[a] CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES
- Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 27th October, 2015
- Minutes of Budget Meeting held on the 9th of November 2015
Proposed and seconded.
[b] VOTES OF SYMPATHY
- Votes of Sympathy (if any) to the relatives of:
- members or employees of the Council,
- dignitaries of Church or State, or
- members of old I.R.A. and Cumann na mBan.
[c] STATUTORY BUSINESS
3. Disposal of Property
Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001:
(a). Amendment to Disposal of property at Copperhill, Broomfield, Midleton, by the substitution of 26, 27, 29, 31, 43, 45, 46 Cherry Orchard to 26, 27, 29, 31, 43, 45, 46 Copperhill, Broomfield, Midleton, being the area of said properties.
(b) Amendment to Disposal of 27A Elm Grove, Gort an Oir, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork. from Rafal Fifipowicz & Ildiko to Lukasz Tycho
(c). Disposal of property No.’s 9, 10, 21 & 22 Carrig Rua, Ballinagree, Co. Cork.
Cobh Municipal District Meeting: 15th October, 2015
(d). Disposal of 57 Inishmore Park, Cobh, Co. Cork.
Ballincollig Municipal District Meeting: 19th October, 2015
(e). Disposal of property at Dunworley, Laurel Hill, Rathanaker, Monkstown, Co. Cork.
Blarney Macroom Municipal District Meeting: 23rd October, 2015
(f). Disposal of land at Knocknagown, Rylane, Co.Cork
Kanturk Mallow Municipal District Meetings: 1st October & 6th November, 2015
(g). Disposal of Hawthorn, Eden Hill, Gortnagross, Mallow, Co. Cork
(h). Disposal of property at 21 The Beeches, Upper Ballydaheen, Mallow, Co. Cork
4. Section 37E(5) of the Planning & Development (Strategic Infrastructure ) Act, 2006:
Application by ESB Wind Development Limited to an Bord Pleanála for Construction of Grousemount Wind Farm, comprising of 38 no. Wind Turbines and all associated works in townlands in County Kerry and County Cork – submission of the Chief Executive’s Report and seeking the views of members on the proposed development.
Cllr A Moynihan (FF): The local community is concerned abou tthis development. Wants information on the community fund. The local community is especially concerned about the exempted part of the development. Very few locals are going to make submissions to the Board. The principle of wind is established on the site because there is already a planning permission in place for the site. The rural communities are getting more and more dissatisfied with proliferation of wind farms. We need to be turning to solar and other forms of renewable energy. A community fund should be part of the plan. The flood study that is to be done should be a 100 year flood study.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Not my area but wants to raise a point in relation to the CE’s report. The CE’s report concludes that the development complies with the policies and objectives of the CDP 2014 and would constitute proper planning and sustainable development. But the CE includes in his report three substantial areas where the Heritage Officer indicates insufficient information has been provided to make adequate assessment of potential impact on the environment. The CDP 2014 has a specific objective, even in areas where wind energy is encouraged, that such development must comply with the requirements of the Habitats, Birds and EIA Directives. So you cannot conclude that the development is in compliance with the CDP when its failure to provide adequate information contradicts the CDP.
Paul Murphy (Senior Planner): If a temporary bridge is installed (it may or may not be needed), a 100 year flood study will be part of it.
Interesting comment from Cllr D’Alton. The Bord is the competent authority in this application. It is not up to us to decide whether the EIS is adequate. The Board decides this.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): It is not up to the Board to say whether or not the development complies with the CDP. That is the CE’s role. And it does not, but we contradict the CDP by saying that it does.
PM: We are not assessing the wind farm, just the grid connection.
John O’Neill (Director of Services, Planning): The reports of the CE will got to the Board. The minutes of the meeting here will also go to the Board. The recommendations outlined by Cllr Moynihan will go to the Board.
Cllr B Moynihan (FF): Supports the comments made by Cllr A Moynihan in respect of the wind farm and particularly with regard to the community fund. A strong point should be made on this that a substantial amount of money be provided for the community in and around the wind farm.
Cllr A Moynihan proposes that the points we have raised here will go to the Board as part of the CE’s report. Cllr B Moynihan seconds that.
Cllr A Moynihan proposes a wording for the points he raised. Cllr K Murphy (FG) is not happy. Wants to hear the CE’s view on the proposed wording.
CE: We always record the minutes of the meeting here and this will go as an appendix to the CE’s report to the Board. So that wording, including the response given by PM, can be included in the minutes of the meeting. That extract will go to the Board.
Cllr Hegarty (FG): Cllr Moynihan has said we should possibly be looking at alternatives. Not so sure that we can approve this. Thinks we are sending out different signals.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): If it is not regarded as a resolution of the Council and if the Senior Planner’s response is included, we don’t have a problem. But if that is not the case, we may.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): Agrees with what Cllr Moynihan says. Thinks it should go as a resolution of Council because it will be stronger. Thinks we need a motion on the community fund also.
Cllr Moynihan will reword his concerns and distribute for approval before close of the meeting.
5. Section 221 of the Local Government Act 2001: Annual Report 2014
Adoption of the Annual Report for 2014.
(I slipped out for a minute.)
[d] REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEES
6. Corporate Policy Group:
- Approval of attendance by Council members at Conferences on the Conference List for November, 2015 approved by the Corporate Policy Group at their meeting on 3rd November 2015.
- Approval to Funding of €22,500 p.a. for 3 years for Foroige.
CE: This was a difficult situation because programmes previously run by Foroige could have been discontinued without our funding. In future, if Foroige wants to engage they should present their proposals through the municipal districts. These are good programmes so for a once-off situation it will allow Foroige to continue their work into 2016.
7. Housing SPC:
Proposed Amendment to Appendix of the “Application to Cork County Council for Social Housing Support” – “Areas of Preference” (Approved by Housing SPC 16th October 2015)
Cllr McGrath (FF): The SPC is proposing these changes as a tidying up exercise. Some of the areas on the list were misleading housing applicants because the Council didn’t have properties in these areas.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Happy to second this proposed amendment. Had a motion on it during the summer. Lehanaghmore and Togher were, for example, the same area but were listed separately. Now it gives a greater range of choices in terms of the areas offered. Thanks the SPC officials for working on this.
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): Interested to see Araglin listed. Never knew there were houses in Araglin. Why is it on the list?
List is agreed.
8. Social & Community SPC:
- Cork County Council Social Inclusion Statement
- Amendment to Letter of Offer for Grants under the Municipal District Amenity / Community Fund Schemes
Proposed and seconded.
9. Cobh Municipal District:
“Given the central importance of Little Island as a residential, industrial and employment hub could Cork County Council please furnish the members with details of their general traffic management plans, emergency plans, and efforts to alleviate daily congestion on the Island so that the area can continue maintain its competitiveness and continue to attract corporate investment.”
Cllr O’Sullivan (FF): Have great respect for Peter and the work he does but very disappointed with aspects of the response provided. In 2006, Part 8 was approved for improvement of 7 junctions. In 2009, Cork County Council prepared a traffic management study. In all this time, only one junction has been improved. There have been no further improvements on the other 6 junctions to date. Is asking the Council what the business community in Little Island is asking him. These businesses pay heavily in rates, etc. but see little in return. The Little Island Business Association estimates the annual contribution from Little Island businesses to be approximately €30 million per annum. A large retail complex recently opened and large office blocks too. All this is to the detriment of the local residential population. There are approximately 2,000 residents in Little Island who are often forgotten about. Many jobs have been created in little island and all the time the people are left with a defunct road structure. Is asking the Council to please engage with TII to find a resolution. Have been contacted by so many people. Posted an on-line video that has been viewed and shared 50,000 times. Nowhere in the report furnished today was there a proposal to addres an emergency in Little Island, particualrly in peak traffic times.
Is asking for a new entrance onto Little Island from the N25. Little Island needs a third entrance. Dsiputes some of the detail in the report. Referencing the railway lines and the bus stations is a non-runner. SECAD recently tried to get a bus to ferry employees from the train station to the industries and that bus failed. The upgrading of the Dunkettle Interchange is not going to solve anything. The problem is local traffic.
Cllr Cullinane (Ind): Supports in full. Was at the Little Island Business Association awards on Friday and has been at several openings in Little Island. There are 1,000 businesses in Little Island with 15,000 people working there apart from the residents themselves. As a huge rate base, we have to take note of these people and what they want. This needs to be prioritised as Little Island is such an important part of our commercial infrastructure going forward.
Cllr Barry (FG): This is an issue we have raised many times at municipal district level. Has been raised here before – the volume of rates and level of funding going into the County from Little Island is significant. Traffic chaos is an impediment to future investment in Little Island. Doesn’t see the Dunkettle Interchange making any real difference. The rail line does not work for Little Island. It is only fair to the businesses that we do something about improving the infrastructure within the island. Hopes the Counci will get onto the NRA. Knows the NRA is not great for getting back to us.
Cllr Keohane (Ind): There was a 6am pile up again this morning. The emergency services couldn’t get in. A courier whom he knows won’t go near the island before 10am or after 4pm. When there is a radio announcement on an accident coming off the island, the traffic diverts into Glanmire. Then it creates havoc in Glanmire. Supports Cllr O’Sullivan’s proposal.
Cllr Rasmussen (Lab): Emergency plans are not commented on at all in the report. Knows funding and land acquisition are issues. But emergency plans must be addressed. Supports the motion.
Cllr K McCarthy (Ind): Supports for all the reasons already stated and is long overdue.
Cllr Sheppard (FG): Supports. This issue has come before us at municipal district level. Has seen the videos shared by Cllr O’Sullivan on social media. Scary to watch. There was a traffic issue 10 years ago. We have given planning for all these businesses to develop. We have helped cause the traffic chaos. We have a responsibility to ease some of this traffic.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): Aware of workers travelling from as far away as Macroom and Ballyvourney to Little Island. Traffic in Little Island makes the journey within the island slower than the journey from Macroom to Cork. Fully supports the motion.
CE: One of the major solutions to this is the upgrade of the Dunkettle Interchange. This will help to solve many of the issues. This project will progress to tender stage. We would like to ensure that the various projects approved in 2006 would be treated as a priority by the NTA and we will continue to push this. Perhaps funding might get more easily accessed over the coming years. There has been very little funding available in the last 10 years. Yes, Little Island has been a success in terms of rates, etc. It is very clear that the success of many areas in Metropolitan Cork have brought success to the rest of the county. Reiterates that the development contribution rate block contributes to the rest of the county. There is an inter-agency emergency plan in place for Little Island. Has no issue with this being debated in Council but thinks it could be debated at municipal district level.
Cllr O’Sullivan (FF): Brought this before full Council because Little Island is a unique case given the amount of rates or contributions it gives to full county. Asks if he could have a figure for the rates coming from Little Island. Even a figure for the municipal district would do. The Dunkettle Interchange will take the traffic coming from Dublin. The traffic going to Little Island will access the traffic from the motorway. The interchange will not help much.
CE suggests that Peter O’Donoghue would attend a municipal district meeting.
CE: We don’t record specific rates collected from specific areas. If council wants to decide to reallocate the rates income to enhance Little Island, we will have to take services from something else. We have adopted our budget. We can put the rates information together but it will take time and will be almost irrelevant. Agrees Little Island needs special attention. We are always trying to press the buttons of the national funding agencies.
Cllr Cullinane: This issue already was at municipal district level. We were asked to bring it to full Council. Where do we go from here?
CE: Peter O’Donoghue can go to the municipal district if you want further information on junctions.
10. Development Committee:
“The members of Cork County Council call on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to introduce as a matter of urgency legislation which would allow the nine former Town Council Town Development Plans in Cork (Cobh, Clonakilty, Fermoy, Kinsale, Macroom, Mallow, Midleton, Skibbereen and Youghal) to be superseded by Local Area Plans and on such basis it is proposed to include the former Town Council administrative areas within the Local Area Plan review which is currently underway”
Proposed and seconded.
Cllr O’Keeffe asks for clarification on where this has come from. Reminded that it came from a meeting of the Development Committee.
Cllr Murphy (FG): How have other counties dealt with this anomaly?
CE: The manner in which the legislation is written and the timing of the passing of the legislation is such that there are only a number of local authorities nationally that are affected by this. It is simply a timing issue.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): Will all the Town Council areas be included as villages and key settlements or will there be a special area plan for each former Town Council area within the LAP?
CE: All towns will be treated equally.
[e] REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF OFFICERS
11. Chief Executive’s Report on Submissions Received to the Proposed Amendment No. 2 to the Midleton E.A. Local Area Plan 2011 – Carrigtwohill and Water-Rock Framework Masterplans
Cllr Hegarty (FG): Biggest concern is will these masterplans come to fruition? Will we see meaningful action on the ground. These plans have been there since 2005. Within the Local Area Plan (LAP), it is stated that additional lands must be identified to allow expansion of our towns, especially those on public transportation corridors. If we do not see meaningful action on the ground wtihin the timeframe of the LAP, wants us to seriously look at our approach.
Cllr Barry (FG): Is in favour of the broad outline of bringing masterplans in, but has huge concerns. Has serious concerns that the N25 upgrade has been put on the backburner but we are still proposing to put 5,000 units in these two areas. The N25 is a parking lot at rush hour. Accepts that it is in the masterplan documents that we would see thse upgrades being done. But sees other areas in Carrigtwohill in which promised railway infrastructure was not delivered. Has concerns about flooding. Has raised Slatty Pond many times. We are now proposing to bring more water down to Slatty Pond without any remedial works being done. We are proposing to give planning and it is incumbent on us to ensure the infrastructure will be in place in time. If these masterplans do not take off, we need land for housing that will take off … zoning is very important.
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Fully supports because it will help provide social housing.
Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): One of the biggest issues here is the co-operation of service providers: the OPW, NRA, Irish Rail. We need to bring them along. There is a demand for housing in East Cork but the big point is have the government agencies come on board?
CE: Housing supply is one of the most critical issue facing Metropolitan Cork at the moment. No other authority is as well advanced outisde of Dublin in terms of its own executive proving the case that Cork needs to be dealt with. We are engaging with all of the national agencies. We are talking to the NTMA in relation to the strategic investment fund. We are making the case that Cork is just as challenged as Dublin is. The success of that was demonstrated when measures were announced by government recently – specifically mentioning the Metropolitan Cork region – to unlock development land. We are awaiting further development of that. But if we weren’t doing our work here, you would not have heard Cork being mentioned in terms of this investment fund. For the first time ever, Cork was acknowledged as having the same magnitude of an issue as Dublin. The 9 Masterplan areas are located in the 9 areas we think are the most important and the most capable of beig serviced. We will be challenged to find alternative sites that are more suitable. If they don’t come onto the market, we will have a particualr problemthat will have to be tackled during the LAP process. We have said the same to the CIF. We have asked them to bring us other lands if they think they are more appropriate for development. The work we hve done to date is the work we need to continue to do. The private equity funding model has still not been resolved so this is not just an issue about infrastructural provision. We need to keep this matter high on our agenda during the LAP process. Shares the concerns expressed but would not be giving up the ghost now.
Cllr Buckley (SF): There has been an extensive engagement between all bodies. We welcome the report. People in the locality were nervous that these masterplans could be pie in the sky. Hopes that they will come to fruition sooner rather than later.
Cllr K McCarthy (Ind): Welcomes the report. If these come on stream, the upgrade of the N25 is essential. In the Fota Rock estate there is only a wire boundary fence preventing children from running onto the N25. Nothing is happening to put better safety measuers in place. If these masterplans are going ahead in the future, we must look at little things like this and get our priorities right.
Cllr Hegarty wants confirmation that his concerns about delivery of the masterplans would be recorded.
12. REPORT UNDER SECTION 179 PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT ACT 2000
Signalisation of junction of R665 Kildorrery Road, Church Street and George’s Street, Mitchelstown.
(6 FF in chamber, 10 FG in chamber)
13. Quarterly Report of the Chief Executive on Corporate – Library, Fire & Building Control.
Proposed and seconded.
[f] CORRESPONDENCE FROM GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS
14. Department of Education and Skills:
Letter dated 21st October, 2015, in response to motion dated 14th September, 2015, regarding Cork Educate Together Secondary School.
15. Department of Environment, Community and Local Government:
Letter dated 4th November, 2015, in response to motion dated 12th October, 2015, regarding additional funding for provision of sheltered housing to non- profit Housing Associations for the elderly.
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Welcomes the letter. Appeals to this Council to make proposals to the Department of the Environment under CAS for delivery of sheltered housing to East Cork and beyond.
[g] NOTICES OF MOTION
16. Councillor Gerard Murphy:
“Considering the recent changes to the Valuation Amendment Act 2015 exempting Community Childcare facilities from paying commercial rates and considering the Minister recent reply to the topical issues on arrears, I am calling on the Council to write off these arrears as a gesture of good will acknowledging the tremendous work being done by these community voluntary organisations.”
Cllr Murphy (FG): This motion speaks for itself. There was an amendment act passed to the valution acts recently exempting community childcare from paying commercial rates. The Minister says the arrears question is an issue for each individual council. All these organisations are non-profit, all voluntary and there has been an assumption that because they were non-profit they were not liable for rates anyway. The new valuation amendment act has recognised that they shouldn’t ever have been included. Volunteers put tremendous work into establishing community childcare facilities, running them and teaching in them. We should remember that the costs have to be kept low to ensure people can afford the services they are providing.
Cllr Lombard (FG): This is a very important proposal. It will bring benefit to local communities. These are non-profit making and they deliver something that no-one else can deliver on the ground. Unfortunate that they were ever included. Agrees that we should exempt them or the parents or commmunities will have to pay.
Cllr Doyle (FF): Supports the proposal. These are community based organisations run by community people. The rates arrears have been built up on the balance sheets. Quite worrying for the organisations.
(Was pulled aside for a few minutes.)
Cllr McGrath (FF): Comends the government for making this change. They should never have been included. Proposes that we set up a national fund to reimburse the community childcare facilities who have already paid their rates.
CE: Can’t see how writing off the arrears would be showing goodwill to the 80 – 85% who have paid up every year. That would not be fair. Won’t be writing off those debts but will give those who are outstanding every facility possible to write off the debt over a number of years. The issue of equity comes into play here.
Cllr Murphy (FG): Understand the CE’s position but we cannot condone where years of outstanding rates would force a childcare centre to close or to downgrade its services. Welcomes that any childcare facility that has arrears will be dealt with sympathetically. Must not affect the service that these facilities provide to families. As a Council, we only have power to make a recommendation to the CE.
CE: Welcomes the comments from Cllr Muprhy but is clear that impact on service delivery needs to be dealt with by those who runs the services as well. I am not the only player in this. That is an important message also.
17. Councillor Noel Collins:
“That this Council call on the Department of the Environment & Local Government, for the establishment of a certification scheme under which landlords would have to prove their compliance with basic quality and safety standards before a property be rented, rather than depending on inspections by local authorities.”
Cllr Collins (Ind): More than 1 in 5 properties inspected last year failed to meet basic requirements. That was an improvement on the previous year but not by much. Some properties are new but others are old. Many are occupied by individuals in need of state rent supplement. They are also in need of protection from greedy landlords. New standards for rental accommdation in 2011 seem to have changed nothing. The small number of prosecutions taken by local authorities against landlords does not mirror the extent of the problem. The State pays more than €500 million per year in rent supplement to needy tenants. This is often paid on substandard accommodation. Despite the ghost estates all over the country, many young famiiles continue to live in old, substandard accommodation.
Cllr Linehan Foley (Ind): Seconds. Private rents are flying up and some of the accommodation offered have appalling conditions.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): Up until now, local authorities sent out private inspectors to inspect properties. Presumes the motion means that before a property is rented out, the landlord would have to get a certificate. In Cork, 93% of properties inspected failed minimum standards. The problem is getting progressively worse.
Cllr McCarthy (FG): Agrees with a certification scheme. Would hope that it can be carried out through the local authority. Doesn’t see the merit in having another agency set up to do this. So agrees in principle but need to proceed with caution.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): We need to be careful. This was discussed recently at an AILG meeting. Many of the councillors were unhappy with the roll out of HAP in their counties. Knows it is ok here and is improving slowly. Two issues arose in other counties which we have overcome: the inspection can take place in 5 – 6 months and the landlord does not have to produce a tax clearance certificate for 6 months. The more complicated we make the HAP system, the more we will slow it down. Landlords will not want to join it. Many counties have much to learn before we roll it out. Asks members to hold off for a bit until HAP is working.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): Agrees with Cllr Murphy. The proposal is premature and would slow down or stall entirely the HAP process. At this stage, we need more people on the HAP scheme.
Cllr Forde (FG): Would like to support Cllr Collins. Thinks certification is important. But is also concerned about timing. We don’t want to make it harder for people to find properties to rent. Asks Cllr Collins to take these messages of support on board but thinks the timing may not be right.
Cllr T Collins (Ind): Supports the motion. Knows of a situation where a tenant moved into a property. Rent subsidy had been paid for a while but there was no electricity. The tenant had to move back out because the landlord did not connect the electricity. Properties should be inspected first before the tenant moves in. Make sure the landlord complies. In this case, money was paid to the landlord and he would not even connect electricity.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Supports the motion. Recognises the sentiments behind the concerns. In Cork the issue with HAP is that the rental caps are not high enough. No amount of good administration is going to overcome that. There is also an issue with a lack of supply. We can’t allow bad landlords to allow people live in substandard accommodation. Knows some people who didn’t want inspectors to call around even though they were living in substandard accommodation in case they might be evicted.
Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind): Doesn’t agree with some of the speakers. Even with social housing, we have such a high standard before we pass a house to anyone. Doesn’t understand why we leave it for 6 – 8 months to check a house. Anyone who is paying rent deserves the right to be in a property that is fit to be lived in. There are good and bad landlords but why would you leave it 6 – 8 months to certify a house before you move into it? Anyone who is renting a house, that landlord is being paid for his property and if the property is not fit to be lived in, no-one should live in it.
Motion is agreed. Cllr Collins thanks members for their support. Houses should be inspected before tenancy is signed and sealed.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): Asks for clarification on certification.
CE: Reading of the motion is that it can only be implemented by the Department if it funds local authorities to do the inspection or establishes an independent agency to do so.
18. Councillor Susan McCarthy:
“That this Council, in an effort to alleviate the serious lack of available local authority housing in the short-term, investigate the possibility of installing modular housing at a suitably identified site or sites, preferably in the areas of the county where the numbers on the waiting list are most concentrated.”
Cllr McCarthy (FG): East Cork is the only municipal district outside of Dublin and Cork that makes it into the top 10 areas with highest demand for social housing. There is a big issue here. The representative from the CIF outlined that the national need for social housing would be approx 25,000. Last year there were under 800 completions in Cork County. Modular houses are permanent structures. They appreciate the same as their on-site built counterparts. They are considered a form of green building. They are faster to build. The units provided by Dublin City Council comply in full with the buidling regulations and all statutory requirements with respect to fire safety, etc. Some people have concerns about anti-social behaviour. But these problems already exist and done tastefully and to a high specification, these units may become attractive starter homes for people who are on the witing ist for >5 years.
Time is of the essence. Public procurement competition for modular housing is not subject to the EU timelines. It may not be the ideal solution but these buildings have the same lifecycle as permanent homes. They fulfil short term needs and deliver long term benefits. Irish companies are involved in the construction of moduar houses although currently they are being imported. Nobody is proposing an alternative to these. Short term needs require short term solutions. Just asks that we investigate the feasibility of this project.
Cllr Mullane (SF): Would welcome the CE’s views on this. But has some questions. If Cork County Council were to put up modular housing, what land would be used? Would it be short term? Would modular housing applicants be considered adequately housed? Considers that it should be short term.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Proceed with caution, although it should indeed be investigated. The homelessness crisis is that severe that all options msut be considered. The use of modular housing should be very specific. Short term accommodation only. Doesn’t think the people in modular housing should be considered to have their housing need met. A long term stay in modular housing could be very negative. Very poor living conditions. What were erected as temporary houses in Togher and the Glen ended up being permanent. This cannot be repeated. These should have a very specific purpose and should be limited to that purpose.
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Seconds the motion. Anything is better than nothing or behind a ditch or under a bridge. It is a very good proposal which could help to alleviate homelessness. Some farmers have been very kind in siting caravans on their lands with provision of portaloos to help those made homeless. The occupants are happy but it is only temporary until a permanent solution becomes available. Every little helps.
Cllr Hayes (SF): Supports the motion. Hears area of concern and shares them. Short term basis only. Should not be a replacement for building permanent houses. Have to be careful not to create ghettos going into the future. Doesn’t want it to be the Irish concept of trailer trash.
Cllr Forde (FG): Wanted to second the motion. First proposed modular housing here many months ago. Delighted to see it is gaining traction. It is a response to the dire need of people out there. A few months ago we spoke of landlords renting properties that are not fit to live in. This is another way of providing clean, warm homes. Modular housing doesn’t need lots of space so it can fit anywhere. Thinks we should go look and examine them ourselves and see are they good enough.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): Fully supports. Excellent proposal. Modular housing is high class which can be erected quickly. Unaware that we need to exercise any caution. This should be part of the overall housing strategy. Goes without saying that they should be short-term. It will be at least end 2017 before any house will be built in this local authority. We should be looking at every option.
Cllr Sheppard (FG): Supports. Has been helping a family of 7 who have been made homeless. They are currently living in temporary accommodation. Every night they go from place to place. Anywhere that has self-catering – Vienna Woods, etc. The Council is paying €708/week to house this family in emergency accommodation. We have to act on this.
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): Supports with qualifications.
CE: Thinks we wil meet our targets through a range of options using standard housing types. Thinks we will not need to deliver modular housing. But will keep it on the agenda as an option if we do not deliver our targets. In terms of Council examining the potential of this type of houing, we must always be aware that we are looking at different models internationally against a background which may not be aligned to our own culture of housing.
Cllr K Murphy asks that we keep this on the agenda. CE agrees. We report regularly on how we are working towards our targets and if modular housing needs to be introudced, then we would keep members briefed on this also.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Suggests that we get a Departmental view lest time should be lost in seeking same.
Cllr Forde (FG): Has spoken to a Department official and the Department is in favour.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Asks that we would get that officially.
CE: There are areas in Dublin where modular housing is being considered. This is great if it helps the Dublin local authorities to meet their targets. The same applies to Cork. The Department will support if we cannot meet our targets otherwise. But we have projects in place that are utilising our lands for the delivery of housing. We will not revisit those properties because we believe they will deliver our targets. But we will still keep an eye on modular housing. Will ask that it be raised at Divisional Committee level also.
Cllr Cullinane (Ind): Supports anything that helps the housing crisis. But supports the CE’s stance and holds the CE responsible for what he is saying. Delighted to hear there is a strategic plan and would prefer to see this going forward rather than going for yet another short term solution. Thinks CE is being responsible in looking for a long term solution that he is telling us is within our control.
Cllr McCarthy: Asks that we notify the department of our interest in this. Thanks all for support – bar 1!
Grousemount Wind Farm:
Proposed wording is circulated and agreed: Moynihan’s wording on Grousemount
Cllr G Murphy (FG) asks for executive’s opinion on the wording. CE says it does not conflict with Council’s opinion and so Cllr G Murphy agrees to the wording.
Suspension of standing orders by Cllr O’Keeffe:
Letter from Department re valuations: DoE on valuations
O’Keeffe (FF): A global vauation of utilities has been taken by the valuation office. It affects the value of assets of service providers. It will have a major impact on our income for the coming year. The CE has given us a report. The impact of this revaluation on our local authority is €1.8m of a loss for 2016. The government has come on board and has provided €1.5m. It still leaves us with a shortfall. But the big issue is that we will have to adjust for this ourselves in future. Local government always takes the brunt of government cuts. We carry the brunt of having to raise extra money to proivde our services. Thinks it is time the government had a reform of the whole system by which we value our rates. Thinks we as a local authority are playing a yes minister type game. Why do we have to exhaust our reserves for an issue the government should be more responsible for?
Cllr McGrath (FF): This is a serious matter. Wants clarification: Are we now short €0.5 million?
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Thinks it is daft that this level of rates reduction is being offered to big big companies at the expense of LA budgets. These companies are not the high street butcher. Has the same questions as regards clarification. Is not clear that sufficient attention was given to this in the budget book. The budget book did not indicate that we would be dealing with a shortfall. This should have been made clearer during the budgetary process.
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): These are mega-rich companies. Why are we carrying the weight of this? Why are we not offering the same relief to our small companies? Proposes we write to the Minister for Finance and the Environment and ask him to pick up the shortfall in future years. This will be have a savage impact on our budget in future years. As ever, the small man, small taxpayer will suffer.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): Thinks we need to look at the whole valuation process generally. Valuations in small towns are totally outdated. We need a faster revaluation of these properties so small businesses can survive in these towns. Assumes the companies involved are controlled by regulators and any savings they make will be passed on to the consumer and the underlying objective of this is to make the economy more competitive generally. The government is particularly good at this. Accepts the concern that this Council is losing income.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): Agrees this wasn’t clear enough in the budget process. How was funding found now? There was no funding available before.
CE: We didn’t expect 20% reduction at all. We expected far less – around 5-6%. But by our budget meeting, we were pretty sure that the government would pick up the shortfall. If this government funding hadn’t come through, the executive would be back to Council in March of next year indicating that we were challenged in respect of meeting our budgetary targets.
Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): These rates are the basis of our income in local authorities. It is not acceptable for local authorities to carry this can.
Cllr McGrath (FF): The bottom line is that we are down €0.5 million because of this valuation exercise. That is disgraceful. But next year it will be well more significant because we will be €1.8 million down. Asks that we contact the Department and request that this adjustment be made on a phased basis.
The remainder of the meeting is deferred.
- Councillor Joe Harris:
“That this Council register it extreme concern at the targeting of young people by the Gambling industry through aggressive marketing both on and off line. Furthermore that this Council communicate to the government that urgent action must be taken to protect people from the massive onslaught through all forms of media advertising that promote gambling.”
- Councillor Des O’Grady:
“That this Council calls for the establishment of a Housing Co-Ordination Task Force for the supply of Social and Private Housing in Cork. The task force to comprise of representatives from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the Department of Finance, both Cork Local Authorities, Irish Water, the National Transport Authority, NAMA and Voluntary Housing Agencies as well as elected members from both City and County Councils.”
- Councillor Seamus McGrath:
“To seek a report outlining the number of Litter Wardens employed in each Division of Cork County Council. Given the ongoing and widespread problem of illegal dumping and littering, to request that additional Litter Wardens be appointed across Cork County. ”
- Councillor Deirdre Forde:
“That this Local Authority welcomes increased Government investment of €5 million in policing to tackle burglaries and related crime and calls on the Garda Commissioner to ensure that Cork is prioritised in her spend.”
- Councillor Kevin O’Keeffe:
“That Cork County Council calls on the Government to ensure that Irish Water does not renege on the Service Level Agreement already in place for its workforce. This is to guarantee there will be no immediate redundancies of staff given the current deficiencies in the existing water and sewerage infrastructure.”
- Councillor Marcia D’Alton
“That a planning application to An Bord Pleanala made under the Strategic Infrastructure Act can be made no more than twice for the same nature of project on the same site.”
[j] VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS
- VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS (if any)
- ANY OTHER BUSINESS