My introduction to my motion on dog fouling

“To request a report detailing Cork County Council’s current policy on dog fouling.  To include:

(i)  the facilities Cork County Council provides to support the responsible management of dog waste
(ii)  the practical and financial supports Cork County Council currently offers to assist communities in keeping streets free of dog waste
(iii)  the public awareness measures undertaken by Cork County Council highlighting the health risks associated with dog waste
(iv)  The number of on-the-spot fines issued for dog fouling in 2014.”

Cllr D’Alton: The reason I asked for a report on Council policy with regard to dog waste management because this is an issue that effects every community, every outdoor amenity in the county and one that a solitary warden is not going to eliminate.  I appreciate the report produced by the Executive in response to my motion but the fact that only two fines for dog fouling issued last year indicates that current Council policy is not working.  In Passage West, a survey done amongst the local community indicated the anti-social problem of greatest concern was abandoned dog waste.  And although the County Council got €1m of funding to upgrade the old railway line such that it is now one of the most popular walking routes in the country, it didn’t have a single dog waste receptacle of any kind until the Tidy Towns group was awarded a grant to install two which empties itself.

I know this is an issue that the Environment SPC was working on before.  I also know increased awareness of the need for better dog waste management was part of the Council’s Environmental Awareness Strategy 2010 – 2015.  But these efforts seems to have gone nowhere.

An effective programme of dog waste management involves a multi-faceted approach with emphasis on public education and increasing awareness.  Other councils around the country are making inroads into tackling this anti-social problem.

Clare County Council erected mobile programmable audio devices on the promenades of two of its most popular beaches that encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets.

Almost immediately there was a 50% reduction in dog fouling in both locations.

These audio devices have also been used by Fingal County Council.  They were erected on lampposts along the sea front and resulted in an 82% reduction in dog fouling.  The trial run was so successful that the other Dublin Councils are also going to try the audio devices.

The four Dublin councils have also recently signed up to the Green Dog Walkers Programme. Wicklow County Council, Meath County Council, Kilkenny County Council are committed to this programme too.  The Green Dog Walkers initiative encourages dog owners to sign up to a pledge whereby they agree to wear a green armband when walking their dog, clean up after their dog and be happy to carry an extra dog waste bag for those dog walkers who may have forgotten to bring one.

Roscommon County Council is trying clean advertising to raise awareness of the need to clean up dog waste.  Clean advertising involves stencils with an anti-dog fouling message which is sprayed onto the footpath and which lasts for only a few weeks.

Other more exciting initiatives include that in Mexico City, where parks have been equipped with special boxes where people can throw away their dog poop.  Free Wi-Fi is offered to all park users and the higher the weight of poop in the box, the more minutes of free Wi-Fi available to everyone in the park.

In Bristol, UK they have gone for the shock factor.  Their new posters feature toddlers picking up dog poop, smearing it all over themselves, and even eating it.

Keep Britain Tidy is working on a new campaign with 23 County and Borough Councils which has seen a reduction of 46% in the levels of dog fouling.  The campaign features ‘We’re watching you’ posters which glow in the dark at night.

Other councils in the UK have tried spraying abandoned dog waste a bright colour.

In West Yorkshire, British Waterways decorated a tree with dozens of bags of poo-filled plastic bags, to highlight the problem of owners picking the waste up – only to fling it into the foliage.  A 70% drop in the amount of mess found on the streets was reported.

Plain clothes officers, surveillance vans and wardens with night vision goggles were used by Hydburn Council, to enable the handing-out of £75 on-the-spot fines to irresponsible owners.

In Gwent, more than 2,000 fixed penalty notices were issued after a private firm was employed.

There are lots of initiatives, lots of bright ideas.  Irresponsible pet waste management is a scourge in our communities.  It is time the Council backed communities in helping them to deal with it.



Notes from a full meeting of Cork County Council, 23 Feb 2015

1.  Minutes of the previous meeting

Proposed and seconded.



[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.

Vote of sympathy from Michael Hegarty to Mayor on the recent passing of his brother-in-law.  Others associated themselves with this.


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

(a).          Fermoy Municipal District 20th January 2015: 

Disposal of land at Love Lane, Rathgoggan Middle, Charleville, Co. Cork.
(b).          Disposal of 56 Larchfield Rise, Yew Wood, Cork Hill, Youghal, Co. Cork.
(c).          Disposal of 34 The Cloisters, Ard Cashel, Watergrasshill, Co. Cork.

All agreed.



4.  National Road Grant Allocations 2015.

Aidan Weir, Acting Director of Services:

  • Principle elements of the allocation are for land acquisition.
  • Good grant for N28 route – hope that the EIS will be completed during this summer.
  • Buttevant street project currently underway.  Funding to finish it is very welcome.
  • N72 – minor works being funded.
  • No allocation for N71.  Redesign of section from Owenahincha has commenced.


5.  Regional and Local Road Grant Allocations 2015.

Aidan Weir

  • Grants in general are marginally down.  This is a disappointment.
  • The Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) can be funded from the Restoration Improvement Grant.  There is no new funding for the CIS.

Cllr C O’Sullivan (FF): N71 – it is a scandal that there is no funding for this.  It is the main artery into West Cork.  We are trying to see it seen as a tourist area and get people to invest in this area.  Year after year it is overlooked.  There are so many reasons why this road needs investment.  We are trying to sell it because of the Wild Atlantic Way, beaches, etc.  The road is getting a bad name.  We are trying to get industry up and running in West Cork but that’s not going to happen.  Investors look at things like access to education, access to routes.  Straight away there is a problem with the N71: they see it as a bottleneck.  Seen as so disheartening by people like myself that funding is turned down year after year.  Fatalities are the single biggest reason investment is needed.  It is a scandal.  Frustrating.  We don’t’ know where to go from here.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Welcomes money for the by-pass … welcomes increase in surface dressing.  Arising from last year’s severe weather, we are receiving money to help with storm damage works.  What was the total applied for by the Council and what has the Council received so far?

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Regional and local roads allocations are very disappointing.  There is still a reduction in 2015.  Austerity is supposed to be over but here we are with a reduction in the roads allocation which is one of the most important services we as a Council can provide.  Also very worried that the overall percentage of national funding we get is decreasing year on year.  We are not getting our fair share of the funding.  This is confirmation that the LPT was simply replacing other forms of government funding.  Of particular concern is the strategic road grants which have stalled again.  In our own electoral area we have some very important strategic projects which need to go ahead.  Overall very disappointing despite national rhetoric indicating recovery.

Cllr O’Shea (Ind):  Thanks Aidan for report.  Welcomes allocation for Buttevant.  There has been an ongoing issue there.  On regional and local roads, it is bitterly disappointing.  So much rhetoric for austerity being over.   It is not over in Cork County Council.  The government has taken the only rural scheme in this grant allocation off.  Terribly disappointing.  Asks the Director how we fund the CIS now.  Asks that we write to the Minister asking for separate funding for the CIS.  This scheme was terribly important for people in deep rural Ireland.  Ask him to stop deteriorating rural Ireland once and for all.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Welcomes Buttevant funding.  Question on the Mallow-Fermoy funding.  What is it for?  Has been work done here already.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  The regional and local roads allocation is a blow for rural Ireland.  Although welcomes Mallow-Fermoy funding and other Fermoy-related funding.  But the overall drop is dreadful.  On whose watch was the Government Minister when €1.6m extra was given to roads in Galway?  What are our Ministers and TDs doing?  We have a 4.7% drop in funding.  Most of the LPT went to Irish Water.  The CIS has been a huge success.  There were 15 projects under the CIS in the Fermoy area alone.  People living on these roads are people who have been paying their taxes and were prepared to contribute to the cost of the upgrading of their roads.  And now we’re to fund it out of our national allocation so there’ll be less money again for regional and local roads generally.  Overall, Cork has been left down by our Ministers and TDs.  Omission of the Mallow relief road is the greatest disappointment to him.  Are there other figures in some other list that might indicate this is getting funding?  The future economic development of all of North Cork depends on funding for this.  The Minister indicated funding was coming for it.

Cllr Carroll (FF):  Disappointing funding for the people of West Cork, especially with regard to the N71.  Cannot see anything coming to West Cork with the state of the N71.  Did not use it himself today coming to Cork; does not use it any more.  Nightmare to travel it.  Doesn’t think our West Cork TDs are playing any part at all.  One of them said he was going to write to the Taoiseach.  Is he not on talking terms with him?

Cllr McCarthy (Lab):  With the works between Fermoy and Ballyhooley, the last time there was work done there, there was a road closure and diversion.  Caused fierce inconvenience and the alternative road suffered.  Will there be a road closure on this occasion?  Please not if possible.

Cllr Hayes (SF):  West Cork situation is bitterly disappointing.  We are being undermined by the lack of investment in the N71.  CIT outlined the potential for 4,000 jobs with changes to the milk quotas.  We spoke about the impact on the roads of this increase.  Are the TDs on the same wavelength as us at all?  Carbery has invested over €50m in their enterprise in Ballineeen.  Trucks up and down from Castletownbere trying to build the fishing industry.  Bitterly disappointing.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Reminds Cllr O’Flynn why we pay taxes.  We now get more allocation that we did in the past and we will improve further.  Asks about Clarke’s Hill.  We have got excellent funding for our Municipal District.  We will be agitating for the complete Clarke’s Hill project to be completed as soon as possible.  Also asks about Technology Park.

Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG):  Cllr Forde has said eloquently how are TDs are working for us.  Sorry that N71 not done overall but pleased that a stretch of €.5m has just been finished close to Bantry and another stretch as well.  Thinks that the CIT document will help us to push for further funding towards our roads.

Cllr R McCarthy  (SF):  How many fatalities on the N71 before funding will be granted?  Talking right from Bishopstown to Castletownbere.  Do we have an expected time on the design for the Owenahincha bit?  When will the work be completed?  Not good enough to say that hopefully the scheme will attract funding.

Cllr Creed (FG):  Listening with interest about the N71.  Surely forgetting that the people in West Cork had a Minister for a long number of years and what was done with the N71 then?  Welcomes the funding for the Ballyvourney by-pass.  This is on top of €4m last year.  Money has been very welcome.  Slightly disappointed with the bridge money.  A lot of the bridges are in an appalling state.  Fully concurs with Cllr O’Shea on people living in cul-de-sacs.  Many of these people have paid huge sums to the Council for road improvements and their cul-de-sacs are in terrible condition.

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF):  No mention at all of the N73 connecting Mitchelstown and Mallow.  As a landowner on the road, knows how busy the road has become especially with progress in the dairy industry.  For a government talking about things going well, the reduction in funding is very disappointing.  Asks Mayor and the CE whether the government forgotten that the Town Councils are now under our control and did they provide for their abolishment?

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  We would all like if the funding was increased substantially but we haven’t reached the stage in our economic national situation that we can achieve that.  Agrees with some Cllrs that particularly in rural areas the infrastructure is crucially important and thinks that the Council should pursue a separate allocation for these projects.  Increase in tourism is one of the reasons the upgrade in the N71 is being sought.  But this government has shown that tourism is improving and going upwards.  Listed some of the boosts that the government has given to tourism.  Thinks there may be another allocation due in April.

Cllr Collins (FG):  Glad to see that Cllr McGrath was watching the Fine Gael Ard Fheis over the weekend seeing as he could replay what our Taoiseach said.  Welcomes grant for N28 upgrade.  This is perhaps the most important infrastructural project that we will ever undertake in this county.  There was a 5% increase in the restoration maintenance grant.  The bridge restoration has gone up and the strategic road allocations are good.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  N71 – between Bishopstown and Inishannon, the road is in excellent condition.  If a deputation is going to the Minister, have a representative from the Bandon – Kinsale Municipal District on it please.  Spoke about Cllr O’Flynn and historical reductions in roads grants.

Cllr M Collins (Ind):  Our 3 TDs have been found wanting.  Roads are appalling.  So easy to get caught behind tractors, etc.  CIS being pulled is a kick in the teeth to West Cork.  We are going nowhere without upgraded roads.

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  Fota road to Cobh is one of the most dangerous roads in the county.  It has got nothing.  Very dangerous road and very damaging for motorists.  We are told car tax is going to Irish Water and we can now see why people won’t be paying for their water.  In the meantime asks Aidan what can be done for this road.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  LPT was presented as a new departure for local government but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is not.  It is just a tax levelled across the board on all earners alike.  Cork’s allocation being below the average allocation per km is very disappointing.  Cork County Council has a well above average burden to carry in relation to its road infrastructure.  This is seriously beginning to show.  Welcome to see an allocation of €1.6m for relief road in Carrigaline.  What is the current estimate for completion of this project?

Cllr T Collins (Ind):  People around my area are delighted with the reduction in property tax.  They’ll be even more delighted next year because I’ll be looking for a further reduction.  Mallow Ring Road was very important.  As someone who drove a lorry around there myself, they are barely able to get through.  You can go through a housing estate but that’s not fair to the people who live there.  Alternatively you can go to the Park Road but to negotiate a truck through there is very difficult.  Taoiseach said he would make this a priority.  Very surprised it is not on the allocations.  Also relief bridge in Kanturk – there is no money for this either.  Where does this project stand?  The John A Woods quarry and concrete yard are both giving huge employment.  If they were not there, there would be a lot more people on the dole.  Please try to make funding available for these two projects.  And agrees with Cllr O’Shea on cul-de-sacs.  Please send out the Area Engineers to look at these roads and take them over.  The people living on them are paying car tax and other taxes the same as everyone else and they do not deserve the roads that they’ve got.

Cllr A Moynihan (FF):  Minister said Macroom was at or near his top priority.  There is €18.5 million needed to buy the land.  We believed him.  But we are getting much the same allocation as last year.  It is spreading out the buying of that land over 3 – 5 years if we keep getting funding at this rate.  If the government were to prioritise it, they would have helped us to purchase the rest of the ground this year.  Cork County Council really prioritised it last year.  The government has now caused it to drag out.  How near are we to contracts on construction for this much needed by-pass?  Regional and local roads allocation is a disaster for Cork County roads.  There’s a 20% cut in the last 2 years alone.  That’s before you take into account the €1.3m that the Town Councils had and the €1.2m that the CIS was worth.  That’s all independent of LPT.  Even with the Council trying to plug that gap with LPT, it’s still well short.  There have been two extensions to our road network.  Are these taken into consideration in the allocations?  We have additional roads through taking housing estates in charge and through the abolition of Town Councils.  The CIS allocation always came later in the year.  Is there an opportunity to go back to the Minister and ask again for it?

Cllr Buckley (SF):  Same again about LPT and CIS …

Cllr Fitzgerald (FF):  Asks about the Mallow bypass.  Is it on or is it off?  Is there any definite information on it?  Last information we had was that it would be tied into the Cork-Limerick motorway.  CIS very disappointing.  We in our Municipal District asked for a meeting to discuss the Mallow by-pass with the Minister but we haven’t had any response.

Cllr PG Murphy (FF):  More on the N71 … deplorable that peripheral areas are being forgotten about.


Aidan Weir

  • Macroom – Ballyvourney bypass: 120 landowners.  Deals concluded with 40.  Payments made to very few at this stage.  2 negotiations gone to arbitrarion.  Construction – don’t know.  Current allocation is for land acquisition.
  • Reduction in non-national roads does include for the increased length of roads.
  • €1.073m was allocated for storm damage last year and some has carried over until this year.
  • Community Involvement Scheme – 74 schemes were carried out over the last two years.  Very popular.  Where there are outstanding commitments to people on those roads they will be included this year at the expense of the Restoration Improvement Grant.
  • N72 – 4 grants.  Identified locations. Will go to tender in March and will likely be completed this year.
  • There will be every effort made to avoid full road closure – to Cllr McCarthy (Lab)
  • Specific improvement grant and strategic improvement grants have been almost stopped by the Department.  Unless previous commitments had been made.  Commitments had been made to cover land acquisition but no commitment for design or build.
  • Owenahincha section of road – design will be completed this summer and we are hopeful there will be an allocation maybe later this year.
  • Bridges – there is a further €978k allocated to regional and local road bridges.  This is attached.
  • Northern Relief Road, Mallow – no allocation.
  • Kanturk bridge is specific improvement grants scheme and the Dept has said it will not fund these schemes for the foreseeable future.
  • Fota road – problem is realigning.  €35m is the estimated cost.  Agrees is very important.

Cllrs Murphy (SF), McGrath (FF), K McCarthy (SF), O’Flynn (FF), O’Laoghaire (SF), T Collins (Ind), O’Grady (SF), A Moynihan (FF) and Sullivan (FF) with supplementaries.

Aidan Weir:

  • R626 – we’ll try to get it included in resurfacing schemes going forward
  • Low cost safety improvement schemes – some may not proceed.  This always happens and we replace them with other schemes.
  • No overall figure for the Carrigaline Western Relief Road completion.  Will revert to Cllr O’Laoghaire.
  • CIS – there is no funding for the taking over of cul-de-sacs.  Local Improvement Schemes are also private roads and will not be funded.
  • €300k of allocation this year is to wrap up the repairs that were caused this time last year with the storms.
  • Not sure where we go from here with the N71.

Mayor:  Disappointed that the N71 is not on the list.  But pleased to see the Buttevant road being done.  It was previously an embarrassment to the county.  N28 road is strategically very important.  We have sought a meeting with the Minister – if we are to progress many of our important roads we need the Strategic Regional and Local Roads scheme up and running.  It won’t come out of general funds.  Thinks people in cul-de-sacs are being left down by local and national government.  Many people built big houses in there and paid hefty development contributions.  Now roads aren’t looked after and these people are willing to pay the 25% required by the CIS.  Need to meet the Minister to discuss these issues.


Opening of two tenders: sea wall repairs at Union Hall and another for an embankment in Mallow.


6.  Report of Chief Executive on Economic Development.

Louis Duffy, Director of Services

  • Report is done on the basis of 2014.
  • 2014 was a time of change in that the former Enterprise Boards became part of the Council in the establishment of Enterprise Offices.
  • Cork County Council has been involved for many years in economic development and supporting job creation in the county.
  • LEOs – foster enterprise culture, etc.  Are very much at the level of the smaller enterprise, leading ultimately to Enterprise Ireland.
  • Encouraging clustering and joint marketing so people can benefit from the scale of the county.
  • Economic Development Fund (EDF) established in 2011 by setting aside 1% of the rate base of the county.
  • Council has extensive economic infrastructure.  67 industrial units.  18 updated to food industry standards.    Working on developing of Food Enterprise Kitchens.  This is novel and unique to Cork County.
  • Tourism development – have an amount of tourism infrastructure.  Camden – working with local community and ETB to bring this to viable tourism offering.  Fantastic opportunity.
  • Training and marketing in food export.  Green Shoots – geared towards developing and supporting and marketing new entities.
  • Supporting other activities – we put much investment into supporting festivals and other community-level activities.
  • Wild Atlantic Way popularity is increasing all the time.
  • Have tried to look with European partners about how to lengthen the stay of tourists to Cork.
  • North Cork – fantastic area for activity based holidays.  We hope to increase the visitor numbers by promoting it.
  • Profile raising of infrastructure is a big emphasis.

Mayor:  Cork County Council has a wide involvement in economic development.

Cllr Fitzgerald (FF):  Is Chair of the Economic SPC.  The benefits here are clear.  Very broad list of activities and works to be done.  Is a very busy area and its great to see that we have participation throughout Cork City and County in certain projects.  The EDF was a very good idea and it has worked well.  Allows people to look for loans and grants.  Thanks Louis for the report and presentation.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  Economic development committee of Cork County Council used to do this work.  We are now talking about LEOs.  What are they bringing that is extra in the package?  Understands that Enterprise Ireland is the overarching body from the enterprise point of view.  Is there a budget coming from Enterprise Ireland?  Most of these things in this report could be attributed to Cork County Council alone.  So what are the LEOs doing?  Programmes like Ignite, Beacon – maybe some of this funding should be kept for direct intervention in the more disadvantaged areas of the county.  Macroom E – what are they doing now?

Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG):  Economic development is a great initiative for our rural areas.  These initiatives have given real support in areas such as West Cork.  Cruise tourism development and festivals bring in greater tourism to the area, create employment for local people and sustains local jobs.  Good news story for Cork County Council.

Cllr O’Donnabhain (FF):  Thanks Louis for the report.  Shows scale and breadth of activities which this Council has a hand to play in.  Cork Convention Bureau – is there direct financial contribution to that?  Would appear to contribute huge bang for buck, particularly with regard to the upcoming Conference Centre in the city.  Refers to the Dublin Airport Authority letter and to the proposals for the City-County boundary.  Sees from this report that the County and City seem to co-operate quite well.  Would like comment from Executive please.

Cllr Cullinane (Ind):  Thanks Louis for the report.  Several aspects in the report that she sees for the first time.  Saw value in Ignite programme.  In Cobh, lots of businesses have benefited from the Beacon project.  Sometimes finds an overlap with finances and is not always clear about this division.  Under EDF, should our festivals be going down this route or to their Municipal Districts?  Also through ETB have had several communications with Davis College.  Came back from China with very positive experiences.  Question about the Community Tourism Diaspora Fund.  €32k being made available in each of the years 2014, 15 and 16.  Will this be a separate allocation or has it been followed into the overall?  Lusitania – we are hosting the main formalities of the commemoration that day.  Would like clarity on the financial assistance we are going to get.  Is it to come out of our Municipal District or is it a clear separate funding stream?

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Good insight into LEOs.  Good insight into EDF.  Compliments it and is pleased with it.  CDBs that were created in 2000 had a role to play in social inclusion.  This seems to be lost along the way in this new set-up.  Could it be included in the EDF, targeting a certain kind of business?  Educational attainment is linked to future job prospects and income.  We have many students who might need support.  Could the EDF have any role to play in this?  Maybe employers could be encouraged to take on apprentices from a disadvantaged background?  At the moment there are hundreds of trades people out there who worked during the Celtic Tiger years who are at the mercy of agencies who hire them.  The agencies give them a few days work and the rest of the time they are drawing benefit.  The agencies are exploiting the workers.  If they had back up they might be able to branch out on their own. But without support, they cannot.  Could the EDF give them a resource office?

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  The Irish Open was an outstanding success.  Retail Forum (?) one the major successes of the EDF.  Not mentioned in the report.  Outstanding for small family businesses who are involved.

Cllr Dawson (FG):  Thanks Louis.  Is on the Board of the Enterprise Board in Mitchelstown.  The Beacon initiative was particularly good in that it got businesses to see that you market Mitchelstown as a whole, not just the individual business.  Would love more support in the tourism area.

Cllr Hayes (SF):  Finds Louis very approachable to work with on tourism initiatives and thanks him for report.  The report is full of examples of very positive engagements.  The Irish Open was a huge success – worked himself at the Irish Open in Killarney a number of years ago.  It was a major success but last year’s at Fota was even better.  Looking forward to Lusitania weekend coming up in May.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Success for Cork County.  Thinks that as time goes on, the County’s economic focus will be a national leader.  Can we focus on the delivery of broadband throughout the county?  Very poor in a lot of areas.  We should be focusing on that more.  Agrees with comments about tourism.  If City expansion goes ahead, that will be all the rural areas of the County have left.


  • LEOs – there has been significance to them.  Their budgets and staffing come from Enterprise Ireland.  EDF focus is for 7 areas – tourism, food, town retail, capital investment, etc.  But LEO knowledge on the ground is significant.  Co-ordinated basis is working well.  LECP will also bring in this enterprise sector.
  • Energy Cork and Cork Innovates – support these.
  • Joint tourism strategy for the entire of Cork county.
  • Work on branding the entire county has been underway for the last 12 months.
  • Cork Convention Bureau has been highly successful.  Operates outside of the total remit of the local authorities but we do have staff directors on it.  Has really increased the number of events coming into Cork.  Will be a real asset to the Convention Centre when it is built.
  • Food area has been successful.  EDF is also to facilitate joint working between City and County.
  • Festivals – we need to determine policy on that.  Under the broad heading of tourism, there are festivals in the county which are up and running and of significance.  They are probably EDF.  But there are local festivals which are just as valuable to local communities and the Municipal Districts should probably fund those.  But policy is being worked up on this at present.  There will be no funding shortage.
  • Broadband is supported by the Department of Communications.  We will be getting a presentation on that.  This Council was very successful 7 – 8 years ago in investment €1m of our own funds in broadband.  Then the Department gave more.  We wouldn’t be engaging directly in broadband provision without concurrent national funding.
  • Social inclusion – anything that supports food development, festivals, etc. and some labour activation measures has a social inclusion aspect.  The policies have been signed off by the SPC and they could be asked directly about a specific social inclusion remit.  This should be under SONAS and we don’t want to duplicate the work that they are doing.
  • Grants and loans was successful but we now have microfinance Ireland.  Small loosening in the funding supports for small enterprise.  Don’t think grants and loans are merited at this time.  There are national agencies who can do this.


Louis Duffy:

  • MacroomE and its liaison with E centres generally.  MacroomE has developed the new E centres for us.  We want a consistent offering across the county.  Some E centres can get up and running well, others need support for longer.  We are looking at continuing engagement using the service of Macroom E to facilitate this consistency over as long as is needed.
  • WE have some proposals for new E centres.
  • EDF – we are currently looking at changing the priorities within it.  Will be coming back to the Economic SPC.  Want to prioritise tourism and food.  Town retail  – we would like to prioritise this also.  Also want to focus on key regional cooperation partnerships.  Capital investment generally.  Strategic marketing too.
  • Diaspora is an ongoing fund.  It is countywide.  Came late last year.  Is one third funded by Bord Failte, one third by Cork County Council and one third by the Department.


Mayor:  National Diaspora Centre – disappointing that this will not be proceeding.  The final two bids in were for Dun Laoghaire and Cork.  But we will continue to work the best we can for economic development in its widest possible form.


[e]           NOTICES OF MOTION

7.              Councillor Ger Keohane:
“That this Council calls on the Financial regulator to review the current interest rate on loans from licenced moneylenders and that caps on interest rates should be at a maximum of 40% APR.”

Cllr Keohane (SF):  The harsh reality of austerity is for many families now coming home to roost after Christmas.  They apply for a loan and they are asked how much they can pay back.  This is very pertinent on when the family is from and depending on whether they are on social welfare.  Spoke of the costs and impacts of money lending.  Asks that we ask the Financial regulator to cap the interest rates on loans from moneylenders such that they are realistic and affordable for people who are forced to use them.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Seconds the motion.  Very important.  People often find it hard to access credit and turn to moneylenders.  Some of the interest rates they are charging are extortionate.  Deputy Pearse Doherty moved legislation on this but it was not accepted by government.  This is an issue that is coming home to roost for an awful lot of people.  That level of interest should not be legal.

Cllr Doyle (FF):  Due to the cutbacks we have seen the re-emergence of moneylending in the county.  Cllr Keohane and himself are part of an organisation that is trying to give money to compensate for the cutbacks and it is very difficult.

Cllr Cullinane (Ind):  Supports in full.  Disgrace that moneylending is as popular now as it was in post-war days.  We need to support our lower income families as much as we can.


8.              Councillor Seamus McGrath:
“That the Council consider setting up a Community Warden Scheme to assist in tackling the substantial problem of dog fouling and littering.  The main aim of such a scheme would be to increase public awareness of the ongoing and widespread problem.”

Dog fouling is a problem all over the county.  We as an authority have not been able to put sufficient resources into it, either into enforcement or into public awareness of the issue.  We are losing the battle on it.  Dog fouling is prevalent everywhere.  Presents enormous difficulties.  Is trying to think outside the box and to see what approaches we can take to address the issue.  Members of the public have tried to complement our efforts here – Tidy Towns is one example of that.  There is a pool of support out there that we might be able to tap into in a structured way.  Garda reserve is getting extra duties – people are willing to volunteer their time if there s a system put in place.  This is a technique to try to raise awareness of it.  Community wardens would patrol areas where there is a seriously high incidence of dog fouling.  Initiative can be teased out in greater detail.  Recognises there are proposals to introduce microchipping – doesn’t see that as solving the problem.  There may be training involved and some resources from the Council would be required to set up such a scheme but the return in investment would be great value.


10.            Councillor Marcia D’Alton:
“To request a report detailing Cork County Council’s current policy on dog fouling.  To include:
(i)         the facilities Cork County Council provides to support the responsible management of dog waste
(ii)       the practical and financial supports Cork County Council currently offers to assist communities in keeping streets free of dog waste
(iii)      the public awareness measures undertaken by Cork County Council highlighting the health risks associated with dog waste
(iv)      The number of on-the-spot fines issued for dog fouling in 2014.”

Click here for Executive’s response to the motion: Response to my motion

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Introduction to the motion published separately.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  Compliments Cllr D’Alton on her research!  There is an onus on dog owners.  They must look after the dogs and the way they treat their neighbours.  Microchipping is to be welcomed.  Dog fouling is a major issue in our towns and villages.  Walking routes – people from outside are coming in and walking their dogs.  Causing major problems for shop owners and businesses.  There is a law there, it is an offence under the law if the owner does not clean up.  The law is not being implemented successfully.  Thinks the County Council could come on board here.  Would like to support the community dog warden proposal.  Thinks there should be far more signage.  A lot of the proposals Cllr D’Alton made should be worthwhile.  Let the issue go back to the SPC.

Cllr Canty (FG):  Supports the two motions.  We have discussed this issue so many times.  How do we stop this?  People in the Regional Park will open the boot of the car, the dog jumps out and away he goes.  There are over 200 matches played in the park in a month.  How do they know?  We have more signs than we need.  People will just walk past them.  Health and safety issue is not widely known.   In Cork County Council we brought our dog wardens in to patrol the regional park in Ballincollig.  It was great for a while and then all of a sudden it went back to normal.  When the weir collapsed and the canals dried up and IFI was rescuing fish, the IFI was asking dog owners to please take care of their dogs and keep them on a lead.  Dogs have to be kept on leads in some areas.  People must also clean up after them.  Sick of looking at signs.  To genuine people, I say thank you.

Cllr Rasmussen (Lab):  Every town and village has this problem.  Cobh too.  Resources and education are the key to this.  Involved with the soccer club and we are always trying to keep pitch clean.  Concerned that problems would develop between wardens and dog owners with the Community Warden concept.  Would like the issue to go back to the SPC.  In Cobh we have the litter/parking warden but they are two completely different activities.

Cllr M Murphy (SF):  Supports both motions.  Passage area is a disgrace.  Best walkway in the county.  Hoping something can be done about it.

Cllr N Collins (Ind):  On a recent trip to Drogheda, saw plastic pants and nappies on pets.  Other pet owners are now training the dog to use the family home toilet.  If jarveys in Killarney can use nappies, we surely should be able to train dogs to do the same.

Cllr Fitzgerald (FF):  Dog fouling has become a major problem.  Brought in pilot system in Mallow where we erected boxes a few years ago but they are not having the same effect any more.  People moving away from these areas and on to our main street.  There are very good people out there but poo not picked up is a major health issue.  The problem is getting worse.

Cllr Hayes (SF):  Supporting both motions.  Also relevant to beaches.  After this was discussed at Municipal District level last year, a group in Bantry contacted him.  They are managing dog poo and it might be worth talking to them.

Cllr Lenihan-Foley (Ind):  Supports both motions.  It’s like dodging landmines in my home town of Youghal.  Have to keep jumping past the dog poo.  It is a disgrace.  We tried lots of initiatives but have to come back – thinks it is about education and getting into the schools.  Educating our children and young people.  We’ve tried with vets explaining the dangers of dog poo.  Not fair that people who have animals woudld not pick up.  Pooper scoopers are free in our Municipal District ofice.

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF):  DNA recording of all dogs would solve the problem.  It is used in other countries.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  The report on Cllr D’Alton’s motion shows what a serious problem it is.  Is especially bad for users of wheelchairs and buggies.  Spoke of a young lad with a wheelchair.  The wheels were covered in dog poo and his two hands got badly dirtied.  We have an SPC meeting after lunch and it will be under AOB.  But education is where it is at and it should be part of the school curriculum.  Will be on the agenda for the next meeting.  Will try to work up a programme.

CE:  Very clear that this boils down to community behaviour.  Facts are there to support some sort of community scheme.  Presents a significant health risk and you can get ill from it.  Not easy to solve.  There have been some very good suggestions presented from elsewhere.  Takes a lot of reosources and a lot of time to solve this problem.  Not convinced that signage and advertising will resolve this issue.  Maybe the Environment SPC could examine whether a community scheme would assist.  Not to pass the buck but to help people to recognise that people are fouling their own community.


9.              Councillor Des O’Grady:
“That this Council provides a written report on the number of dwellings sold by Cork County Council in each of the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The report to contain:

  • The number and type of units sold and the total income earned from sales in each separate year.
  • The number of units sold in each of the 3 years by separate category e.g., Social Housing / Shared Ownership Scheme/ Affordable Housing Scheme/ Tenant Purchase Scheme etc.”

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

CE: We have a voids programme which puts a certain cap.  We brought 155 voids back into stock last year.  The sort of money spent on these would not be sufficient to do up the houses that were sold.  Doesn’t have detail on the time the houses were vacant or legal issues, etc.

The rest of the motions and correspondence were deferred.



18.            VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS (if any)

Cllr O’Sullivan (FF):  To all those involved with Inchydoney Beach for a few years now.  Best beach in Ireland on TripAdvisor two years running.  And to the Environment staff of Cork County Council who have done wonderful work.  To Cork County Council outdoor staff too.  There’s been a LEADER scheme involved in keeping the beach presentable.  Jewel in the crown of West Cork beaches and it shows what can be done with little funding.  Urges management to keep that stream of funding coming.  Access to the beach is not good enough and would like this to be improved.  Need some forward thinking and investment.


19.            ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Cllr Buckley (SF):  Is there a delay with the wwtp plant in Youghal?  Could we possibly get a report?

Supported by M Hegarty (FG).

Cllr Doyle (FF):  One of the estates that we are taking over but cannot has a serious health and safety issue.  If there is an accident, is Cork County Council responsible for the health and safety within the estate?  In this case, the 4 houses at the fence are occupied by Council tenants.

Cllr Hayes (SF):  Has the Council had an opportunity to contact letting agents explaining the HAP process?

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Pay parking policy – we were told that it would be before us today.  When will it be here?

Mayor:  Minister for the Marine was to hand over a vessel to the Maltese authorities.  Would the Council ask the Minister to consider floating it in Cork Harbour as a museum?  Proposal seconded by Michael Hegarty.


  • Will find out and update the East Cork Municipal District on the Youghal wwtp.
  • We’re not responsible for any estate unless it is taken in charge.
  • HAP – not sure if we liaised with auctioneers; not part of our programme of work but takes suggestion on board.
  • Pay parking policy was agreed and believes it will be discussed at the next full Council meeting.


Notes from a meeting of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District, 16th February 2015

Executive present: Kevin O’Regan (Municipal District Officer), Maurice Manning (S/Director of Services), Madeleine Healy (Area Engineer), Niall O’Callaghan (A/Senior Executive Engineer, Roads)


1.  Confirmation of Minutes
To consider the confirmation and signing of the Minutes of the Meeting held on 19th January 2015.

Confirmed and seconded.

Matters arising :

Cllr D’Alton:  Asks for clarification of how the 30kph speed limit in estates will be progressed.  Manager had been going to check this up.  Also has the statutory process for consultation on the litter plan started.  If not, please could the Members be informed when the consultation is starting?

MDO:  Spoke to John Donegan.  Will be introduced on a county-wide basis.  The time for the full county review of speed limits is coming up so he’s not sure if the 30km limit will be taken out and done separately or whether it will be incorporated.  Will speak further to Aidan Weir.

Cllr Forde:  These were separately done.  Girl from Kilkenny is outside the Dail today.  Are we kicking to touch?  Is there a chance these won’t be implemented?

MDO:  No.  They will be done.  The same process is involved for the 5 pilot estates as for the whole county.  Long process.  So Aidan Weir will decide how to proceed with it overall.

DoS:  Understanding is that each of the Municipal Districts will decide 5 estates as pilots and then all the pilots will be advertised together.

Cllr Forde:  Ardkeale is asking for traffic calming.  Has a petition.  Estate is in the hands of a receiver.  What authority has the Council to put this forward?  We have told residents that if they put a petition together they would get traffic calming.

DoS:  Guidance from the Department is that all estates will ultimately have 30 kph but the Council thinks this is not practical.  Until an estate is taken in charge, the Council can do nothing.

Cllr McGrath:  Movement this week from the campaigners seems to be towards a 20 kph speed limit.  Is there to be any change in our approach because of this?

Cllr Forde:  That will happen nationally and then we’ll be informed.

DoS:  Consultation on the Litter Plan hasn’t yet started.  Waiting for all Municipal Districts to be ready.  Will tell us when statutory consultation period will start.


2.  Consideration of Reports and Recommendations:

National Transport Authority approved projects 2015 (SEE, Roads)

The seven projects funded are:

  • Tramore Valley N40 Pedestrian and Cycle Overbridge
  • South Douglas Road/Tramore Valley Cycle Link
  • Carrigaline Green Route – Maryborough Hill
  • Douglas Village Sustainable Transport Network
  • Cycle and Pedestrian Links at N40 Underbridges
  • Old Carrigaline Road
  • Douglas Community Park

Tramore Valley N40 pedestrian and cycle overbridge – This is being set out in conjunction with Cork City Council.  Funding is helping towards funding preliminary design.  Funding towards construction is not yet sourced.  Costing is one of the action items of the preliminary design.

Cycle link – This is an existing but unused pathway upgrade.  Again being carried out with Cork City Council.  The City Council will maintain the infrastructure as part of the Tramore Valley Park infrastructure.

Green Route – Funding allocated for completion of the project.  Phase 2 will be completed by the end of this month.  CPO for final section has commenced.  All construction can be expected to be finished by end 2015.

Douglas Village – Finalising preliminary design for improved village junctions in line with Douglas LUTS.  Design will have to be agreed with the NTA.  Then design will be presented to Members.  After that, it will go to Part 8 planning.

N40 underbridges – For the Douglas East bridge, only the east side is being worked on.  For the Douglas West bridge, both sides are being worked on.  Works will involve removal of a section of bridge embankment to accommodate future pedestrian and cycle facilities.  Will be done during school holidays.

Old Carrigaline Road – This funding will complete the works and will also improve lighting.

Projects that weren’t allocated funding were supported by the NTA and CCC hopes to get funding for these at a later date.   These are Ballybrack Valley Shared Cyclist and Pedestrian Route Phase 2 and Inchvale Road Shared Cyclist and Pedestrian Route.

Cllr Forde:  Thanks Niall and his colleagues for the great work done.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:  Bridge linking Tramore Valley park is potentially very exciting.  Good to see this being progressed.  These projects are very valuable.  Disappointed that Inchvale Road was not funded.  Will it be 12 months before this is potentially funded again?  Hopes that next year this list will include Lehenaghbeg/Lehenaghmore roads and the Carrigaline Relief Road.  LUTS very well thought out but is it absolutely set in stone because some concern about some business owners that connectivity with Douglas Road may be reduced?

Cllr O’Donnabhain:  Thanks staff for report.  Significant amount of works funded here.  But there is not a single mention of the largest town in the entire county here.  Will there be a supplementary in relation to Ballincollig?

Cllr McGrath:  Thanks Niall.  The Douglas LUTS has been shown to be a worthwhile strategy.  Junctions in Douglas village – funding is for preparation of detailed design and contract document.  There will be Part 8s involved in many of those changes.  Could Niall comment on this?  Is funding only for design or is the County Council actually intending to do work on the ground?  What work on the ground will there be generally in 2015?  Crossing at Donnybrook Hill (Scart Cross) is also a recommendation of the DLUTS.  Why upgrade an existing crossing when there is none at all at Scart Cross?  Situation quite serious at Scart Cross.  Was this an NTA call or a Council call?   Did you actually apply for funding for Scart Cross?

Cllr Desmond:  Great to see Douglas LUTS rolling out.  Has anyone ever considered a filter lane to the left as you’re doing down the South Douglas Road and under the western N40 underbridge?  Huge traffic issues here at any time of the day because there is no filter to the left.

Cllr Collins:  Thanks for presentation.  Situation with Ballincollig mirrors that in Carrigaline.  Has the split in Carrigaline come against the town.  Cogan’s Corner project has disappeared entirely.

Cllr Forde:  Welcomes the NTA funding.  Great to see it coming to the county.  The NTA modus operandi is to create permeability and accessibility.  Crossings at Douglas Court do not feature here at all.  Lighting here is poor, etc.  Why is that not added?  Many senior citizens are very nervous crossing there.  By the church in Carrigaline is not mentioned.  Many crossings there which straddle the NRA remit and the Council’s remit.  Why are these not here?  Thinks we need to be looking at the entrance to Patrick’s Woollen Mills.  Pedestrian crossing is at the wrong side of that entrance.  Should be on the South County side.  Trucks trying to turn in here and there isn’t enough room for them.

Cllr Harris:  Welcomes the allocations.  Inchvale Road cycleway – lots of local opposition.  Many elderly residents not happy to lose their green to the walkway/cyclepath.  We could do with a raised footpath there to stop people parking up on it.

Cllr D’Alton:  Could Niall please outline whether the pedestrian crossings that have been mentioned are not included because NTA funded projects are strategic rather than simple upgrading or maintenance?  Must all NTA funded projects be strategic?

SEE, Roads:  Funding allocated is for the design of junctions, etc. in Douglas.  We’re to-ing and fro-ing with the NTA as to what will work best for the whole village.  Once we have a proposed preliminary design that we’re happy with and that is agreed with the NTA, we will come to the Members.  Then we will go to Part 8.  We have good momentum going with this project and we want to keep it up.  RPS is currently doing the design.  That does up to contract documents.  But that’s it.  The South Douglas Road/Tramore Valley cycle link will be done on the ground this year.  The surface is quite poor there.  Maryborough Hill will be completed.  Underbriges will be done.  This is accommodation works; other works will come out in the preliminary design for creating that whole network.  So we’re going to take out the embankments, put in a retaining wall so that we can use that space for cyclepaths in the future.  There will just be footpaths in the short term.  Douglas Community Park widening of footpath will be done on the ground.  The Donnybrook crossing has been suggested to the NTA and it also links to the Ballybrack Cycle track.  Yes, the NTA funds projects with a strategic backing.  They want to see something that is being done with other plans for other works down the line.  They want to see a strategic plan.  The filter lane under the western underbridge was considered as part of the traffic modelling.  Ultimate proposal is to take out the roundabout and put in a signalised slipway.  Will also be linking that junction to the City Councils scoot system so all the traffic lights will be talking to each other.  By linking those lights together with those at the junction of Tesco, it is hoped that the current congestion will be alleviated.

Cllr Forde:  Thinks there could be more liaison between the local Area Engineer and the NTA approved projects.  Wouldn’t there be more sense in working together?  Appreciates the strategic focus of the NTA projects.  What about the land in front of Ronan O’Gara’s house on Maryborough Hill?

SEE, Roads:  Have started a CPO on this land.  There is no strategic plan for Ballincollig as there is for Douglas.

Cllr O’Donnabhain:  Largest town in the County.  No transport provision from the NTA for the year at all?  If we start at the Poulavone Roundabout, we move in and come to the Link Road junction with Leesdale.  Lobbied for 3 years to change this.  Done in 2014.  Have situations at 3 other locations, including East Gate.  Executives at VM Ware have stated that the traffic issue in Ballincollig has made them consider other locations for future expansions.  Finding the NTA overlooking the largest town in the county as being completely unacceptable.

AE:  Doesn’t fall into the precise remit of the local engineer’s office.  The programme of works here are based on a decision that was made a few years ago in relation to the strategic development of the Douglas area.  Ballincollig needs to be looked at for sure, but these works are based on a plan that was devised to deal with the congestion in Douglas.

Cllr O’Donnabhain:  Not taking away from Douglas but we have follow-on problems arising from changes made a few years ago.  National primary route is going through the middle of the town.  Would the NTA like to come visit us and explain why they are giving nothing to Ballincollig?  Major glaring problems have been pointed out over and over.  Costing us employment and jobs.

AE:  NTA is looking at enhancing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists only.  Won’t deal with day to day traffic congestion.  That is not their remit.  Problems in Ballincollig are more to do with the national route and the associated issues following on from the Green Route.

SEE, Roads:  Cogan’s Corner has not fallen off the list.  Every year we have shovel-ready projects for funding that comes additional to the first allocation.  We are hopeful there will be such funding this year.  It will be ready to go for that.

Cllr McGrath:  Scart Cross – appreciates Niall’s point.  Could we link Ballybrack Phase 2 with Scart Cross in future?  That would make it more strategic and help it get funding.  We had a series of meetings during the course of the DLUTS preparation.  We emphasised the importance of the sequencing and the implementation of the Plan.  Can we schedule a DLUTS update meeting?  Would help the new Members and refresh all as to what happens when.  This part is very important.  Funding is geared towards Douglas.  No surprise because the view of the NTA is urban-oriented.  We don’t have a bypass road in Carrigaline either.  Doesn’t appear that the NTA will be funding out as far as Carrigaline in future.  For those sustainable travel projects to take off, we need to find alternative sources of funding and we need to be mindful of that and face up to the reality that the NTA isn’t going to fund them.

SEE, Roads:  NTA has indicated that they like the plan for Douglas.  They are funding a project in Little Island however.  DLUTS is a 5-year plan up to 2017.

Cllr Forde:  Thanks Niall and his colleagues.


3.  Disposal of Property
To consider the disposal of property at Church Road, Carrigaline, Co. Cork to Carrigaline Community Association, Carrigaline, Co. Cork for the consideration of €1.

Proposed and seconded.


4.  General Municipal Allocation (GMA) / Town Development Fund (TDF)

DoS:  Expect to be coming back with recommendations to Members on the grants in April.  There is no hard and fast rule as to how the applications will be allocated.  We’ll see what comes in.  Capital projects – if there is any doubt that the project may not go ahead in the short term, it may be best to wait until next year.  We are anxious that projects would push ahead as fast as possible.  Organisations need matching funding.  They should not be using our funding to start the fundraising.

Asks Members to consider the Town Development Fund Guidelines and to think about how the Town Development Fund might be spent.  The towns are defined as the settlements laid out in the County Development Plan.

Cllr Forde:  Could the TDF be used to upgrade the pedestrian crossing at Exham House?

DoS:  Funding is limited.  If all of it is to go on a single project, we won’t get the best use of it.  Not including or excluding anything, just need to give it thought.  Four towns – small amount of money.  Maybe should prioritise?

Cllr O’Laoghaire:  Welcomes the substantial increase in community funding.  Presumes we’ll evaluate the number of grants that come in and see what is left over.  It was clarified at CPG that urban areas would be included.  Painting scheme would be worth including.  Projects of artistic value, Christmas lights also.

Cllr McGrath:  We need to focus our minds as to how this will be used best.  Have to make a decision as to how much of the GMA will be put towards the TDF.

Cllr D’Alton:  It is difficult to prioritise or proceed constructively without a plan.  Could we keep in mind that the TDF might prioritise a plan for each town?  Also agrees with Cllr O’Laoghaire’s suggestions for inclusion?


5.  To consider the following Notices of Motion in the name of:

Cllr M D’Alton:
“That as the Traffic and Transport Strategic Policy Committee has not produced all-county guidelines for pay parking arrangements as requested by the Members and the Corporate Policy Group for end 2014, the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District would now instigate the formal process for amending the Douglas Parking Byelaws as agreed by the Members of this Municipal District at its meeting on the 21st July 2014 and in accordance with the procedures laid down by Section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1994.”

Cllr D’Alton:  This motion is self-explanatory.  Douglas has pay parking.  We have heard the many benefits of pay parking.  They are all accurate.  But there can be disadvantages also.  In the case of Douglas, these disadvantages can, in the short term, be overcome by simple amendment of the Parking Byelaws.  We as Members agreed this in July.  We were not permitted to advance formal procedures under the Road Traffic Act before the Traffic & Transport SPC had finished devising an all-county policy on pay parking.

I do not criticise the SPC for the delay in producing this all-county policy.  I am aware that a special meeting to further discuss the policy is to be organised for February.  But I do criticise the fact that whatever amendments this MD proposes for the Douglas Parking Byelaws is being thus delayed.

I cannot understand why there should be any tension in relation to this issue.  Not one of the Members has said that they don’t want pay parking in Douglas.  They simply want to make small changes to current policy make it work better for all.  To my mind, that is something management should welcome.  We are taking Council policy and, from the benefit of our experience on the ground, making suggestions to make it better.  Surely that is what local government is all about?

The amendments to the Douglas Parking Byelaws are totally independent of the work being currently undertaken by the SPC.  In fact, had they been enacted by now, they could have been very useful in informing the all-county policy being drafted by the SPC.

We as Members proposed that the first hour of parking would be free of charge.  Does management consider that too long?  Then let us talk about it and reach a compromise on a shorter free time period.  But this ball simply has to get rolling.  If we act now, we can have these changes made within a month.  I propose that we instigate the formal process for amending the Douglas Parking Byelaws as the Members agreed in July in accordance the procedures we are obliged to follow under the Road Traffic Act 1994.

Cllr McGrath:   Strongly of the view that change is required.  His motion in July kicked off that request of this Municipal District.  The SPC is meeting on Thursday of this week.  Thinks that is a flawed concept.  It is not possible to come up with an all-county policy.  In Feb 2013, David Boyle and himself suggested changes to the Byelaws.  Then it went to the SPC.  There is still no result.  Management must come into this.  Maybe makes sense to wait till after Thursday.  Doesn’t think management is going to allow us to proceed in advance of Thursday’s meeting.

Cllr Desmond:  We’re all in agreement.  We were asked to wait for the February meeting.  Thinks we should wait for this.  But SPC needs to be told that we are waiting for an immediate response.  Everything is taking a month and two months at a time.  Hopes there will be concrete recommendation.  But shouldn’t wait any longer than our next meeting.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:   This is an issue we thought we had received indications that would be resolved by December.  Indications were that the proposed policy would be very difficult to reach agreement on.  Also the first all-county proposals were financially negative for Municipal Districts who were to vary pay parking regime.  What exactly is the process?  Is there any aspect of it that can be started in advance of the SPC meeting?  Thought the relaxation around Christmas time showed there are no huge negative implications for traffic flow from amendment of the byelaws.

Cllr Harris:  Could we instruct the local traffic wardens in the interim to ease off on their brutal enforcement of the Byelaws?   Between that and the clampers it’s nearly impossible.  Met a couple of them but didn’t get very nice responses.  Their attitude is not good at all.  Douglas is deserted.  Parking spaces all over the place.  People working there are at their wits end.  The private situation is appalling as well.  It is becoming a no go area apart from the shopping centre.  Otherwise you’re under constant threat of being clamped or a getting ticket.

Cllr Forde:  We need to be careful what we say about how people operate their jobs but take his point that thinks need to be tweaked.  Need to be careful about the baby and the bathwater syndrome.

DoS:  The evidence that Douglas is a no-go area and that people are afraid of clamping is simply not there.  Important the Members see how pay parking has performed since it was introduced two years ago.  Level of transactions has increased.  Not true that nothing has happened in Douglas since the pay parking was introduced.  There have been an number of motions on this issue and on issues with regard to pay parking in other towns.  CE said that these motions should not be dealt with at Municipal District level.  Draft policy submitted by SPC was not agreed.  Revised document has now been prepared.  If there is agreement, it will be rerferred to next Monday’s full Council meeting.  This will allow the matter to be considered at the March Municipal District.

One of the recommendations of the draft policy is that Municipal Districts can decide how they want to introduce pay parking under the broad umbrella of the policy.

Cllr Forde: The private car parks in Douglas are doing very well.  The shortest possible route to a shop seems to be what concerns people.

Cllr D’Alton:  Arising from this meeting, we at least need a deadline.  Should policy not be agreed at the SPC meeting, can we set a deadline for ourselves by which we will initiate the changes to the Byelaws?

Cllr McGrath:  Agrees.

DoS:  If the SPC agrees a policy, that will be the Council policy.  If they don’t, it will be a matter for each Municipal District to decide.


Cllr D Forde:
a)  “That the Engineer outlines the roads program of works for 2015 and also footpath program”.

AE:  Has circulated the proposed restoration improvement programme for 2015.  Assumed when drawing this up that the 2015 allocation would be similar to 2014 allocation.  It might need fine-tuning when the allocation is announced but it will form the bedrock of the roads programme.

Restoration maintenance – have a draft list ready.  Once we know what the money we are getting is, we’ll put it together.  Thinks it should be confirmed for the March meeting.

There is no indication that there is separate funding for footpaths. We may have to set aside some portion of our general funding.  But given the urban nature of the area, footpaths will be important.

Cllr McGrath:  Manager has said that he will consider allocating funding towards footpaths in the capital budget.


b)  “That the Engineer clarifies if the Council is responsible for the section of roadway between east village and Ulster bank and upgrade same”.

AE:  Is in the charge of the Council and is on the list.  AE will recirculate the list.


c)  “That the crossing at Fingerpost between Exham house and Rochestown road be upgraded urgently for pedestrian safety”.

AE:  Have asked that all the entry points to the Fingerpost roundabout would have enhanced lighting.  The figure to achieve it is quite substantial.  Will speak to Peter O’Donoghue as to how the crossing points will be dealt with under DLUTS.  There is a crossing further down opposite Douglas Court.  Need to assess whether upgrading of this crossing would upset traffic flow.  Assuming nothing is being done to upgrade the crossing, it will take quite a lot of money to make it safe.

Cllr Forde:  By the time the NTA gets around to starting the Fingerpost, this cannot wait that long.  Most people coming up from the Rochestown Road don’t go to Douglas by Douglas Court; they cross to Exham House.

AE:  We can look at lining what’s there.  It is an uncontrolled crossing.   To upgrade it even to a zebra crossing or a pelican crossing would need substantial investment.


Cllr. S McGrath:
1.  To seek a written report on the Maryborough Hill Green Route phase 2 project outlining the following: The overall cost of the project to completion and the original estimated cost of the project. The additional cost incurred on the reinforcement of the retaining wall. The extent of site investigation work carried out on the project and the justification for not initially including the reinforcement work. Were Consultants involved in the initial design of the project, if so, who? Were planning conditions complied with on the site reinforced by the boundary wall with regard to the boundary treatment. The initial estimated duration of the project?

MDO:  The report is not yet available.  The SEE, Roads has other requests from other reps in relation to the same issue.  So he is doing an extra-comprehensive report and will circulate this week to everybody.

Cllr McGrath:  The running of this project has been an unmitigated disaster.  Started November 2013.  Due to be finished May 2014.  Road is in shocking condition.  Work is still ongoing.  Disappointed that the report isn’t available.  Would have thought a Municipal District request would have taken priority.  Answers would have been helpful for the debate.  Please put it on the agenda for the March meeting.

Cllr Desmond:  The footpaths are so bad – some of the temporary works caused a teenage girl to fall out in front of a car.  Very dark there also.  Street lights out make it worse.

Cllr Forde:  Thinks we have all been on to  County Hall about the project.  Delighted we’ve gone to CPO for the piece that’s left.  But delighted about the project generally.   Sees more people using the hill than ever before.

2) ” To seek an update from the Engineer regarding the request for traffic calming measures on Church Road, Carrigaline.”

AE:  A survey was done.  It did show speed.  Referred it to the Road Design Office.  Asked the gardai to keep an eye on the speed.  Put if forward for low cost improvement scheme.  Didn’t get funding, probably because speed is there but accidents are not.  Doesn’t have much money to do anything at this location.  Has asked Design Office to come up with some sort of a low cost scheme to see can we pick off small bits of it.  There are wide sections of the road in front of the graveyard and the business centre.  It is not easy to narrow them down.

Orange flashing lights would be as far we could go.


3) ” To seek an update on the proposal to install a Pelican Crossing at Scart Cross, Donnybrook Hill.”

Already discussed.


6.  Any Other Business

Cllr Canty:  The NTA spent a lot of money upgrading the Straight Road.  But the centre line was never moved over and the buses and trucks are very near the footpath because the road is not balanced.  Lots of people are walking on the footpath and are very close to wing mirrors.  Also flooding – it is ponding all the way down.  Can you ask the NRA and NTA to upgrade?  The road surface is cracking in patches.  There will be a catastrophe one of these nights.  Please write to the NRA.

AE:  We’ve already put in an application for funding for resurfacing and relining.

Cllr Canty:  The last 3 engineers through the Ballincollig office were aware of issues with the road at the back of Muskerry Estate.  Went for CPO at one stage; that died a death.  There is a lot of extra traffic associated with the school now.  No footpath, very dangerous.  All the rest of Ballincollig has footpaths, just not this section.  Please look at it.

Ballincollig opened 4 new businesses in January and February.  VM Ware has asked that the VEC and Cork Sports Partnership would move out of the building that they have.  They have both done so and got alternative locations.  VM Ware has moved into these buildings.  The traffic lights issue has been sorted.  There is only one traffic light issue outstanding.  Ballincollig is being improved and advertised as a model development and is being used as such all over the county and country.  Wants this message to go forward from here.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:  Thanks Area Engineer for coming to Lehenaghbeg.  Clean up of the lane between Centra and Togher back to Elmvale badly needed.  Has also had people come to him about footpaths along the back road in Ballincollig; supports Cllr Canty’s request.

Cllr Murphy:  Dog fouling in Passage West is awful.  Especially from Ardmore to Toureen.  Asks Area Engineer for signs.

Also congratulates St Peter’s on winning double in soccer and wishes Rochestown all the best in their final.

Cllr Forde:  Thinks we could congratulate more local teams at local level.

Cllr McGrath:  Thanks the Area Engineer because he sees that the work on the trees in Raffeen is imminent.
Road from Frankfield to Kinsale Rd roundabout – traffic in the morning there goes into two lanes.  Markings on the road there are not clear.  Can they be improved?

AE: Yes.  Will do.  Is on the lining list for this year.

Cllr Forde:  Rochestown road resurfacing?

AE:  The road sinks here because ground conditions are very poor.  A few years ago we picked out the isolated sections that had failed.  Now it’s the bits in between that have failed.  Is actively looking for money and hopes to get it done this year.


Notes from the full Council meeting, 9th February 2015

1. Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 26th January, 2015.

Confirmed and seconded


[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 O’Flynn (FF) and Cllr O’Shea (Ind) both offered votes of sympathy.


3.  Disposal of Property: Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001:
Disposal of 13 Masseytown, Macroom, Co. Cork.

Proposed and agreed.


4.  Corporate Policy Group:

(a)            Approval of attendance by Council members at Conferences on the Conference List for January, 2015 approved by the Corporate Policy Group at their meeting on the 3rd February, 2015.

Proposed and agreed.


(b)           Arts Grant Scheme 2015.

Arts Officer gave full report:

  • There were 203 applications this year
  • €150,000 was available in total
  • The Council has made 134 recommendations for assistance through grant funding – this is the largest number of grants given out for some time.
  • The increased level of applications has put pressure on their ability to deal with applications.
  • The range of applications reflects the range of activity which occurs in the arts in the county.  One striking feature is that most of the applications are coming from the community and voluntary sector (44%).  They are the bedrock of activity, embedded in local communities.  Very important in terms of public activities also, e.g. festivals.  So 60% of the overall allocation will go to this sector.
  • Many of these organisations think outside the box and involve themselves in other interest groups, e.g. special needs groups, young people, etc.  Many of proposals from these groups are forward thinking and project based.  We welcome this.
  • There were 50 applications from creative artists.  These were the single largest grouping.  Recommending 15 of these applications for grant aid.  If we don’t support artists, we are doing a disservice to the arts.  They are creating new work.
  • Festivals are very welcome.  They contribute to local economy.  A broad range of innovative festivals is coming through this year.  Festivals in Clonakilty, Kanturk and Skibbereen were noted in particular.  These will receive the single largest allocation (36%) from the grant scheme this year.

Click here for Arts Grants report.

Some members spoke (Cllrs O’Flynn (FF), Mary Hegarty (FG), O’Laoghaire (SF))

Cllr O’Flynn particularly worried about late applications, one of which relates to his area.

Cllr Mullane:  There are 25,000 travelling communities.  Need to iron out prejudices.  Sad that only one project relating to travellers applied and that project didn’t get funding.

Cllr J Murphy (SF):  Concurred with Cllr O’Flynn about the late applications.

Cllr Dawson (FG):  Also agreed it was a shame about the late applications.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Would like to see a permanent exhibition for our artists in the foyer of County Hall.  Would like us to use our local artwork in street furniture.  Thinks urban areas lose out somewhat over West Cork when it comes to the arts.  They are very organised in West Cork.

Cllr Cullinane (Ind):  There was a separate grant before Christmas for instruments.  Also agrees with Cllr Forde on West Cork doing well from this grant.  Two identical situations with Fota House and Kilworth.  Kilworth did so much better than Fota.  Why?  What are the criteria that determined this?

Cllr A Moynihan (FF):  Funds that are not drawn down, can these be redistributed to groups who were unsuccessful this time round?

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  Disingenous of some councillors to be asking for more money through the arts grants.  This same group of councillors asks for more money for everything but they are the very one who wanted to reduce the Local Property Tax.

Cllr McCarthy (Lab):  Please reconsider the late applications.  These groups depend on them.

Cllr Sheppard (FG):  Can we on a municipal level not permit funding to go to these groups who got funding under the arts scheme?

Arts Officer:

  • Late applications – we get these every year and it is always difficult because we have to set a rule.  Organisations know when they have to have the forms back.  From an administrative point of view, chaos would result if we didn’t do this.  A letter of offer will go to every organisation awarded funding.  There is one month for the organisation to decide whether to accept it or not.  We will look at the late applications if any of the funding is not used.
  • Travelling community project – selection panel awards marks for very clear criteria.  Issues of social background do not come into it.  The allocation is made on the basis of the marks.  Aware of the artist and her work is very good.  But the competition was strong this year so simply have to go on the panel’s recommendations.
  • Kilworth vs Fota house – Centre running on a voluntary basis is running a programme of activities right through the year.  But Fota House is running only a few programme items a year.  It’s a scale issue.

CE:  Thanks the Arts Officer.  Still have €2.8m offered across the Municipal Districts between the grants schemes and the Town Development Fund.  Thinks there is a great opportunity for the Municipal Districts to do something special for the arts.  There is no rule saying that a successful applicant in the arts scheme cannot be funded by the Municipal District, but a grant for the arts is something that should be taken into account when distributing municipal grants.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Can you clarify that there was only one application from the travelling community?  Saddened that this only application has been refused.

Cllr B Moynihan (FF):  Confirming that €150k is the total amount of funding?

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  Cannot go back to the local groups and say that they didn’t succeed in getting them funding.  Just some small funding?  Knows that in the case of one organisation, the secretary was seriously ill and in the case of another, they were changing secretaries.  These organisations are the catalyst that keeps these communities turning over.

CE:  Doesn’t encourage any further detailed discussion on particular applications.  Suggests looking at late applications through the Municipal Districts.  Funding not taken up will be reconsidered for reallocation.

Arts Officer:  To Cllr Forde – We work closely with Cork textiles network.  Thinks proposal is interesting.  If you are putting an exhibition together, you have to look after it.  Sculptures in urban areas is a very interesting idea.

Cllr McCarthy (Lab) also spoke about the late applications.

Arts Officer:  Several of the applications related to the travelling community.  That is something we welcome and they are contained within the recommendations but not made explicit.


5.  Report from the Chief Executive on the Land Aggregation Scheme.

CE:  There were incorrect comments in the media about lands that we retain.  This report was prepared to correct those comments.

He goes through the report.  Click here for report: LAGS report

Cllr McGrath (FF):  > €48m of public money is significant funding.  The report details that this has left us with 18 sites and outstanding loans of €20m which were not taken up under the LAGS system.  It is frustrating for Members because we cannot carry out a forensic analysis of this issue.  Appreciates the report but it is a page and a half long.  We don’t know if the purchases were as a result of poor management at the time or what.  This is difficult.  There has been a form of restructuring done on the outstanding loan and the interest rate of 2% is reasonable.  But this whole issue does deserve further analysis and debate.  We don’t have the wherewithal to do it here this morning.  The government seems to want to readdress social housing.  But it is 4 months since the national programme and we as a Council haven’t yet been told what funding we are getting from national government.  Would like the CE to go into more detail on the communications from the department in the last 4 months.

Cllr Murphy (FG):  Thanks CE for report.  The debt is a massive financial burden on the Council.  Have we any proposal to go back to the Department and ask that the burden of debt is taken off us?  Is the land that we spoke of referring to housing land only?  Glad the land bought is not undevelopable nor unsuitable for housing.  See if voluntary housing agencies are involved here.  It is only 2 months since the budget and Cllr McGrath can’t expect to have detailed responses from government yet.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  When it was brought out, the LAGS scheme was christened NAMA for local authorities.  Would like to know what government oversight there was on the purchase of these lands.  This all smacks of the Celtic Tiger – lands being purchased at massive prices.  Did the Department cherrypick the sites it wanted to take into LAGS? Did it give reasons for refusals?  Thanks for report.

Cllr O’Shea (Ind):  Welcomes report.  Loan of €20m is substantial and is concerned about it.  We were encouraged by the Department in 2006 to go buy these lands and when the LAGS came into operation in 2010 the Department came back and refused to take in all the lands.  It is unfair.  Who chooses the site we start social building on?  Report doesn’t tell us the acreage involved.  That would be worthwhile.

Cllr McCarthy (Lab):  Very concerned.  €28m is a lot of money.  Thinks the Department needs to be contacted.  What are the reasons that the sites weren’t accepted into LAGS?

Councillor Kieran McCarthy’s motion is taken next.

“That this Council provides a written report on Lands purchased for the purpose of housing across the county which have been since deemed unsuitable by the Dept. of Environment, Community and Local Government.”

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  Very regrettable that the Cllrs learned about these lands through the media.  Understand similar queries have been made to other Councils around the State.  Cork and Galway were the only two Councils that wouldn’t reply.  Did the Department cherrypick in its refusals to LAGS?  How many houses can we expect to see built on these sites, if any?  Thinking of areas like Carrigtwohill where people can no longer rent because of caps on rent allowance.  Department and our own housing department here are out of touch.  Asks again how many houses could be built on these lands.  Waste of taxpayers money in the purchase of these sites.  How many families might be housed if people did their jobs properly.  Hopes Members will be given information directly in future rather than reading it in the media.  Repeats the questions again.  Why was the FoI request refused?

Cllr Mullane (SF):  A site in Kanturk was purchased for €1m.  The Council was advised by the Department not to buy it for afforestation.  The Council did buy it.  Is this included here?  If not, how many more pieces of land are there like this around?

Cllr Lombard (FG):  What happens the land gone into LAGS?  Who will develop these lands?  Will this be the real stumbling block to getting social housing advanced?  Kilnagleary, Carrigaline – key sites have been developed here  in the last few years to benefit the community.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Understands why some of the lands were put into LAGS.  Thinks this report throws up more questions than it answers.  She had proposed a motion in relation to housing for the Southern Committee meeting next week.  Is very disappointed to get back an email to this proposed motion saying that the CPG has decided that housing issues should not be discussed until March.  Wants us to put aside a day to debate all aspects of housing.  We never give it the time it needs.  It is the single biggest issue with this Council.

Mayor:  It was decided that members needed time to discuss the changes to local government boundaries.  The Southern Committee meeting was proposed to be devoted to that unless Cllr Forde has an alternative proposal.

Cllr Harris (ind):  Don’t think we can criticise the Council for having taken the best advice of the time in 2006.  But can something be done with the loan using the negotiating power of the Council?

CE:  There is no question mark over the purchase of these lands.  One of the lands in question was purchased in 2006; the others were purchased between 2000 – 2003.  This was actually before the boom.  They went through the usual rigours before purchase.  Comments about people not doing their jobs properly are not appropriate.  Our housing department is more than in touch.  Lands gone into LAGS are available for housing.  Have also an agreement with Department of Education that if a site is required, these lands will be available for this.  Lands can be brought back in if we want them to support our social housing programme.  We have had much interaction between government officials and our housing department in relation to the social housing programme.  Turnkey schemes, voluntary bodies and direct building will meet our targets for house provision.  There is a significant amount of work done and we will deliver on that programme.  Can’t comment on whether the Housing Sustainable Agency cherrypicked the sites they took on board.  But regardless, the lands are still available to us.  Kanturk, Bottlehill – these are sites that are not included here.  They were bought for a totally different purpose.

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  Welcomes that the land is still there and may yet be used.  Stands over the remarks he made and doesn’t make them lightly.  Makes his comments based on evidence before him.

CE:  Appalling comment from any member of this council to say that housing staff are out of touch.  They are expert in their field.  Absolutely rejects this.

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  The cap system on the rent allowance is not working.  It’s not fair, it needs to be changed.  Knows people are getting letters every day offering them houses that they cannot afford because of the cap on the rent.  The housing department should know better.

Cllr Mullane pursued the Kanturk purchase but the CE says it is not relevant to the LAGS.  He says he will answer questions on anything but he had prepared a response in relation to the LAGS.  Cllr Mullane says she will bring a motion in relation to the Kanturk land.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  How much of the landbank is being looked at with respect to the housing programme?  How many of the 18 sites are under consideration?

Cllr Lombard (FG):  Welcomes the report and clarification.  Welcomes that land from LAGS can be used by local authority and other agencies.  Very positive.

Cllr K Murphy (FG):  Voluntary housing agency programme.  Can we pursue this?  They seem to be gone to sleep at the moment.

CE:  We will be making limited use of the first of the 18 sites in the first phase of the programme.  We are actively engaging with voluntary bodies and they will be a part of our delivery of the first phase of social housing.


[f]            NOTICES OF MOTION
6.              Councillor Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire:
That in light of the significant lack of Housing available to low and middle income earners, Cork County Council agrees to explore the establishment of an Arms Length Housing Trust.”

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Over 200,000 people are in need of housing in the State.  Like many local authorities across Ireland, the amount of social  housing built in Cork has not been anywhere close to that required.  Private market is unable to support the need.  Promise to deliver on houses this year but fears that this may not be successful.  This is a longer term issue.  Housing generates its own income.  There is money available to build houses from other sources, e.g. EU.  Cork County Council is limited in what sources it can borrow from.  But an Arms Length Housing Trust established under Cork County Council’s direction wouldn’t be subject to these rules regarding from where it could borrow from, etc.  Loans of this type could allow units to be developed in a regular way over a longer period.  Would be more sustainable in provision and delivery.  Could be a new departure for Cork.  Proposal is a strong one and a sound one.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Seconds the motion.  Social housing has been placed within the owner occupier and rental housing systems.  Approved housing bodies have replaced house provision by local authorities.  These bodies have neither the vision nor ability to succeed local authorities.  Government gave them no direction or advice.  This approach means that we lose the valuable staff resource in local authority housing departments.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF):  We expect the voluntary housing bodies that are there to take the role of the Council.  Rejects Cllr Murphy’s earlier comments that Cluaid has gone to sleep of late.  Not true.  They have housed so many.  A Housing Trust would put the Council back in full control of housing again.

CE:  Easiest thing would be to refer the motion to the housing SPC.  Housing Trusts are being used in the UK as an independent company regulated by the local authority.  The Housing Finance Agency would let the Housing Trust borrow money from it.  A Trust would be treated as an approved housing body.  It would require approval from the DoE and there is a procedure for that.  Even if the Housing Trust were established, it would have to fund itself.  The Trust would be borrowing at a higher rate than the County Council can borrow for a period of up to probably 25 years.  There is no way that the annual rents that would be received from housing applicants would be cover the loan payback.  We don’t see that it would be financially sustainable without significant subvention from the Department.  At the moment, the voluntary housing bodies are being subvented in this way.  Thinks we just drive on with the social housing programme and follow turnkey schemes delivered through the private sector, local authority direct build and the voluntary housing sector.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Agrees the motion should go to the SPC.  If we are already subventing voluntary housing bodies, there is no harm in looking at funding this also.  There would be income which would give it relative independence to function in a financially sound way.  This is an important proposal which is being considered in other local authorities.


7.              Councillor Des O’Grady:
“To request a written report on the separate bank account held by Cork County Council to hold any monies accruing to the Council from the sale of dwellings. This report to list the amount of money currently held in this account, the amount held on 1st January 2014 and the separate amounts used for the provision of housing, the refurbishment /maintenance of existing housing, or any other related purpose during 2014.”

Click here for official response to motion: Response to O’Grady’s motion

CE:  Good report issued by the Director of Services.  We are required to account for this money separately but we are not required to have a separate bank account for it.  We still have to supplement some of the national funding for voids.  We are lucky that we had the level of funding available to do that because we have gained significant value from it.


8.              Councillor Seamus McGrath:
“To request a report outlining the total cost to Cork County Council from the employment of external consultants for the year 2014.  The figure should include all professional consultancy fess paid to non Council employees, including amounts paid on projects funded by Government grants.  Separately, to outline the amounts spent on external legal services for the years 2012, 2013,2014.”

Click here for official response to motion: Response to Cllr McGrath’s motion on consultants

Cllr McGrath (FF): Has had similar motions in the past seeking this information.  Accepts that external consultants need to be employed on occasion.  But believes that we as a Council have an over dependency on consultants.  We used consultants to examine the feasibility of public lighting on the Carrigaline to Crosshaven walkway, for example.  Flooding in the Glen in Glenbrook would be another example.  Nearly €40k has been spent on consultants to date to design the flood prevention scheme and there has been no progress on the ground since 2009.  The Council has employed legal advice to interpret new legislation.  Surely there is formal advice provided by the Department?  Do all the Councils employ legal advice for this?   €6.8m is being spent on external consultants.  Over €3m on legal services but we have a legal department in the Council.  Asks that CE would review this and would make sure that the use of consultants is signed off at a very high level to ensure that they are employed only when aboslutely necessary.

Cllr A Moynihan (FF):  Supports and seconds.  There is a huge breadth of expertise in County Hall.  Why does Roads and Transportation stand out so much above the others?

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF):  Are outside people being brought in because of the reduction in staff numbers and consequent loss of expertise?

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  Has the same question.  And how much of the €6.8m came out of governemnt resources and how much covered by the Council itself?

CE:  Engagement of consultants is a necessary part of our business.  Advancement of schemes is so technical we have no option.  We are also down so many staff, we have no option.  Significant loss of internal resource.  We are not replacing that loss with consultants but we couldn’t advance the number of schemes that we do without consultants.  We’ve had 41 NRA schemes advanced over the last 5 years.  Very clear procedures for engagement.  All consultants are advertised.  Have to have 3 quotes.  Value for money derives from our own management of the contract afterwards.  The  Council is down 37% on professional technical staff.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Disappointed with the CE’s response.  Doesn’t see any acknowledgement that we can make savings in this area.  Wants us to put new safeguards in place to ensure that overspend in this area isn’t happening.


9.              Councillor Rachel McCarthy:
“That Cork County Council resolves to support the local community in their objections to plans to erect six 131m high wind turbines in the townlands of Barnadivane (Kneeves), Lackareagh, Gurranereagh, Lisarda and Terelton.”

Mayor:  Was concerned that we might not be able to debate this because it is a live planning application.  The planning department must be seen to be impartial.  Could run the risk of the applicant taking a judicial review because the Chamber put undue pressure on the outcome.  Has never seen a live planning application being discussed in the Chamber in all his time in the Council.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF):  There is always a first time but this is the first time we’ve been told the motion wouldn’t be discussed.

Mayor:  Is very sympathetic and is meeting representatives this afternoon but still not ok to debate in open Chamber.  Would be prejudicial.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF):  There was no public consultation on this and this is one of the big issues.  Locals weren’t even aware that the planning application had been made.

Mayor:  There will be public involvement in the planning process.

CE:  In the event that the motion is debated, I will have to leave because I am the ultimate decision-maker in relation to all planning applications in the authority.

Mayor:  Anyone can put a motion down under current standing orders.  But planning is a serious issue and there is a process for councillors to engage with the planning authority.  Can’t allow a prejudicial situation to develop.  Am looking for the support of the Chamber in not debating this.  Could be prejudicial to those in the community also.

Cllr A Moynihan (FF):  There is an aspect that is not part of the motion that is of local concern.  Relates to the substation.  Could we change the motion to include the substation?

Cllr Hegarty (FG):  You need to be very firm about this Mayor.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  This advice should have been provided in advance of the meeting.

Chamber agrees not to discuss but the Mayor agrees it is fair to say that the advice should have been provided in advance of the meeting.


11.             Councillor Melissa Mullane:
“That this Council provides a written report on the outstanding bonds which were provided by developers as security that works would be completed in accordance with planning permission conditions set down by this local authority.  It should include the number of current enforcement proceedings in place to draw down existing bonds from financial institutions and the time limits if any on these bonds and if any have lapsed with works unfinished on developments.”

Click here for official response to motion: Response to Cllr Mullane’s motion on bonds

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Was told that if a developer has not carried out works within 6 months, the Council will call in the bond.  We are not doing enough.  Very distressing for the people living in unfinished estates.  Irish Water has no problems going into the estates to install meters but will not fix the water supply.  It is sad that developers were allowed to get away with work which was substandard and unfinished.

Cllr Fitzgerald (FF):  Much good work has been done in estates by Cork County Council personnel.  The bonds are the issue.  Draw down some funds and finish off the estates.  This is very important.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  Everyone that his been involved in this realises its an extremely complex situation.  Lots of developers and financial institutions who are reluctant to get involved.  3 estates engineers in the county.  They are doing everything possible to dry to deal with this complex situation.  Very difficult job.  But progress needs to be made on it.  Maybe professional consultants could help?

Cllr K McCarthy (SF):  We have an estate in Cobh which has sewage for 3 weeks spilling out on to the road.  Irish Water won’t touch it.  The Senior Engineer here can’t touch it because it’s a private estate.  The developer is responsible.  The bonds are there and the bonds should be drawn down.

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF):  What action are we taking with the financial institutions?  Cork County Council is always blamed by the public when it is often the financial institutions which are to blame.

Cllr O’Shea (Ind):  The report details that there are 586 residential estates with bonds in place.  That means that they have not been finished.  Andrew Hind is working on a number of high profile unfinished estates.  In many cases, a developer has gone into receivership, a technical claim has been made on the bond and nothing else has happened.

Cllr Hegarty (FG):  Thinks many of the Council people are doing a good job.  Extra resources have to be put into this particular section.  Have to ask the Department for extra support for the people in this department who are quite overworked.  Also very frustrating for residents.

Cllr Doyle (FF):  We are under constant pressure from estates to get the County Council to draw down the bonds.  Cork County Council is often blamed wrongly.  Some estates in his area are becoming a H&S issue.  But where the estates have been finished and a programme of maintenance worked out with the Council, it has really worked.

Cllr Murphy (FG):  Sometimes the bond is not sufficient.  This is a problem.  Supports the motion.  The bond was always the last resort.  But now we have no other way of ensuring an estate is looked after unless the bond is drawn down more quickly.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  We are not doing enough.  These institutions have to play ball with us.  Knows not all institutions are problematic but it is not ok that even some are not. There is an onus on Cork County Council.  We are the ones who gave the planning.  We didn’t go out and check whether the work was being done properly because if we did, this wouldn’t be happening.

CE:  There are not 586 problem estates or problem bonds in the county.  We are pursuing 104 live ones.  We are trying to work these through.  In some of those cases we have instigated legal proceedings.  Will not indicate how many.  It is a difficult environment to work in.  Inevitable that there will be tensions between the institutions, etc.  We have had success.  We have pressure on technical staff.  None of the bonds has expired; they will be pursued.


12.            Councillor Declan Hurley:
“That this Council request the HSE (South) to outline and confirm their plans to upgrade Community Hospitals and Older Care facilities such as St Joseph’s Ward, Bantry General Hospital and Castletownbere Community Hospital, which are under threat of closure if they don’t meet the HIQA standards, which all nursing homes must meet by July 2015.”

Cllr Hurley (Ind):  The worst affected county is Cork.  1 in 10 beds meet HIQA standards.  The public is entitled to know what the HSE is planning.  The number of beds available in the county would need to increase by 59% in order to accommodate current needs.  New legislation means that buildings constructed decades ago need major refurbishment.  HSE has known since 2009 that they would have to meet these standards by July 2015.  Yet they have done nothing.  Now so many community hospitals are threatened with closure.  Is worried that there is a creeping policy of privatisation by stealth.  Asking HSE now to disclose its plans.  €36m was allocated to HSE to cover upgrades to nursing homes.

Cllr PJ Murphy (FF):  Has been working with HSE in the Castletownbere area to generate alternative options but the issue is a ticking timebomb.  Capital investment has to be put in right now to get this problem solved.  HIQA guidelines are worthy but elderly people also like the company of a ward.  Nursing care – nurses are worrried about single rooms and minding people with constant supervision.  Easier to look after a number of people at the same time.  Willl have a serious knock on effect on acute beds and overcrowing because stepdown units will not be available.

Cllr R MCCarthy (SF):  Fully supports.  Adds concern that the 2 community hospitals in Bandon have also been listed.  Would go further and ask for funds to bring the nursing homes up to standards.  In Bandon, they are waiting for years for an extension.  Community hospitals provide a second to none level of care.  It is very personal.  Heard discussion during the week that home help hours are being increased in a ploy to keep people out of community hospitals.  Would like Cork County Council to write to the Minister and ask where the expansion at the Bandon Community Hsopital is at.  We were promised this by the last Minister for Health.

Many other councillors commented on this motion, on the value of the work done by the community hospitals, on the money already given to the HSE for the doing up of community hosopitals, on the new HIQA standards and the fact that not all elderly people want to be in single rooms.

Agreed that the buck stops at the Minister’s door and that we should also get on to him.  The Council will contact the HSE and the Minister for Health.


13.            Councillor Noel Collins:
“With a view to addressing a very serious shortage and crisis in social housing and the resultant consequences for waiting applicants, Cork County Council call on the Government to spend money from the anglo promissory note, on a major social housing construction programme.”

Deferred until next meeting.


14.            Councillor Ger Keohane:
“That this Council calls on the Financial regulator to review the current interest rate on loans from licenced moneylenders and that caps on interest rates should be at a maximum of 40% APR.”

Deferred until next meeting.



15.            Liadh Ní Riada, MEP:
Letter dated 12th January, 2015, in response to Council’s letter of 26th November, 2014, regarding the fluoridation of water.

Click here to view letter: Liadh Ni Riada

16.            Iarnród Eireann:
Letter dated 29th January, 2015, in response to Council’s motion of 12th January, 2015, regarding the closure of public toilets in train stations.

Click here to view letter: Iarnrod Eireann

17.            AILG:
Training Dates for Elected Members 2015.