic traversing the city road network which would adversely impact on the carrying capacity of the strategic road network in and around Cork city and in particular the carrying capacity of the strategic interchanges at Bloomfield, Dunkettle and Kinsale Road and the Jack Lynch Tunnel which it is necessary to preserve; the proposed development would exacerbate serious traffic congestion at these strategic interchanges; and

(b) be unable to make use of rail freight carrying facilities in the future and would, therefore, represent a retrograde step in terms of sustainable transport planning.”

Although this is the first County Development Plan to be redrafted since that An Bord Pleanala decision, neither the Port of Cork nor Cork County Council has undertaken any holistic climate change assessment to ascertain whether relocation of the existing container terminal at Tivoli to Ringaskiddy and its consequent expansion in the coming years is actually sustainable in the context of an increasingly carbon-conscious world.

By omitting to undertake this assessment, Cork County Council is culpable in two ways.  Firstly, it is removing the need for the Port to undertake that crucial step in the Environmental Impact process: the assessment of alternatives.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s regard for the importance of this step is clear:

The consideration of alternative routes, sites, alignments, layouts, processes, designs or strategies is the single most effective means of avoiding environmental impacts”.
[Guidelines on the Information to be contained in EnvironmentalImpact Statements, EPA, 2002]

Secondly, Ireland is expected to bring about a 20% reduction on 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.  Our country is unlikely to achieve this target.  There is a risk that significant fines may result.  Perhaps the even greater risk is the global damage to Ireland’s clean environmental image.  Even in the Environmental Impact Statement accompanying its most recent planning application for relocation of its container activity to Ringaskiddy (PL04.PA0035), the Port of Cork had undertaken no climate change assessment.  So in supporting the concept of a container terminal at Ringaskiddy and thereby indefinite relegation of all container traffic to road transport, Cork County Council is tacitly approving of what is described as national strategic development with a potentially massive, and as yet unassessed, carbon footprint.

This aspect of the Draft County Development Plan 2013 had already been drafted and assessed by the time I was elected to the Council Chamber.  I am fully aware that the statutory time has passed for any of my comments here to make changes to this substance of the Draft Plan.  I do not dispute that it may be necessary for the Port of Cork to move its City-based operations downstream.  However, I wish to have my opinion on record that it is unsustainable for a County Development Plan to be as specific as the Draft Cork County Development Plan 2013 is with regard to the relocation of those Port activities without independent and comprehensive assessment.

The legislative process does, however, permit me to comment on my serious concerns with regard to proposed amendment 10.17 to Objective TM5-2: Cork and Other Ports.

Objective TM5-2 indicates that relocation of Port activities to the Lower Harbour should have regard for “residential amenity, tourism and recreation” around Marino Point.  It indicates no regard for residential amenity, tourism and recreation considerations arising from potential Port relocation to Ringskiddy.

Yet Port development at Ringaskiddy would be overlooked by the hills of Monkstown and Cobh, would be directly across from Blackpoint and would be in the midst of the Ringaskiddy community.  It would directly affect the well-developed tourism industry in Cobh, be directly in the line of vision of the cruise liner terminal at Cobh and would be in real proximity to the promising world-class tourism attractions of Spike Island.  It takes little familiarity with the Harbour to recognise that the Lower Harbour from Monkstown downstream is that area of the Harbour most widely used for recreation.

It is totally unacceptable that while Objective TM5-2 as proposed expresses direct consideration of the residential amenity, tourism and recreation around Marino Point, it makes no mention of residential amenity, tourism and recreation around Ringaskiddy.

The proposed text of TM5-2 confers considerations relating to an adequate road network serving Port activities to Ringaskiddy only.  It is of course vital that the N28 should be upgraded; it is already severely congested at peak times.  But it is equally vital that the R624 serving the Great Island should be upgraded.

The R624 is already severely over capacity.  It is dark and unlit as it passes through Foaty Island.  It exhibits dangerous bends all along its length to Cobh.  It has but a single, 200-year old bridge on and off the Great Island.  It is totally inappropriate to suggest that further development of any kind on the Great Island would be supported by the existing road network.  Plans to upgrade the R624 have been in place for several years.  Their implementation is hampered only by restrictions in funding.

Whilst it is clear that the Port is promoting Marino Point as an appropriate location for Port activity because of its rail link, it is equally clear that rail cargoes would be specialised and limited, at least in the shorter to medium term.  Any cargo not being transported up the country by rail would be transported by road.  The existing road network cannot support Port relocation of any kind to Marino Point.

So the proposed text of Objective TM5-2 is inappropriate and unsustainable on two counts:

  1. Upgrading of the road network to both Ringaskiddy and Marino Point is essential.
  2. Potential impact on residental amenity, tourism and recreation arising from Port relocation is a concern at both Ringaskiddy and Marino Point.

It is incumbent on Cork County Council as the planning authority to change the proposed text of TM5-2 to reflect these concerns in accordance with the “proper planning and sustainable development” requirements of existing planning legislation.

I suggest wording such as the following might suffice:

Support Ringaskiddy as the preferred location for the relocation of the majority of port related activities.  Also recognising the key role that Marino Point can play in providing an alternative relocation option for some of the port related uses that could best be served by rail transport.  It is acknowledged that there is need for significant improvement to the road network serving both Ringaskiddy and Marino Point and that account must be taken of residential amenity, tourism and recreation.  The Council is committed to engage with the Port of Cork and other relevant stakeholders in achieving this objective.   See also Objective EE 6-2 Cork Harbour.”

I acknowledge that general reference to residential, amenity, tourism and recreation is given in Objective EE6-2 (Proposed Change No. 6.10).  This is welcome but not sufficient.  I anticipate Cork County Council’s giving the same regard to sustainability concerns in Objective TM5-2 as it does in Objective EE6-2.

All the best,

Marcia D’Alton,
Member, Cork County Council.

Notes from the full meeting of Cork County Council, 14th October 2014

With Deputy Chief Executive (DCE): Declan Daly

[a]                  CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES
1.  Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 22nd September, 2014.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind) proposed the following amendments:

1.  In financial business (the discussion on LPT), the following points made by Members were not recorded:

  • public consultation not sufficient
  • money collected from LPT last year went to Irish Water – needs to come back
  • crazy that have to make any variation in property tax without knowing what the government is going to deliver to help run the County Council in 2015

2.  In Cllr Collins’ motion on the need for social workers in Housing:
CE agreed to speak to the Department about this.  Commitment not recorded.

3.  Cllr D’Alton’s motion in relation to traffic calming in estates:-
Agreed that it would go to SPC but both I and Cllr Forde asked that it would be dealt with quickly by the SPC.

Cllr Lombard also had an amendment.

[b]                  VOTES OF SYMPATHY

2.              Votes of Sympathy (if any) to the relatives of:
(i)             members or employees of the Council,
(ii)           dignitaries of Church or State, or
(iii)          members of old I.R.A. and Cumann na mBan.

Cllr Flynn expressed a vote of sympathy.

[c]                  STATUTORY BUSINESS

3.              Disposal of Property
Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001:

  1. Disposal of freehold interest in property at 16 St. Mary’s Place, Carrigrohane to Gerald Weste.
  2. Disposal of land at 13 Mahon Terrace, Blackrock to Patrick O’Sullivan.
  3. Disposal of land at Ballybrowney, Rathcormac, Co. Cork to Patrick Pyne.
  4. Disposal of land at Ballynoe, Fermoy, Co. Cork.
  5. Disposal of Derelict Site, Main Street, Killavullen, Co. Cork.
  6. Disposal of Right-of-Way over former Mallow-Waterford Railway Line, Bridgetown, Castletownroche, Co. Cork
  7. Disposal of land at Fermoy, Co. Cork to Kathleen Hawe
  8. Disposal of land at Ballybrowney, Rathcormac, Co. Cork to Lisa Collin
  9. Disposal of former Courthouse Building, Bantry to the Port of Cork.

Discussion about the disposal of the right of way over the Mallow-Waterford Railway line with Cllr O’Keeffe (FF).   Executive clarified that the land holding is being sold.  This is only a right of way.  It will not impede the making of a cyclepath in the future.

4.  Election of a Member of Cork County Council to the Governing Body of the National University of Ireland, Cork.

There will be an advertisement in the press and then two nominations will come to the meeting.  Council will either approve or otherwise these nominations.

5.  Section 4(2) and Sections 32-35 of the Local Community Development Committee (Section 128E) Regulations 2014 (SI No. 234 of 2014):

Filling of casual vacancy on the North Cork Local Community Development Committee

A casual vacancy has arisen on the North Cork LCDC. In accordance with the provisions of Section 4(2) and Sections 32-35 of the Local Community Development Committee (Section 128E) Regulations 2014 (SI No. 234 of 2014), the approval of the members is sought to the appointment of Mr Michael Doyle as a replacement nominee for the environmental pillar to fill the casual vacancy on the North Cork LCDC. The previous nominee is hereby de-selected.

This is just a formality.  The Environmental Pillar is changing a nominee.  It was agreed.


6.  Corporate Policy Group:
Approval of attendance by Council Members at Conferences on the Conference List approved by the Corporate Policy Group at their meeting on 7th October, 2014.

Proposed and seconded.

[e]                  NOTICES OF MOTION

7.  Councillor Deirdre Forde:
“That the Manager outline the nature and extent of the city and county joint housing strategy. Specifically what pathways are available to county councillors who need to make representations on behalf of county constituents who are applicants in the city.”

Cllr Forde (FG):  Complements the Housing department for its recent reward.  However she has a big issue in relation to some constituents who are applicants for housing in the City Council area.  It is virtually impossible for her to get reply to representation.  She gave an example.  She recognises that City Councillors have their own workload but she did approach them at election time.  Also asked a question in the Housing SPC to see what were the pathways by which councillors might get a response from the City.  So she asks if the CE could please outline what level of co-operation there is between City and County with regard to the Joint Housing Strategy.  She also asks if the City Council would sit down with us so that we might work out together appropriate pathways by which we might help those who are disenfranchised in this regard.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  Supports the motion.  This complication has arisen since Department says that people could be on a housing list for one jurisdiction only.  Has been told there is no such thing as transfers between the City and the County.  Seems to be a contradiction.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  If you apply to either the City or County Council as a first off, you can change one of your areas of choice within either the City or County after a few months.  But if you change your area of choice from the City to the County or vice versa, you are back at the start of the process again.  Needs to be rectified.

DCE:  Gave Cllr Forde an email to contact the Housing section in the City Council:  This is the best email to make representations to.  She will get an automated response.  If any elected member has a specific query, they can ring the Community Housing Officer at 4924271.  Presumes this officer can also meet with Cllr Forde or anyone else.

Although City and County have a Joint Housing Strategy, this largely looks at assessment of needs and takes a more strategic approach.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Not happy.  Especially with an automated response.  This system the Acting CE has outlined has failed her to date.  When she makes a serious representation, she expects a serious response.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  Suggests we refer the issue of co-operation to the to Housing SPC.  There is definitely a lack of linkage here.

The DCE will come back to Cllr O’Grady’s query after talking to some of the officials in Housing.

8.  Councillor Mary Rose Desmond:

“That Cork County Council outlines what plans are in place for infrastructural development in the Lehenaghamore, Lehenaghbeg area to take account of the ever increasing residential population.

That Cork County Council provides copies to members of any plans and drawings that may be have been drafted either now or in the past, including a breakdown of costs and timeline in undertaking the works involved.

To confirm if recent reports are correct that Cork County Council returned contributions received for these works to the developer Rudden Homes and if this is correct to outline;

1.      Under what circumstances was this money returned to the developer and why?
2.     How much was returned?
3.     What discussions if any took place between officials and members in advance of returning this money?
4.     Will officials agree to apply to the Depart of the Environment and Local Government for grant aid to enable this much needed works to commence?
5.     Will officials agree to meet with concerned residents of the area on future plans for development?”

Cllr Desmond (FF): Thanks the Acting CE for the report but it is not good enough to get a this report on the morning of the meeting.  She has asked this question while half-knowing the answer.  Thinks it is shocking that this money has been returned to the deveoper.  Surely something could have been done with it?  This is a lot of money to the residents in the Lehenaghmore/Lehenaghbeg area.  This is an area which has seen no investment whatsoever.  Is there further funding due to be returned to the developer?  Is there some dispute going on between the Council and the developer also?  More than 100 residents met last Thursday.  Agreement between them and councillors that this project needs to move ahead.  Major safety issue here.  We are going to read of a tragedy on that hill.  A car went into the wall of one resident’s house last Saturday morning when speeding down the hill.  Understands and appreciates the scepticism of the residents.  When planning was granted for many of these estates, the Area Planner of the time commented on the unsuitability of the road for the traffic that would arise from the developments.  That was 10 years ago in 2004.  Traffic is ever-increasing and so is speed.  Is particularly unhappy that council officials have not indicated that they are willing to meet with residents.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Seconds and supports.  Has had similar motions in the past.  This area is the greatest example of a glaring deficit in infrastructure with significant development over the last 10 years.  Infrastructure does not match development.  Is a major safety issue.  Residents are rightly annoyed.  The need for the upgrade of the road was recognised when an initial design for that upgrade was done in 2006.  Initial design was far too ambitious.  Downscaled design with a more modest price tag is what we are now looking for.  We want the plan put in place to match the needs of the area.  Is an urban area with rural infrastructure.  People bought houses with a reasonable and fair expectation of infrastructure to match.  Issue of contributions is impossible to justify.  We are all aware that special conributions have a timeline.  Cannot understand how the money could not have been used in some way.   Need a very strong explanation of this.  This morning’s report is not adequate.  This scheme has to progress.  It is only a preliminary outline design.  It needs to go further along the road to detail design, then to Part 8 so that the scheme is ready to roll when funding can be secured.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Supports what has been said.  Lives in the area so has been conscious of this issue for a long time.  Much anger in the locality because the sum of money that was returned is so large.  If it was 25% of what was required (as the report appears to outline), surely it could have got the ball rolling.  Traffic calming, etc. so badly needed.

Cllr O’Donnabhain (FF):  Could lead to fatalities.  Delighted to support colleagues.  Residents cannot use hill as people would under normal circumstances.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Supports strongly what has been said.  The situation in Lehenaghmore reflects so badly on Cork County Council.  Firstly, permission was given to build hundreds of houses with what was known to be inadequate infrastructure.  There was a promise that infrastructure was developed and it never was.  Secondly, the handing back of the special contributions makes it appear that the County Council cannot budget, cannot manage money.  It doesn’t matter how small the amount, money is difficult to come by and it could have been put to good use.  And thirdly, the fact that residents living in Lehenaghmore cannot move without stepping into a car flies in the face of every sustainable transport plan that the Council claims to promote.  It is supporting people cycling and walking in an effort to get cars off roads but what it has allowed in Lehenaghmore is completely contrary to that.  When we give planning permission into the future that depends on upgrade of local infrastructure, we need to put a timeline in place by which that infrastructure will be delivered.  Should help with the first problem.  When the 7 year window of special contributions is coming to an end, all municipal districts to which those special contributions are relevant need to be informed.   That should help with the second.  And the third will be dealt with when the design of the road upgrade is advanced and the upgrade is put in place.  But this can never be let happen again.

Cllr Forde (FG):  There is an infrastructural deficit in Togher and Lehenaghmore and Lehenaghbeg.  Money was awash in 2004 and nothing was still done.  Now more dangerous than ever to live in those areas.  Would like the CE to be creative in sourcing funding to kick-start it.  Agree we need to go to full drawings.  At the meeting with residents during the week, was disappointed to hear certain councillors articulate the view that we need to get voices on radio.  Councillors need to wake up to the fact that we are the Council.  Has no problem with sitting down with the management to plan where we go from here.  In the meantime, the residents do not have proper infrastructure.  We need to sit down with the officials to drive this forward, regardless of political party.

DCE:  All aware of this problem.  No lack of sympathy for the residents.  No lack of desire to do the job.  We want to do the job.  The problem is the money.  The circulated report outlines the response to the motion.

Those who were involved in Clarke’s Hill, Carrigaline Western Relief Road and all those other schemes have advised us about this scheme.  They have advised us because of the particularly difficult terrain at the bottom of Forge Hill, you would not have been able to do even 25% of the length of the road involved with the money that was available.  18 landowners would have needed to have been CPO’ed.  The difference between this scheme and the others is that this project was on the list in 2004 when we were discussing schemes with the Department of Transport.  It didn’t attract funding at the time.  All the other schemes have been supported by the Department under a road development scheme.  This road development scheme does not exist any more so we can’t even apply to the Department for funding now.

The focus will have to lie with the less than €3million scheme now.

We were not happy to circulate drawings because we normally discuss CPO requirements with individual landowners beforehand.  Will happily meet with representatives of the residents and the relevant people within Cork County Council to see what can be done.  We can’t help with funding though.

The developer has done some work around the estate entrances.  There was another development by the same developer on the same road.  We will be asking An Bord Pleanala to advise on this.

Monitoring of special contributions – this is ongoing.  We have 300 special contributions that are live at the moment.  They are regularly reviewed by the Roads and Recreationa and Amenity and that work continues.

Can proceed with more detailed design.  Certain amount of work has been done.  There are still contributions available in places like Clarke’s Hill.  Would prefer to use contributions that are currently available for schemes that are underway rather than this scheme where there is no possibility of funding.  However, will talk to the Non-National Roads Design Office to advance the design.

Cllr Desmond (FF):  Welcomes that CE is willing to proceed to the detailed design stage.  Understands that wants to move to completion schemes that have started already.  But really wants to see this proceed.  Glad that he will meet with residents.  Will liase with him to arrange this.  Appreciates economic circumstances have changed.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Will he also go through to Part 8?  Is it possible to make an approach to the department on one-off schemes with such a glaring infrastructural deficit?

Cllr Collins (FG):  The culvert adjacent to the bottom of the hill is being replaced by Southern Fruit.  Could these projects possibly be co-ordinated?

DCE:  Will try to bring it to Part 8.  Bridget rehabilitation is the only thing that one can approach the Department on at present.  Culvert replacement is the part of the OPW works.  Unlikely that we can co-ordinate.

9.  Councillor Des O’Grady:

“That Cork County Council set thresholds for Local Authority rent payments to landlords under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), Social Housing Support Scheme,  at the current value of private rents across County Cork.

17.  Councillor Noel Collins:

“That this Council call on the Government to have the rent supplement levels increased to match the current letting price for properties around the country and make it part of the pre-budget submissions.”

(Motions taken together.)

Cllr O’Grady (SF): 6 other local authorities are involved in HAP pilot schemes at present.  CCC is doing this since Sept 15th.  Thanks Housing Dept for arranging to give us a briefing on this.  This is the most profound change to social housing policy in this generation.  Those on rent supplement for over 18 months will be transferred to this rent scheme.  Tenants will then be regarded as being adequately housed and will be removed from the housing list.

Many tenants top up the rent contribution given by local authorities because the rent contribution is too small.  The limits under HAP are €750 a month for a couple in a 3 bedroom house, €700 for a 2 bedroom house.  These limits are what the County Council is proposing.

In Ballincollig,  €950 is the average price for 3-bed house.  Gave other examples.

Many families selected for housing under this scheme will have to look for rental housing outside of their chosen area.  Their only other alternatives are to move into cramped conditions with other families or become homeless.

Topping up rent will not be allowed under HAP.  If a landlord does not want to become involved with the HAP scheme, families will be forced out of the private rented accommodation they are in at present and will need to look for a HAP approved house.  It will uproot families and may even make some homeless.

Only one permanent answer to social housing crisis.  Certainly we need housing bodies to take up slack.  Also need to put people into private rented accommodation.  But mostly need to build new social housing.  Spoke of Sinn Fein’s proposals and what they could do.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  Acknowledges there is a problem with HAP.  It should be attractive in that landlords who have to pay back mortgages to the bank would appreciate the isecurity of having rent paid on a regular basis.  But if the HAP system is not paying close to the market value of rent, it is no reassurance at all.  On a longer term basis, this and every other local authority should be the prime motivator in providing social housing.  A budget for social housing is being provided this year from the national resources.  Any way that money can be sourced to create social housing should be grasped.  Agrees with the motion.  Obvious problem that is going to arise.  We are in a transition period.  HAP is an effort to tide this over until we get back into a social house building programme but it needs tweaking.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Not sure that the severity of the situation is realised.  HAP is going to exacerbate it.  Sense at a national level that social housing is a thing of the past and we are not reaping the negative aspects of that.  With rent allowance, very unrealistic caps are placed by HAP.  Quoted some of the Cork Simon recent homeless figures.  Deeply worrying statistics.  For those who don’t end up in that situation, while still sad and regrettable, a significant number of people have been forced to move away from the area they love and have grown up in simply to find housing that they could afford.  This is a very sad reflection on the housing situation.  The ultimate answer is increasing the social housing stock we have.  But in the meantime the HAP scheme is totally unsuitable.  The caps bear no relation to reality.

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  Is this not RAS with a new facelift?  …

(I left the Council Chamber here for a few minutes.)

Community Welfare Oficer can refuse someone rent allowance if someone cannot get a house under the HAP scheme.  This is a dire situation to be in.  Completely opposes HAP.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  Cllr Collin’s motion was in long before this one but this one is still being dealt with first.  The HAP scheme being dealt with here has hardly started and everyone is saying it is a failure.  Give it a chance.  €750 per family as a rent cap is very low.  But rent supplement was never there to cover the whole cost of rent.  Even in the bad times.  Will have to have a rent supplement review very quickly.  In general terms, it would be timely to look at this in the Housing SPC to lobby to get rent supplement increased.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Fully supports call for rent supplement levels to be increased.  There is a crisis in the rent market at present.  Market very buoyant.  Landlords have become selective about prospective tenants.  Impossible for people to get a house at the moment.  A 3-bed house in Carrigaline is €950 – €1000 per month.  Rent supplement is €750/month.  Threshold report said that people are giving top-ups.  People forced to suport underhand activity.  System needs to be urgently changed.  Can’t see HAP going anywhere as long as the rental limits are the same.

Cllr J Murphy (SF):  One of the major problems with this is that there is huge disconnect between Council and social protection.  We had a briefing in Mallow on housing.  Was shocked by responses given to some of the questions about HAP.  Just the standard response in relation to social protection guidelines.  Deposits are rarely given back by landlords.  Many landlords want 6 months deposit up front.  Most people know rent allowance does not comver the full amount.  When you have a landlord and you are trying to get the landlord to buy into the HAP system and you don’t have a deposit, what chance do you have?  We all look at homelessness more in the cities but it is definitely hitting the rural areas more and more.  Anxious about the impact this HAP scheme is going to have.  Supports Cllr Collins’s motion as well – the two motions go hand in hand.  There is a new homeless person out there and that is the working poor.  These are people who are working and who get no rent allowance.  They are being evicted from their rented home because the landlord is upping the rent or whatever.  Cannot get another.  Has seen it – people sleeping in cars in suits.  Young families and properties simply aren’t there to rent.  People with very young children.  Families with no place to turn.  HAP scheme is a nightmare.  Rent allowance needs to be looked at as well.

Cllr Conway (Ind):  Supports the motion.  Aware in rural areas of single males who are having trouble getting accommodation.  There is a homeless hostel in Blarney.  Massive throughput at the moment.  Ok for Cllr K Murphy to say lets see how it goes, but HAP says you will be taken off the social housing list if you are going to qualify for HAP.  Also supports Cllr Collin’s motion.

Cllr McCarthy (FG):  Welcomes and supports both motions.  Problem here is that the threshold is too low.  We can’t discount HAP yet because it is new.  Have been similar schemes which have been running for many years and they do serve a purpose.  Was also at Simon Community presentation.  They had different solutions/proposals for what they wanted.  Short term beds as a first step.  They also spoke about needing to raise the rent supplement thresholds.  But we do need medium term solutions.  If we abolish HAP outright, are we going to put those people into residential homes?  We do need medium term solutions like these.

Cllr Buckley (SF):  Working on the ground, we see every week that homelessness is on the rise.  Fearful of the HAP scheme.  Threshold very low.  Will be forcing young families into very substandard run-down accommodation.  We have no guarantee that these buildings are going to be approved to reasonable living standards.

Cllr Murphy (FF):  Supports the motion.  Rent in towns is slowly going up.  Huge deficit of rental accommodation specially for single people.  Think we should scale or grade assistance given.

Cllr McCarthy (Lab):  Came across a lady who was told that she didn’t qualify for rent supplement but she could go onto the HAP scheme.  Then when she enquired, she was told the CC weren’t ready to register her under HAP yet.  It is not ok to to be waiting for HAP and not be able to get rent supplement.  And in HAP, you are told your rent must be up to date but how can it be if you can’t get rent supplement while you are waiting?

DCE:  Housing SPC is on tomorrow.  Suggests that all who can attend do attend.

The HAP limits are set by the Minister.  Those limits are currently under review.  CCC was asked to make a submission.  The outcome of that is awaited.  CCC has said in its submission that rent caps are too low for Cork.

Also awaiting a “frequently asked questions” type of document from the Department in relation to HAPs.  Will circulate this to Members when it comes.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Limerick pilot scheme – looked for 500 landlords to partake in the HAP scheme and they got 63.  If we get a similar response in Cork, we are in big trouble.  If your landlord won’t take part, you are then out on your ear.

We also need to take housing from NAMA, which we haven’t done in this Council.
We also need to take assistance from approved housing bodies.
We also need huge investment in building social housing.

Cllr N Collins (Ind):  Thanks Council for the support and hopes it will be brought to fruition at an early date to eliminate pain and distress of many people.

10.  Councillor Daithí Ó Donnabháin:

“That this Council would be furnished with a report detailing the following:

1. The total annual commercial rate collected by Cork County Council for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and year to date 2014
2. A breakdown of the percentage of paying and non-paying rateable premises
3. Details on the total arrears of commercial rates for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and year to date 2014.”

Cllr O’Donnabhain (FF):  Thanks CCC for the report which was distributed at the start of the meeting.  Concern is that 9,200 rated premises are providing this funding in 2013.  Wants to understand where we are at with regard to commercial rates.  What we are doing in terms of addressing this issue?

Is concerned that while there is some small increase in rates being brought in, this must be offset against arrears which is increasing year on year.  Where is the Council going vis a vis rates?

Also how are we being more dynamic in rates collection?  The more businesses that are operating, the more rates are brought in to the Council.  We will have to be more dynmaic and creative in terms of rates collection.

Businesses are and have been struggling for the last number of years and we have to be creative in how we respond to this.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Arrears figure very interesting.  What is recoverable and not recoverable?  Not detailed here.  Seconds motion.  When you look at the robust debate we had in reducing LPT by €4m and we see here what the rates arrears are, it put things in perspective.

DCE:  Rates are a fundamental part of CCC’s income.  Despite reduction in resources in County Council, the rate income has largely held up.  In relation to 2013, in a lead table of collection of rates of 34 local authorities, we are at no. 6.  So very good job being done in Rates Department.  They will continue that.  CCC supports the Economic Development Fund.  Is very aware that businesses have been struggling.  Even though the last 3.5 years have been tough, County Council levels of rates collection have held up.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Are the arrears figures for each year or are they cumulative?

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Any outside agencies involved in collecting rates?

Cllr Rasmussen (Lab):  What would the 2014 collection be without the Town Councils?

DCE:  Outside agencies not involved in rates collection.  Yes, the CCC uses outside agencies in collecting fire and waste charges that were outstanding.  But not for rates.  About 80% of the total rates due are collected.  Will ask Sean to clarify the limit on arrears.

SOC. If the same occupier-owner on the property, arrears can be carried forward indefinitely.  Unless proceedings are taken against the owner-occupier.

Cllr O’Donnabhain (FF):  What is recoverable and not must be taken very carefully into account.  But percentages of arrears appear to be increasing year on year, while the percentage collected appears to be decreasing.  Is a health warning.

11.  Councillor Kevin O’Keeffe:

“That this Council call on Mr. Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to take more proactive measures to help the farmers involved in the cattle/beef producers sector. This agricultural sector has seen a significant drop in their farm incomes.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on 22/9/14]

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): The beef sector has turnover of €2b to economy.  Ireland is the largest exporter of beef in the world.  Beef farming is a low margin business at the farm gate.  Has become more regulated over time.  But in past 12 months, farmers have seen prices slashed.  The blame game has been focused at meat processors and there has been a lack of enthusiasm shown by Minister Simon Coveney with having the issue resolved.

The Minister has taken a back seat with his role in securing markets for our beef.  He has told farmers to expand their businesses, but this is no good if he does not source markets to which farmers can sell.  He delivers lots of soundbites but there is no meat or substance to these bites.  Farmers’ incomes in the beef sector have been severely hit.  In the long term the Minister must get more proactive and help farmers on the ground.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF):  Supports.  Stood with protest outside meat factor in Bandon.  ISA threatening to withdraw from quality insurance scheme.  This would be appalling.  Remember the scandal of the horse burgers.  No company or person has been held to account.

Cllr M Collins (Ind):  Very difficult time for farmers.  Major cuts in their payments and in the price of cattle.  The Minister has a duty to work for solutions.  Recent meeting in Dunmanway where Departmental officials were not able to answer questions put by those in the audience.  Supports motion.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  It is unfair and silly that the motion blames the Minister for Agriculture.  The price of weanlings is mad at the moment.  The fight is with the beef factories, not with the Minister.  We protest about everything now.  To say that we might leave the quality assurance scheme is mad.  Nobody prosecuted over the Beef Tribunal and €40 million was spent on it.  Have your fight with the factories.

Cllr A Moynihan (FF):  Beef farmers are struggling.  Fierce pressure on.  Needs to be clear leadership shown on how they are going to get out of the predicament they are in now.  Weanlings going well; bullocks very low price.  But weanlings need to have labour put into them only to sell them as bullocks at the same price?  Sums just don’t add up.  In a discussion group in his area in Macroom of about 14 farmers, at least one farmer has started to clear out.  The other 13 are talking about reducing.  There needs to be clear leadership shown.  May be a role here for our new commissioner in Europe to make sure a fair price is available from our supermarkets for our farmers.  But we do need to look to the Minister for leadership.

Cllr O’Donovan (FG):  Very important for the rural economy.  Aware that the Minister has taken it up with the Commissioner.  But this is a market force and playing politics with it isn’t very fair.  Would hope that the EU can solve the problem.

Council agreed to send this motion to Minister Coveney.

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF):  Thanks for support.  It is the Minister’s job to get markets.  There is no good investing and investing if we have no markets.  The Minister has the power to do this, to talk to the Department of Trade and to talk to the factories.

12.  Councillor Kieran McCarthy:

A) “That this Council disagrees with the use of Government sponsored cheap labour schemes such as the Gateway scheme and calls on this authority to not engage in the hiring of people under such exploitative schemes,

B) and that this Council instead calls on the Minister to immediately suspend the embargo on public sector recruitment, thus allowing the hard-pressed people of Cork some dignified full paying employment,

C) that this Council issues a full written report to the members on how many times the embargo against public sector recruitment has been relaxed to accommodate the hiring of staff by Cork County Council, containing a list of all positions filled since the embargo was introduced in March 2009, and that a similar written report is issued to the members outlining how many people have been hired by this Council under cheap labour schemes such as Gateway, Job-bridge, etc.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on 22/9/14]

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  This motion has been on the agenda for a long time and now should be addressed by the Council and as soon as possible.  Taking away people’s dignity.  33 people on jobseekers were recently interviewed for Gateway.  Also found that one man who works for Cork County Council on Spike Island through JobBridge receives €50 on top of week’s wages for his work.   Gateway is replacing these jobs on the island for €20 on top of week’s wages.  This is exploitation.  The man is hired by Cork County Council through a Great Island Community Project.  We were told that all those working on Spike were in full time jobs.  But CCC was hiding behind the Great Island Community Project.  These schemes may be legal under the law but they are immoral and exploitative.  The Minister and some of his supporters will see Gateway as being a great way of getting people out of the house and maybe getting a job at the end of it.  Most of those want real full-paying jobs that give them dignity, not some meaningless job that pretends to give them hope.  How many full time jobs will the Cork County Council offer these Gateway people at the end of their term?  Isn’t the answer none?  So we call on the Minister to remove the embargo and get people into real jobs with real wages and get the economy moving again.  This Council is dysfunctional in that it cannot deliver the services people are paying for.  Gateway and JobBridge are no solutions.  Motion asked for a list of all positions filled since the embargo.  Report here today did not give this breakdown.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Supports motion.  Blueprint for Gateway is CE schemes.  Husband just finished one working for the Council and is now back on a dole queue.  Difference is that people don’t apply for this scheme, they are contacted by social welfare.  If they don’t do this, they risk losing their pay.  Contravenes the right to a decent day’s work.  This is a faster route to the emigration queue than to the dole queue.   Shocked at the reference to Mallow Castle in the report.

Cllr Sheppard (FG):  Was speaking to young girl in Cobh who was going to interview for one of these schemes.  She’s getting €100 on the dole because she is under 25.  Now she had an opportunity to earn over €219/week on this.  She is very excited.  Was working out at roughly €11/hour.  Thinks this scheme will work for those who are staying at home with their parents and whose families are struggling to keep them.  This scheme offers hope for this group.

Cllr O’Donovan (FG):  JobBridge and Gateway are short term solutions.  They are a bridge between unemployment and full time job.  60% of those who have done JobBridge get jobs afterwards.  Cites a civil engineer example.  Sinn Fein turning down schemes like that.  €56/week and €15.38 extra/week with the youth employment scheme in Northern Ireland.  The Gateway scheme is very similar to the CE scheme. Same hours, same pay.  Sinn Fein generally cry for more CE schemes.  Now we have Gateway, nearly the same and Sinn Fein wants none of it.  Reinforces that both of these schemes were never meant to be a long-term solution.  Supports that the embargo on local authorities would be lifted.  But the fact is that we are still paying huge loans as a country.

Cllr McCarthy (FG):  There are problems with the scheme but was brought up with a work ethic and understands that the scheme can have major benefits.  Most people she has spoken to have been thrilled with the opportunity.  Has done some research on this – all she has asked said it was a very positive experience.  Was a springboard to other employment.  Thinks this motion not representative of other people out there.

Cllr M Collins (Ind):  Supports the motion.  Also very involved in community and voluntary sector.  The Gateway scheme is replacing good Council jobs.  A huge number of people are asking for the embargo to be lifted.  Won’t be if the Gateway scheme goes ahead.  Thinks schemes should be rolled out through community groups.  Would support scheme if it would maybe after 2 years of work on the scheme it would to the worker getting a full time job.  But there is no real future in the way it is at present.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  The scheme was designed to take away person’s dignity?  This is not true.  It was not.  Welcomes the scheme.  It is a short-term scheme to ensure that people get some sort of experience with a view to long-term employment.  The employment can come from anywhere.  Let’s be positive for a change.  There’s a cloud of negativity over this Council.  To suggest people’s dignity is being removed is rubbish.  People want to join this.  Schemes are designed to ensure that the jobs we can’t cover at present at will be covered. Councillors will be coming in here very shortly to see that these things are done and here are people who can do them.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Very important to understand that this has impact beyond those who are forced into the scheme.  As regards the Gateway, it is a problem because it is work with an employer who cannot take them on.  Labour is being devalued with schemes like this.  We are specialising in yellow collar work in this country.  Schemes like this disincentivise employers.  Vitally important for local authority to participate in fair employment practices.

Cllr P Buckley (SF):  70,000 jobs created at €70k/year or at €17k/year.  People on the Gateway scheme have the same debt now that they had 5 years ago.  Married man on 19.5 hours a week by the time he is taxed and PRSI, he will come out with 98c.  This would absolutely destroy a man.  Everyone likes to be working but not being demeaned.

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF):  Does one go off the live register if one is on the Gateway scheme?

DCE: It is a local authority operated scheme and presumes that one comes off the live register if one goes on it.

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF):  Was always totally against these types of schemes.  These are yellow pack jobs.  Manager seems to want to avail of the schemes.  You might get small jobs done, but think of the person’s dignity.  IF you go through the number of schemes we have offered, how can you talk about people coming off the live register when social welfare is paying people to be on these schemes?  Can see nearly 200,000 people on various schemes.  Proposes we accept the motion.

Cllr O’Sullivan (FF):  Cllr McCarthy said that a Municipal District Officer concealed information relating to Spike Island?  Would like Cllr McCarthy to clear that up.  Not ok to say a Municipal District Officer was concealing information.

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  Was told in a report from an administrator in the Council that all the jobs on Spike Island were full paying jobs.

DCE:  We’re not in the business of misleading anyone here.  Happy to review the report given to the Municipal District Officer.

Cork County Council is an agent of the state undertaking the schemes as part of government policy.   We can’t decide whether or not to engage under Gateway, so we are engaging.

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  FG seems to think I am talking about CE schemes.  Got a letter a week after election to the Council.  Had I not been elected I would have been demeaned by being forced to go on this scheme.  CE schemes are different because you have the option.  With Gateway, you are forced into it.  We want this Council to take it back to central government that we do not agree with exploiting people.

Cllr Mullane asked for a breakdown of the 8 permanent positions for which the embargo was lifted.

Mayor:  Doesn’t seem ok to have a scheme after which those who served their time on the scheme cannot be employed.  Will ask the Minister to lift the embargo to take on people who do the Gateway scheme.

Cllr Rasmussen:  People may have to go for interview but if they are not deemed suitable, they do not go on the scheme.  The TUS scheme has been around for several years and there has been no problem with it.

13.  Councillor Pat Buckley:

“That this Council urges very strongly that Irish Water engage with Cork County Council, so that Councillors will be able to access information which in turn can be passed on to the people we represent.”

[Deferred from Council Meeting on 22/9/14]

Cllr Buckley (SF): Areas of East Cork were without water during the week.  We couldn’t get information that the reservoir had run dry.  Irish Water offered no clarity, no out of hours service and its only back up plan was to refer to Cork County Council.  Has been calling for Irish Water to engage with us for over 3 months.  Is doing the same again now.  Councillors need to be able to get information so they can pass it on.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF):  Lack of information is an absolute disgrace.  Water supply in Bandon was turned off for 2 nights recently.  We cannot get information and we are being put back to Cork County Council.  Surely it is up to Irish Water to tell us in advance if the water is going to be turned off.  Really supports this motion.

Cllr N Collins (Ind):  Seconds the proposal.  Would be of big help to the public especially with the type of problem which was encountered in Ballycotton.

Cllr O’Donnabhain (FF):  Had queries raised about water problems.  The unaccountability of this quango speaks volumes.  PPS numbers, dealing with leaks and now people are keeping an eye on their own meters and doing their own calculations.  We are working off an email system with Irish Water.  Not at all acceptable.  Asks that a member of or a team from Irish Water comes to Cork County Council to answer questions.

Cllr M Hegarty (FG):  Cllr Buckley is right in that parts of East Cork were without water for some time.  Would have to agree that greater dialogue with Irish Water would be good.  But have to step back and analyse that since Irish Water took over, the pumps at the source were giving trouble for 2 weeks and Irish Water did not say.  The personnel at that end of Irish Water – many questions have to be asked of their proefessionalism.  If the reservoir falls below 3 m, there is a serious problem.  Since Irish Water has taken over, there have been 2 reservoirs in East Cork left run dry.  The implications of all of this are so serious.  They have to account for their stewardship and management of this situation.

Cllr Hayes (SF):  Issues arising in West Cork over and over.  Cape Clear was a huge problem.  You are through to a call centre.  Not dealing with any experts.  County Engineer was a huge help with regard to Cape Clear situation.  Irish Water doesn’t come back with emails.  On Saturday morning the local water services lad with the Council had just become aware of a low pressure issue after a month of complaining.  Serious.

Cllr Murphy O’Mahony (FF):  Cork County Council is still very much associated with water outages.  Makes us look unprofessional when we don’t know what is happening.  Proposes that some of the LPT money would be used to set up better communications with Councillors.

Cllr M Collins (Ind):  Supports the motion.  Desperate trying to liaise with them.  Was 35 minutes on the phone trying to get an information pack to an elderly lady in Clonakilty who was unable to do it for herself.  The call failed after 35 minutes.  We need to ask Irish Water to come in here and account for themselves.  4 weeks today I requested information on a breakdown.  It came back to me eventually from the Council.

Cllr McCarthy (FG):  Supports the motion.  Rang Irish Water 3 times in 2 hours.  Asked to speak to the same person.  No information.  Rang Cork County Council then and got all the answers.  You are wasting your time ringing Irish Water.

Cllr O’Shea (Ind):  Communications have broken down hugely with Irish Water in the last few months.  There are no answers coming back.  We are ringing curators and going back to the old times.  We are not supposed to be doing that but when we are not getting answers from Irish Water we have to.

Cllr J Murphy (SF):  Rang Irish Water.  They didn’t understand what she was saying when she rang.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Not merely are communications an issue but what is going to happen over the winter when household pipes freeze?  Is Irish Water going to charge a call-out fee for this?  Up to now, when pipes freeze you call the County Council.  They may or may not be able to sort you out but they will always come.  And there is no charge.  Who is going to help households with frozen pipes this winter?  People are really afraid of this.

County Engineer:  All these questions are for Irish Water.  They have circulated briefing dates.  Irish Water heretofore has refused to attend Council meetings.  They are trying to set up a complaints procedure.  Not defending them, just telling us what they are doing.  Has instructed Cork County Council staff not to deal with public or public representatives in the first instance.   Because if the system breaks down, Cork County Council could be blamed for its not working.  But if serious, they will of course help.  Aware of the Ballycotton situation.  Was told after that it was a lightening strike that took out the water.  In fact it was a combination of events.

Mayor:  As a council we should write to Irish Water and say that our briefing date clashes with AILG training.

Buckley (SF):  Could Cork County Council put the Irish Water number up on its website?  If a situation such as that happens in East Cork again, Cork County Council will get the blame for it.

14.  Councillor Paul Hayes:

“That Cork County Council supports the call from the Restaurants Association of Ireland for the on-going retention of the 9% VAT rate for the food, tourism and hospitality sector. This measure was introduced temporarily in 2011 to promote job creation in the sector, and was extended until 2014. As the measure has proved successful in creating jobs in the area, we call on the Minister for Finance to retain the 9% VAT rate again in upcoming budget for the year ahead.
[Deferred from Council Meeting on 22/9/14]

Cllr Hayes (SF):  VAT on this sector was reduced from 13.6% to 9%.  This was a very good measure.  Asking that Cork County Council would add its weight to the call to extend this again.  The Restaurant Sector has done its own report on this.  Many younger people have been getting work in this sector also.  Lower tax rate brings Irish hospitality closer into line with our competitors.  Spain’s VAT rate – 10%, Portugal’s VAT rate – 6%, Germany’s VAT rate – 7%.

Chamber supported.

15.  Councillor Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire:

That Cork County Council

  • notes the calls from civil society organisations, legal practitioners, academics, human rights activists and Members of the Oireachtas for reform of Direct Provision, the administrative system for accommodating asylum seekers;
  • notes that, according to the latest available statistics from the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) Monthly Report October 2013 (published Feb 2014), there are 4,494 RIA residents in Direct Provision, and 1,530 of RIA residents, are children. These include 682 in Cork, at locations in Glounthaune, Wellington Road, the Kinsale Road, Millstreet and Clonakilty
  • Notes that the Government’s policies are not in line with the Common European Asylum System, and in particular, that the Government has failed to implement EU Directive 2011/95/EU on qualifications for becoming a refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection status, in addition to aspects of Directive 2003/9/EC, on laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers.
  • That the average time spent in the asylum process, is 52 Months, the median time is 54 Months, and that 56.3% are in the system for in excess of four years
  • Considers that the system of Direct Provision is an unsatisfactory manner of accommodating Asylum Seekers, which is detrimental to family life, in particular to the welfare and development of Children, and that the extended periods of time in which residents are required to reside there, while their cases are being processed, is entirely unjustifiable.

Therefore, Cork County Council calls on the Minister for Justice and Equality –

  • to review in its entirety the Direct Provision System, and to examine alternative forms of support and accommodation which could be adopted which are more suitable for families and particularly children,
  • on foot of that review expedite the proposed Immigration, Residency and Protection Bill, and the reform of the Accommodation Policies for Asylum Seekers
  • and to establish in the interim an independent complaints mechanism and independent inspections of Direct Provision centres and give consideration to these being undertaken through the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) (inspections) or the Ombudsman for Children (complaints).”

[Deferred from Council Meeting on 22/9/14]

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Is concerned that we would come to this issue in 25 years time and wonder why we did nothing.  There are 682 people living in these circumstances.  Some of them are entitled to vote.  We are out of line in how we house these people.  The entitlements and rights that these people have are not acknowledged.  These are people who are trying to get on with their own lives.  They might do leaving cert and get wonderful results but cannot go to university.  52 months is the average time of staying in the centres.  To have to spend 4 and more and sometimes up to 10 years in these conditions must be very difficult to deal with.  Glad that the Minister says he is going to look at it.  We need to keep the pressure on so that it keeps moving, does not become a report that gathers dust on someone’s desk.

O’Grady seconds.

Mayor:  Motion is very well put.  There is a review nationally.  Thanks Members for their support for that motion.

16.  Councillor Aaron O’Sullivan:

“That this Council calls on Fáilte Ireland to extend the “Wild Atlantic Way” tourism trail to East Cork and that the Minister for Tourism Transport and Sport Paschal Donohoe TD intervene directly in the matter.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on 22/9/14]

Cllr O’Sullivan (FF):  The Wild Atlantic Way was launched in April.  Stops in Kinsale.  Nonsensical that East Cork has been excluded.  Has extensive areas of sea.  Extension of trail would have a major impact on tourism in East Cork.  Cannot see logical reason why East Cork is not included.  Since he announced that he was going to raise this issue, he has been overwhelmed by support.  Been contacted by many businesses wanting to lend their support.  The enthusiasm has been fantastic.

Cllr Canty (FG):  Was chair of the SPC which brought in the Wild Atlantic Way.  Had major discussions with tourism bodies in relation to that.  The main reason East Cork is not included is that the Atlantic Ocean is on the west coast of the country.  The Irish Sea borders East Cork.  The Wild Atlantic Way is working well at the moment but another brand needs to be brought for Kinsale – Wexford.  Could see Dublin coming up with something for the East coast.  We didn’t see East Cork short, but always intended that another brand would be created for the southern coast.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  Not surprised that Cllr O’Sullivan is getting enthusiasm from local businesses.  Is hugely successful.  It would not be appropriate to extend it eastwards into the Irish Sea and then Celtic Sea.  So we must try to ensure that the Wild Atlantic Way is maintained as it is and look at other branding for South and East Cork.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  Surprised that Cllr K Murphy is opposing the proposal.  We should extend the bounty this branding is bringing.  Supports the motion.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Supports the motion.

Mayor:  Thinks we should send the motion to Bord Failte just to get them thinking about it.

The rest of the meeting was adjourned.

Update on Douglas/Togher Flood Relief Scheme, 9th October 2014

Public Information Day No. 2 for the Douglas and Togher Flood Relief Scheme was held yesterday in Nemo Rangers GAA Club.  The consultants for the scheme are Arup.  They will be in charge of the project from scoping through scheme selection and design to completion.


  • Replace approx. 700 m of an existing series of pipes with a 3 m wide single box culvert.
  • This will start from above Southern Fruit and will extend down the hill and on just past Greenwood Estate.
  • Works on the road to install the culvert will be significant.  Because the culvert is so much wider than the existing pipes, services will have to be moved.
  • Where possible, every effort will be made to use car parks and private land rather than dig up the road.  If private ground is dug up, the owner will be compensated.
  • The entry structure and trash screen above Southern Fruit blocks regularly.  The entry structure will be remodelled and the trash screen will be replaced with a 2-stage screen.


  • The problem is occurring largely between Ravensdale and Church Road.  Bridges are undersized, water spills over the tops of the banks and then makes its way downhill to collect in Douglas village.
  • The proposed scheme will involve a mix of channel widening and flood defence walls.
  • There will be some small works at Donnybrook Commercial Centre but most of the works will take place at Ravensdale, Church Road and Church Street.
  • The trash screen in Ballybrack Woods will be upgraded.
  • Two bridges – one to the ICA Hall and the other serving the footpath/cyclepath as it comes onto Church Road – will be replaced.
  • The Church Road culvert is to be replaced.
  • Flood defence walls will be 1.1 m high.
  • The channel will be widened and deepened in the section of the river closest to Church Road.
  • The sides of the riverbank further downstream in the park may be regraded for added protection.
  • Flood defence walls will be erected at a small section of the Douglas Woollen Mills car park.  This is to protect against tidal flooding.

The scheme is being costed at €4-6 million.  These are preliminary estimates only.  When the final scheme design is ready, funding will be sought from the OPW.

The scheme is being designed to protect against the 1 in 100 year flood.

Project illustrations are available at