My submission to the Preliminary Consultation on the Local Area Plan

Cork County Council,
Floor 13,
County Hall,

24th January, 2015.

RE: Preliminary Consultation on Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District Local Area Plan

Dear Sir,

I welcome this Preliminary Consultation on the review of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District Local Area Plan. I should be grateful if my comments would be given consideration when the first draft of the Local Area Plan is being drawn up.

Although I represent the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District, I live in Passage West. I spent the first 30 years of my life in Douglas. I have a child attending school in Carrigaline and regularly walk recreationally in Ringaskiddy. So as my particular familiarity is with the eastern/southern area of the Municipal District, my submission focuses on this area.

The development of both Ballincollig and Carrigaline as satellite towns of Cork City was a defined aim of Cork County Council in the 1970s. That strategy has worked and both towns are now the largest in the county. The concept of the Metropolitan town is well defined in Paragraph of the Preliminary Consultation. Paragraph 3.1.1 identifies Ballincollig, Carrigaline and Passage West as being the three Main Towns in the Municipal District.

Although all three towns serve a similar function and the development of Ballincollig and Carrigaline was encouraged concurrently, there is woeful inequity between the quality of residential amenity and environment provided for in Ballincollig against that provided for in Carrigaline and Passage West. This difference is highlighted even by a comparison between the opening paragraphs of Sections 3.2 and 3.3. Paragraph on Ballincollig describes the town as being “modern”, “well provided for in terms of schools, community facilities and amenities … enjoys excellent access to the national road network … an attractive and convenient residential and employment location”. By comparison, paragraph on Carrigaline simply describes the strategic aims of large Metropolitan towns. Carrigaline and Passage West have simply not been serviced by community facilities, amenities, infrastructural capacity and integrated public transport as Ballincollig has. This Local Area Plan must be grabbed as an opportunity to set this inequity right for the 30,000 people living in the greater Carrigaline area.

Throughout my comments in this submission, I am mindful of the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas produced by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government in 2009. They describe high quality residential areas as being those which:

  • Prioritise walking, cycling and public transport and minimise the need to use cars
  • Deliver a quality of life which residents and visitors are entitle to expect in terms of amenity, safety and convenience
  • Provide a good range of community and support facilities, where and when they are needed and that are easily accessible
  • Present an attractive, well-maintained appearance, with a distinct sense of place and a quality public realm that is easily maintained
  • Are easy to access for all and to find one’s way around
  • Promote the efficient use of land and of energy and minimise greenhouse gas emissions
  • Provide a mix of land uses to minimise transport demand
  • Promote social integration and provide accommodation for a diverse range of household types and age groups
  • Enhance and protect the green infrastructure and biodiversity
  • Enhance and protect the built heritage.


Passage West

  • Being sister towns, it is understandable that Passage West and Monkstown are always thrown into the same pot when it comes to planning. But the reality is, both are socially so far removed from one another that the coalescing of the two settlements does neither town any particular service.
  • Yet despite these assets, Passage West is a dark, narrow town where there is little employment, less commerce and much dereliction. It does not even begin to reflect Cork County Council’s strategic aims for large Metropolitan towns.
  • Passage West has many assets that are incontrovertibly valuable. It is beside Cork Harbour. It has magnificent architecture. It has a rich industrial and maritime heritage. These assets should make it one of the most desirable places to live in the county.
  • Passage West’s fortunes have always been related to the sea. In the 1700s, Passage West was the port of Cork. The channel from Passage West to the city was undredged and shallow, so ships moored off Passage West to discharge their cargo. The first quay in Cork Harbour was opened in Passage West in 1836. In the 1800s, Passage West was an industrial hive of shipbuilding of European importance. Since the decline of shipbuilding in the early twentieth century, Passage West has turned its back on the sea. If this town is to reinvent itself, it is most likely to succeed by once again being mindful of its age-old relationship with Cork Harbour.
  • So it is vital that particular emphasis is put in the Local Area Plan on:
    • creating visual and physical links between the town and the water
    • enhancing marine-related infrastructure
  • Too much emphasis was placed in the existing Local Area Plan on the Dockyard site. It is true that the future of the Dockyard site is critical to the future of Passage West, but there are several other brownfield sites in the town centre which are also extremely influential. The convent and convent school dominate the town and have been derelict for far too long. Steampacket Quay, once the heart of Passage West, is adjacent to Penny’s Dock and is an embarrassment at the end of the very popular Railway Line. The pocket of land at the end of Beach Road is, whilst small, predominant and influential. These key sites also deserve attention within the Local Area Plan.
  • To this end, it is helpful that the Preliminary Consultation proposes incorporating the convent within the town centre core. As the convent and its site have been recently purchased, I hope it is not too late for this inclusion to positively influence whatever development is proposed over the coming months.
  • I very strongly support the Paragraph suggestion of a non-statutory planning brief for both the Dockyard and the convent. Together, both occupy a large portion of Strand Street. However my fear is that as the Dockyard is also for sale at present, the non-statutory planning brief will be delivered too late to be of any real benefit.
  • I also support very strongly the suggestions made in Paragraph in relation to:
    • Providing greater connectivity between the town centre and the water
    • Developing an urban design/public realm strategy for the town centre
  • The Town Team concept as recommended by Retail Ireland (Retail Ireland Town Centres Policy Paper, 2012) would be tremendously beneficial to Passage West. The Town Team concept came from the UK. It would involve Cork County Council’s identifying Passage West as a pilot town where new partnerships between retailers, landlords, the local authority, representative groups, etc. would be formed to establish targets and achieve demonstrable improvements in town centre locations. With its paucity of commercial outlets, Passage West would be the ideal town to include in such a pilot.
  • In the absence of commercial outlets on the main street, many of the older on-street buildings have been converted into apartments. These have no dedicated parking. If there is to ever be enhancement of the streetscape within Passage West town centre, it is important to consider where off-street parking might be developed for the residents of these apartments.
  • Paragraph describes Passage West as being a “commuter settlement with good access to the employment nodes of Ringaskiddy and Cork City”. This is not true. Roads may be provided, but the roads are intolerably congested. A journey to Cork City along the R610 in the morning can take up to an hour. Tailbacks in the am peak through Rochestown reach Hop Island and beyond. Poor drainage on the R610 past the Suez Pond coupled with the speed and volume of traffic makes this section of the road increasingly dangerous. I am aware of several families who have moved from Passage West to Cork City because they are simply no longer able to take the frustration of the morning’s commute.
  • Congestion on the R610 has not been mentioned anywhere in the Preliminary Consultation. It is no longer acceptable to brush over this legacy of overdevelopment of lands all dependent on a single linear road. I would really welcome any suggestions the first draft of the Local Area Plan might propose to go even some small way towards resolving this issue.
  • Although a small settlement, Passage West is highly car dependent. Both the primary and secondary schools are situated a considerable way up Church Hill. The topography of the town is steep and few wish to climb Church Hill in the morning. In addition, the main retail outlet (Eurospar) is on the eastern end of the town. This makes it inaccessible other than by car to most residents. To be fair, whilst congestion in Passage West is incomparably better than in other Metropolitan towns, poor planning decisions have led to dependence on the private car in a way that is most unsustainable.
  • It would be a positive aim for the Local Area Plan to enhance walking routes to both the primary and secondary schools. Whilst Church Hill will always remain a challenge, placing a handrail close to the wall along the footpath would assist those who are less able-bodied. Although significant residential development has been permitted at the northern end of the town, there is no footpath along Church Hill to connect these residential developments to the school. The provision of this footpath is long overdue.
  • Paragraph inaccurately implies that the Railway Walk will be extended from where it ends at present in Fr. O’Flynn Park through Passage West, Glenbrook, Monkstown and on down to Carrigaline. My understanding is that this will not be the case. As far as I am aware, the intention is that the proposed Greenway will be developed from the ferry at Glenbrook through Monkstown and on south. Passage West and Glenbrook will be excluded. This is significant because, as mentioned in Paragraph, the town centre environment is restricted and “difficult to navigate as a pedestrian, cyclist and by car”. It is important that the Local Area Plan would give consideration as to how cyclists visiting and passing through Passage West would best and safely be accommodated.
  • I have had many discussions with the relevant sections of Cork County Council about how best to bring bicycles through Passage West town centre. There are really only two options. The first is to create a boardwalk-type extension to the Greenway on the water side of the Dockyard. This would be very attractive but will clearly work only in the context of a redeveloped Dockyard. Furthermore, it would lead to a winding Greenway which would come along Steampacket Quay to Penny’s Dock, divert to the boardwalk, rejoin the road at the end of Dock Terrace and share a carriageway with cars until it rejoins the dedicated Greenway at the Cross River Ferry. The second option is to examine the feasibility of reopening the tunnel built to serve the Cork Blackrock and Passage Railway.
  • This 450 metre-long tunnel currently lies disused and boarded up at one end. Nonetheless, it is a remarkable and quite unique piece of industrial heritage. The first 50 metres at the Passage end was built by a process called “cut and cover”. At the Glenbrook end, the construction necessitated blasting through solid rock. It incorporates a large shaft to permit the release of smoke and steam and cavities along its length to allow anyone trapped inside to escape the path of an oncoming train. This tunnel is the only one of its kind on a narrow gauge track in the whole country. Cork County Council has recently surveyed the tunnel and found it to be in sound condition. Whilst its opening for public access would call for thought, particularly with regard to safety, the tunnel would be a fantastic and novel addition to the Greenway and an attraction in its own right.
  • Paragraph is not correct. There is a marina in Monkstown. It is privately owned. There is no marina in Passage West. There is, however, a public pontoon in Passage West. Whilst this is very welcome and of great assistance to small boat handling, it does not and will never function as a marina.
  • In general in Passage West, although as mentioned above the pontoon is hugely welcome, access to water needs to be greatly enhanced. There are several slipways in the town but not one of them has vehicular access. Many are in poor condition. It is vital that provision of a slipway with vehicular access for Passage West and associated parking is a particular aim of the Local Area Plan.
  • The proposed dezoning of R6, R7 and R8 is welcome. In the context of existing infrastructure, these lands should never have been zoned. But the same concerns apply to the proposed zoning of lands around Monkstown Golf Course. Any houses built on these lands into the future would rely on an inadequate country road network for connection to the R610 and would be so remote from schools and services in the closest centre of population that their residents would be utterly dependent on the car. This would be unsustainable.
  • The Preliminary Consultation has no mention of either community facilities or dereliction. Both are critical to Passage West. It is really important that the Local Area Plan would contain a strong commitment to improved community facilities and to tackling dereliction.
  • The pleasant residential environment of Monkstown is threatened by the high volume and speed of through traffic. Parking becomes a particular issue during the summer in the vicinity of the Sandquay and marina. On-street parking by users of the marina creates a dangerous bottleneck in an area of particularly poor visibility around Carlisle Place. A traffic calming scheme and interim parking arrangements to serve the marina were prepared several years ago. Their provision would enhance the residential environment of Monkstown, improve the amenity that is the riverside walk and deliver vastly improved safety for the village generally. Provision of traffic calming and parking in Monkstown needs to be an aim of the Local Area Plan.



  • The existing Local Area Plan had an aim towards improving Carrigaline’s town centre and residential amenities. In reality, there has been little progress in this regard throughout that period. It is now critical that these deficits are addressed.
  • Although it is true that housing is urgently needed nationally, infrastructural improvements, traffic management, diversification of transportation options, provision of amenity space and community facilities and upgrading of the streetscape for existing residents are all critically urgent in the context of Carrigaline. It is my opinion that there should be no further rezoning of land for housing in or close to the Carrigaline development boundary until these issues are prioritised and addressed comprehensively.
  • Section suggests considering rezoning of lands between Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy for residential housing. This would be entirely retrograde. Any development on lands here would be disconnected from Carrigaline town to the extent that they could never form part of the Carrigaline community. This would be sprawling, inefficient land use which would create yet further reliance on unsustainable forms of transportation.
  • Section comments on the limited employment supply in Carrigaline because of its proximity to the Ringaskiddy Strategic Industrial Zone. If Carrigaline was designed to act as the residential hub for the Ringaskiddy Strategic Industrial Zone, then this is all the more reason to enhance infrastructural links between Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy. There isn’t even a bus service between the two settlements. However, the reality is shown in Paragraph, which tells us that actually only 21% of employees living in Carrigaline are working in Ringaskiddy. So it is critical that further employment is created within the Carrigaline development boundary and that infrastructural links between Carrigaline, the city and the Metropolitan area generally are enhanced and diversified.
  • Traffic congestion in and around Carrigaline is almost untenable. This applies equally to traffic from housing estates in the northern end of the town going towards the town centre and to traffic from Carrigaline generally to Cork City. The upgraded N28 will assist with the latter. But it is critical that there is greater ease of movement in and around Carrigaline town. Otherwise, the town will stagnate and lose business to the more easily negotiable southern suburbs of Cork City. To this end, I ask that the Local Area Plan would have an aim of updating the 2007 Carrigaline Area Transportation Study. I ask also that the study would examine the best ways of delivering all modes of transportation in and around Carrigaline.
  • Paragraph recognises the “opportunities” to address the high car dependency rates between Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy. Frankly, it is not sufficient to recognise these opportunities. They need to be delivered on. Building a greenway between Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy is of vital importance in the short-medium term. I am aware that the County Council believes this will be more straightforward after the N28 upgrade. But for the present, there is a hard shoulder almost all the way along the N28 from the Shannonpark roundabout to Ringaskiddy. Cycling is reasonably safe. What is not safe is negotiation of the Shannonpark roundabout. If in the immediate term the County Council could address safe access for bicycles to the N28, it would be of significant assistance.
  • I agree strongly with locating significant retail developments within the town core as proposed in Paragraph However, we must not forget that those who are shopping – in particular grocery shopping – need to travel by car. So again, freeing up road space into the town centre is vital. At present, it is somewhat of a challenge to make it across the Bothar Guidel to the significant retail developments on the other side of the river.
  • I also agree strongly with the aims of Paragraph in relation to enhancing the town centre streetscape. At present, Carrigaline main street is narrow, colourless and dominated by the car (both moving and stationary). Whilst I appreciate that delivery of the inner relief road would expand opportunities and options for streetscape enhancement, the wait for the inner relief road has been long and it is no longer practical to link streetscape enhancement to its delivery. Carrigaline and its people deserve better.
  • Both as part of the streetscape enhancement and further into the future, the provision of open space as suggested in Paragraph is very welcome and badly needed. I ask that this network of open space would be designed in such a way as to also act as a corridor for wildlife, thereby making its purpose doubly valuable.
  • In summary for Carrigaline, I think it well past time that quality of life and environment for existing residents is given priority over provision of extra residential housing. Carrigaline has massive potential as a place to live and work but has been allow to lag well behind governmental recommendations for high quality residential areas.



  • I am entirely aware that development of the Strategic Industrial Zone at Ringaskiddy has been an aim of Cork County Council, the Industrial Development Authority and the Irish government over many years. However, sadly, so many aspects of Ringaskiddy epitomise what is now regarded as unsustainable development. This review of the Local Area Plan presents an excellent opportunity to challenge and address those failings.
  • The Ringaskiddy Strategic Industrial Zone is located at the end of a peninsula into which there is simply one road. That there is no alternative to the private car for all those employed there has led to the horrendous peak hour traffic congestion that has come to characterise the N28. The upgrade of the N28 will be welcome in this regard when it comes, but realistically, it only touches addressing the unsustainability of traffic and transport arrangements to this Strategic Industrial Zone. I have already spoken above about the need for a Greenway from Carrigaline to Ringaskiddy. This must link with the Greenway which we anticipate will come as far as the Raffeen junction with the existing N28. An enhanced bus service to Ringaskiddy is essential. If Bus Éireann does not co-operate in this regard, then Cork County Council might, in conjunction with the industries, explore the possibility of shuttle buses from designated car parks to coincide with the factory shifts.
  • Paragraph has a stated intention of not providing for any significant population growth in Ringaskiddy. The irony is that this approach makes traffic congestion worse. It is not possible for either employees of industry or, in particular, students of the National Maritime College, the Beaufort Institute or Imerc to get residence anywhere that involves not needing a car. Realistically, there is only one development in Ringaskiddy where students can rent a house. So either student/visitor accommodation should be considered in Ringaskiddy or interconnectivity between Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy should be significantly improved.
  • Cork County Council and the IDA have an aim of attracting high quality industry to Ringaskiddy. This is laudable. However, it is so often forgotten that high quality industry demands a high quality environment for its employees. Ringaskiddy does not represent that high quality environment and yet has immense potential to do so. Industry and warehousing is given land right out to the edge of the water, whilst factory employees and students are relegated to exercising on the footpath along the N28 that runs between the industries and the road. It is so important that a strip of land along the water’s edge is kept such that it can be developed as public amenity. That such an amenity can be offered to its employees will make Ringaskiddy more attractive, not less attractive, to high quality industry. This needs to be a policy of the Local Area Plan.
  • The Local Area Plan zoning maps should show Paddy’s Point as being an amenity area dedicated to the public. This was a commitment of the Port of Cork’s planning application.
  • When industry is given planning permission, visual screening from the water must be regarded with the same importance as zoning from the land. Cork Harbour is finally developing as a unique tourism offering and, whilst it is quite possible to accommodate tourism and industry side by side in our multi-faceted harbour, it is essential that the visual impact of the industrial zone would be softened whenever possible.
  • It would be of tremendous benefit to the sensitive harbour landscape if industrial development on high ground visible from the harbour were kept to a minimum. Equally important is that the Local Area Plan would have a policy of no high building or stack developments between the water and heritage buildings such as the Ringaskiddy Martello Tower. The Martello Tower runs the risk of becoming an island in the midst of industrial development. This would destroy its potential to fulfil its role as a critical element of the valuable heritage triangle formed by Forts Camden, Carlisle and Westmoreland. To this end, it would be of potential tourism value if the land between the Martello Tower and the sea were considered for dezoning.
  • I ask that a particular aim of the Local Area Plan would be to develop a sports complex/sports hall in Ringaskiddy village. This would be of tremendous benefit to residents, students and employees of industry. The Local Area Plan could show particular commitment to this suggestion by zoning a patch of ground for this purpose. The Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP) has long since recognised the need to provide high quality open space and amenities for workers.
  • It is appropriate that the Local Area Plan would indicate what land in the Ringaskiddy/Shanbally catchment is to be zoned for development of the new amalgamated Ringaskiddy/Shanbally school.
  • The recent trend towards development of a university/research hub at the eastern end of the Ringaskiddy peninsula is hugely positive and very welcome. This trend should be reinforced by the Local Area Plan. To do so is clearly in line with the long-held CASP aim for Ringaskiddy: “The Cork Harbour Area would offer a superb environment for a Cork Technopole”.   To that end, I ask that the Local Area Plan would have as a specific aim that further development at the eastern end of the Ringaskiddy peninsula would compliment and build on this trending university campus.
  • I welcome the commitment of Paragraph to giving greater recognition to the needs of the established residential population in Shanbally/Ringaskiddy. For far too long, residents of Ringaskiddy have felt like intruders in the Strategic Industrial Zone. Yet there is such a gulf between this commitment and that of Paragraph, which states the need to ensure that the amenity and quality of life experienced by the residents will not be compromised by development of Ringaskiddy as a strategic employment centre. However, both of these commitments are well worth incorporating in the Local Area Plan. Even the provision of high quality recreational spaces would go such a long way towards improving the facilities for Ringaskiddy residents.
  • In this regard, there is a particular need to monitor and control noise, dust and air quality in Ringaskiddy. There is also a need to control night-time port-related traffic movement. The quality of life enjoyed by some residents in Ringaskiddy has been very badly impacted by their proximity to the port. There is a concern that this impact may be magnified by the new and expanded facilities for which the Port of Cork has been given planning permission. It is critical that the Local Area Plan would state its awareness of this issue and its commitment to work with the Port and the residents on ensuring port impact is reduced rather than amplified.
  • Ringaskiddy village and its people are tremendous assets to the Strategic Industrial Zone. They are essentially markers for port and industrial performance. They are permanent, on-the-ground adjudicators of whether port and industry are delivering that high quality environment so essential to optimising the marketability of Ringaskiddy. Additionally, an attractive, welcoming Ringaskiddy will enhance use of the ferry terminal, encouraging tourists to spend some time enjoying the village offerings before moving on to pursue the remainder of their trip.
  • CASP is clear that “greater emphasis should be given to promoting and developing the harbour as a facility for water-based sport and leisure activity”. Some of the most valuable access points for dinghy sailing and windsurfing are on the eastern end of the Ringaskiddy peninsula. Gobby Beach is an undeveloped gem. Lands to the east of the Haulbowline Island bridge are equally valuable. Access to the water for development of watersports centres is increasingly difficult to find. Most harbourside land is in private ownership. But a watersports centre on the eastern shores of the Ringaskiddy peninsula offers shelter for inexperienced participants whilst permitting those who are more adept almost immediate access to the wider expanse of Cork Harbour without crossing shipping lanes. I ask that the Local Area Plan would, at a minimum, mention this potential for the eastern shores of the Ringaskiddy peninsula and would, preferably, identify the most suitable area(s) where such development might be supported.
  • The same issue of restricted access to waterside sites is a real impediment to the development of public water transport between Cobh and Ringaskiddy. However, the concept would be a highly sustainable one, would relieve the congested road network of many trips and should be a stated desire of the Local Area Plan.


Cork City South Environs including Douglas

  • All of the issues pertaining to the Cork City South Environs addressed by the Preliminary Consultation are worthy of addressing in the Local Area Plan.
  • Where I consider the approach of the Preliminary Consultation to fall down is in the way it coalesces all of the neighbourhoods in those southern suburbs. Togher and Douglas, for example, do not consider themselves to be part of the same town and for the Local Area Plan to do so demeans their unique residential identities. In fact, to take consider all these neighbourhoods as simply being suburbs of the city reinforces the argument that they should indeed be part of city rather than county territory.
  • I feel very strongly that the Local Area Plan needs to give more attention to the potential offered by the Tramore Valley Park and Vernon Mount complex. The Cork City South Environs comprises the largest population in this Municipal District. It deserves a regional park of import equal to that in Ballincollig. The Tramore Valley Park and Mount Vernon complex offers the ideal opportunity to develop such a landmark facility.
  • The dense, linear development of the Rochestown area leaves residents heavily reliant on the private car. The road network struggles to accommodate demand, particularly at peak. It is critical that the upgrade of the existing N28 would increase rather than reduce travel routes and transportation options for residents of Rochestown and Maryborough.
  • When planning permission was granted for the development of Mount Oval, a long-term commitment was made to provide an on-ramp to the N28. This commitment needs now to be reflected in the Local Area Plan. Provision of this on-ramp would relieve demand for the R610 and Douglas village and offer increased options to residents.
  • Upgrading of Clarke’s Hill and Coach Hill must be a stated priority of the Local Area Plan. These are bus routes which take more than their fair share of traffic and offer poor to no pedestrian facilities.


Cork Harbour 

  • Cork Harbour has not been mentioned at all in the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Preliminary Consultation document. Yet the harbour is one of the area’s greatest assets. It is critical that consideration for its future development forms an integral part of this Local Area Plan.
  • Maximising accessibility to Cork Harbour is vital. In this regard, I refer to visual accessibility as much as physical accessibility. Public footpaths along the harbour’s edge must be prioritised. This, as suggested in the context of Ringaskiddy, would be a welcome stated objective of the Local Area Plan. Of course it will not be possible to provide for such footpaths in every location, but it is important to have a conscious aim to provide them wherever possible. Highly developed facilities are not necessary; accessibility is the priority.
  • It would be welcome stated aim of the Local Area Plan to accommodate and encourage services/facilities along such amenities as the Hop Island – Passage West Railway Line. Such services/facilities include toilets, coffee docks, seats and picnic stations.
  • Cork Harbour is common and equally valuable to four of the Municipal Districts in County Cork: Ballincollig-Carrigaline, Cobh, East Cork and Bandon-Kinsale. I ask that the Local Area Plan would have a stated aim of the development of a plan specific to Cork Harbour. This plan would build on the draft Cork Harbour Study and set out the best means by which all stakeholder interests in our multi-faceted harbour can be most advantageously and sustainably accommodated into the future. The findings and conclusions of this plan would then be incorporated into the Local Area Plans for each of the four surrounding Municipal Districts.

Yours faithfully,
Marcia D’Alton
Independent Member, Cork County Council






Notes from a meeting of the full Council, 25th January 2015

Suspension of standing orders proposed for 1pm by Cllr Hegarty (FG) on the flooding in Waterrock and by Cllr O’Flynn (FF) on the lack of a water supply in Fermoy over the weekend.


1.  Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 11th January, 2016.

Proposed and seconded.


[b]           VOTES OF SYMPATHY
2.  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.

Two votes of sympathy were offered.


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

(a).          Disposal of 54 Belmont Avenue, Rochestown, Co. Cork.

Cobh Municipal District, 10th December, 2015:

(b).          Disposal of Substation Site at Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork to ESB Networks.

Proposed and seconded.

4.  Statutory Consultation on Draft Flood Maps – South Western CFRAM Study.

OPW consultation




5.  Capital Programme 2016 – 2018 prepared in accordance with S.135 of the Local Government Act, 2001.

The Capital Programme was distributed: Capital Programme 2016


  • This is a three-year capital programme.
  • We have done one-year capital programmes previously. The one-year process was benficial because it allowed us to be accurate in our predictions.
  • We have this year tried to be as accurate as possible but we are aware that we don’t know what grant aid we will get in 2017 and 2018.
  • We are presenting a programme which captures the works and the value of those that we deem to be already underway and those contractually committed to over the next three years.
  • €402.48m = total programme of works over the three years.
  • Housing work is largely funded through housing capital programme
  • Roads work is largely funded through national roads programme
  • Flooding is largely funded from the Department of the Environment and the OPW
  • The €34m to be spent on flooding includes the Skibbereen scheme which the County Council is running but not the Bandon scheme because that is being progressed directly by the OPW
  • Of the money to be spent on Environment, €49m of this related to Haulbowline remedial works.
  • There are €120m of works in this table that are not funded.
  • The programme is presented for information. It does not have to be approved by Council. Proposes that it should be presented in more detail in divisional meetings.

Cllr Hegarty (FG): Fleet replacement – thought we were leasing a lot of our fleet, not purchasing?

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Public lighting commitment – how long are we contracted for this and who is the contract with?

Cllr MCGrath (FF): €442m over three years is a significant sum of money. Is concerned that so much of it is already committed. It doesn’t leave much wriggle room and other projects will arise over that time. The footpath programme is welcome. The public lighting is also welcome.

Cllr Creed (FG): Welcomes the listing of the Ballyvourney bypass.

Cllr O’Grady (SF): Welcomes this and the 3 year programme. Can‘t understand how we have managed to produce a 3 year programme when we could only produce an annual progamme before. Concerned about roads and housing strategy. On housing, is worried that our figures do not correlate with the Department’s planned figures for Cork. The Department’s target is 401 over 3 years. But we have only 43. How will the €80m from the Department be spent over this time? It is meant to be spent over 2015 – 2018. Voids are in limited supply. There are 229 voids listed here and that is nearly 50% of houses that were acquired during the year.

Cllr Murphy (FG): Extraordinary sum of money provided for.

Cllr Coleman (FF): Compare this to previous years please? What proprotion is coming from the Department?

Councillors expressed lots of worries expressed about lack of funding for roads in West Cork.

Cllr Carroll (FF): The Town Council in Skibbereen was taken over 2 years ago and at that time the refurbishment of the Town Hall was with the architects. It has not advanced since then. Irish Water says that the County Council has not yet handed over its assets to them.

Cllr Forde (FG): Compliments the executive. Difficult to divide up and to be fair. Wants more clarity on the €89.5 which may be progressed based on business need.


  • €1.2 m of the public lighting is our own programme. The remaining is a projected expenditure subject to matters being dealt with at national level. Ogoing work is being done at national level between the CCMA and various partners to see how we could replace light heads with LED. At the moemnt that programme is not funded. This projection is a guesstimate based on how much money we might be granted if the programme goes ahead.
  • Social housing: We have achieved our 2015 targets.
  • Coastal protection funding is subject to our getting funding from DAFM. That funding is shown as being noncommitted because the funding is not in place.
  • Irish Water – all assets of Cork County Council have been transferred legally to Irish Water. That is the case for all local authorities across the country. There is an ongoing process which will take time across every local authority to conclude that process on the ground. We held development contributions and debtors for water services on the transfer overdate and finalising this balancing statement has been going on for the last 15 months. Is expected to be complete within the next month. We had the biggest book of customers of any local authority.
  • An indicative figure has been included for the Carrigaline Relief Road. Again, there is no funding.




6.  Corporate Policy Group:
(a).          Approval of attendance by Council members at Conferences on the Conference List for January, 2016, approved by the Corporate Policy Group at their meeting on the 12th January, 2016.

Proposed and seconded.

(b).          Approval of the following contributions:-
Muintir na Tire – €10,000
Cork Camogie Club – €50,000
Cork Opera House – €25,000 per annum for next 5 years

We are not taking the Cork Opera House contribution today.

Contributions to Muintir na Tire and the Cork Camogie Club were approved and seconded.


7.  Ballincollig Carrigaline Municipal District:
“This Committee recommends that the Council would develop a policy concerning the safety of trees along public roads in each Municipal District.”

Cllr Canty (FG): This has come up at a lot of the Municipal Districgts over the last number of years. Many landowners do cut their hedges and hanging trees. But there are many who don’t. Bus Eireann have had to revert to single decker buses along certain roads. Artic trucks are going into rural areas and the hedges are tearing canvas sides. We’re asking that something positive is done. Not writing to people year in year out and expecting something to be done. Need a policy to make sure that landowners take care of their hedges.

Cllr McGrath (FF): This was my motion. Trees on public roads as an issue is raised with us regularly. We don’t have an adequate policy on this issue. Hopes to forward it to SPC. There is a responsibility on landowners obviously. Asks that the Council would take a more proactive approach in advising landowners of their responsibility. If that responsibility is not taken seriously, that the Council would then act again. Perhaps undertake a survey to inform on the health of trees, etc.

Cllr M Collins (Ind): Supports.

Cllr Forde (FG): The Department published a report on this and thinks this Departmental policy goes a long way to resolving the problems but it needs to be enforced at local level. If we are going to send it on to SPC, the Department should have an input into this policy. There is plenty of room for us to input into it at local authority level. The planning department has responsibility in relation to planning applications which allow certain species of trees not suitable for urban areas.

Cllr Conway (Ind): Agrees and points out that enforcement is too slow. We have to come up with a better system than the enforcement system that is there at the moment.

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): It is time the CE took control of this issue. We need to have one policy document for maintenance of our roads. One document for the verge up to the tree. Is the SPC fit for purpose if it cannot do this? Knows the Area Engineer writes to landowners about their trees and generally gets a good response. We seem to have one policy in West Cork, one in North Cork, etc.

Cllr Keohane (SF): Speaks of overgrwoth at a junction. Overgrowth prohibits street lights from working.

Cllr Hayes (SF): This was discussed at the Roads and Transport SPC.   There were over 20 applications to the pilot hedgecutting scheme in West Cork. Legislation is there already to deal with overhanging limbs. Enforcement of the legislation is the issue. The Council is obliged to contact landowners and if they are not forthcoming in doing the work, the Council can cut down the limbs and charge the landowner. Give the landowners a chance to do what they are supposed to do.

Cllr Murphy (FG): Repeats what Cllr Hayes says. Maybe we could get a report from the Municipal District Area Offices as to whether there is a decision made to write to the landowners involved. Wants to know how many have been prosecuted who did not follow through.

Cllr N O’Donovan (FG): Cllr Hayes is right. Wonders if internally we could put an extra member of staff on enforcement. If we write to the landowner to cut the trees, the impetus is on us to prove that tree is a danger. Area Engineers have enough to be doing. Is a serious issue alright.

Cllr Canty (FG): Is the embargo in relation to the chainsaw still in place? Does a subcontractor have to work for the Area Office? Any way we can alleviate that problem?

CE: The intention of the motion was to have it referred to the Transport SPC. Landowners know what their responsibilities are. Area Engineers have been active in writing to landowners. Clearly follow up takes time. The issue is resourcing enforcement. We will do what we can with existing resources. Will ask each Area Engineer to brief the Municipal District Committees on their activity in this area.




8.  Consideration of the Chief Executive’s Report on Submissions Received to the Proposed Amendment No. 4 to Carrigaline E.A. Local Area Plan 2011 – Shannonpark Framework Masterplan.

It was agreed at the Development Committee on 15th January, 2016 that the following recommendation to make minor amendments to the Proposed Amendment would be made to the meeting of the full Council to be held on 25th January.

  • Remove the indicative connectivity arrows between the proposed new development and Herons Wood housing estate on the map. (N.B.: This would not affect the red arrow across the R611 and the proposed greenway at U-13.)
  • In paragraph 1.4.38, delete the second sentence of the bullet point as follows:- “It is critical that the layout and design of this area allows for connectivity with the existing Herons Wood housing estate to the south”
  • The proposals made in the Chief Executive’s Report to insert an additional bullet point in 1.4.26 will not be pursued.
  • Insert additional text in paragraph 1.3.4: “The masterplan proposals have been included in this Electoral Area Local Area Plan by amendment in order to accelerate the delivery of much needed new housing. The review of the EALAP’s and the preparation of the new plan for the Municipal District presents an opportunity, in consultation with the public, for the County Council to refine the detail of the proposed development.”

Cllr McGrath (FF): This is a major proposal for Carrigaline. The discussions already held are welcome. The town is facing major challenges in terms of infrastructure, etc. It is a very important masterplan and something we should get right. Outlines the two main issues (connectivity and linking to the N28 upgrade). The executive has listened carefully to our concerns about connectivity and has moved successfully to allay fears. Is also concerned about the lack of a link between the N28 upgrade and the development. The executive and himself don’t agree on this. I don’t say the development shouldn’t start, but do believe say that linking must happen at some stage. As of this morning, was still undecided on this issue. Wants to be able to send out a positive message that Carrigaline is a positive town in terms of development. Knows we are in a housing crisis. Wants to weigh it up against the fact that Carrigaline has been left down. We have no certainty on the N28. Appreciates the executive has moved on the public’s concerns in relation to the Masterplan. Welcomes the new wording to include a reference to the Local Area Plan. Sent an email on Thursday to the executive suggesting additional 3 words on the end of that: “including infrastructural requirements”. Thinks that would send the message that we are prepared to look at the infrastructural issue in the LAP.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Appreciate also the litany of discussions we have had in relation to this issue. Not just those in front of the full Chamber but also at Municipal District meeting every step of the way. My particular concern is not the linking of the development with the N28 but its linking with Carrigaline. Carrigaline is a great town. It has grown massively in size, particularly in the last 15 years. It is a lovely place to live with some super community facilities. But Carrigaline now has a population of over 15,000 people. The town is so congested with traffic. This is nothing new. The problem was recognised back in 2007 when the Carrigaline Area Transportation Study was drawn up to try to resolve the problem. Some of its recommendations were that there would be an inner Western relief road, an outer Western relief road, a town centre strategy incorporating a pedestrian-friendly main street, horizontal traffic calming measures and gateways from side streets to the main street. There would be three table top ramps across pedestrian crossings on the Main Street delivering a total of seven pedestrian crossings on the main street. A comprehensive Cycle Network Plan was to be drawn up for the town. Off street parking was to be developed to encourage park and walk. The first hint of the recommended Park and Ride facility would in the new Shannonpark development. And there was to be a feasibility study done on a figure of eight town bus service which surveys showed would be popular. Virtually none of these recommendations has been delivered. To be fair, it is not in the County Council’s gift to deliver many of these. Dedicated funding from government is needed. But that hasn’t come. Of course we need houses. We are in the middle of a national housing emergency. But the County Council is expected to pick up the tab for that. Just as the residents of Carrigaline are expected to pick up the tab for the traffic impact of yet 1,000 more houses – that is at least 2,000 more residents. It is just not fair on the existing residents of Carrigaline. It is not fair on people generally that they should have to continually pick up the tab for government failure to invest. And it is not fair on future residents of the Shannonpark development who, because of traffic congestion, will be so removed from the town of Carrigaline that they may struggle to become part of the Carrigaline community. So I too had not made up my mind by this morning how to vote on this.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Believes not enough has been done towards committing to social housing in the development. Doesn’t hold the view of the executive in terms of social housing. Doesn’t think we should be restricted to Part V. Issues of connectivity were taken on board by the residents. The issue of infrastructure remains very significant. We spoke recently of a new transport plan for the town. Traffic is the highest issue on the agenda in the town and the biggest influence on quality of life. Thinks N28 is crucial to Carrigaline. Has serious concerns about going any further than Phase 1 without the N28 in place. Also pointed to the need for the western relief road. There is a significant housing crisis. A large part of me is keen to support a well planned Masterplan. Other councillors have expressed reservations about the Masterplan approach but it is a step away from the developer led approach which characterised house building in the past.

Cllr Collins (FG): I proposed a new upgraded and updated transportation plan for Carrigaline at our last Municipal District meeting. The relief road isn’t going to happen. It was primarily developer-led and the Council was backed into a corner to agree with it. Doesn’t think it is in the right place. Shannonpark is a phased development over 10 years. There will not be 1,000 houses or 2,000 cars immediately. Doesn’t agree that the dearth of infrastructural development in Carrigaline was the cause of the government. In the last 15 years Carrigaline did take off but linking the proposed development with the N28 is not an issue. The developer in question is prepared to construct a slip road. Has no issue with Cllr McGrath’s three words at the end if it will move on this Masterplan. We do need infrastructural development. Much is stitched into the greater plan for the development.

Cllr Forde (FG): Seconds Cllr Collins’ proposals. Masterplans were never meant to fall on one issue. The major issue in Carrigaline when she spoke to the people was connectivity. Glad that the executive has acceeded to our request. The Masterplan is in phases. We all know there are people sleeping on the streets. We know there are people homeless. Quality of life is first and foremost a roof over our heads. The Masterplan will go a long way towards providing much needed housing stock. The Masterplan should not fall on a single issue. But this Masterplan has been in gestation for so long, the crunch comes now. Lets not parry any more. We can through other mechanisms sort out the kinks we have with other issues. The people of Carrigaline are so resilient. We come to meet them half way. This is not a political issue.

CE: The Masterplan has come a significant way. Concerns raised here this morning are infrastructrure generally in Carrigaline and the N28. We have a Local Area Plan process in which matters such as these are dealt with. The Masterplan underpinned by extensive traffic modelling. It will allow for development on a phased basis. Has no problem with the extra three words. The traffic modelling indicates that the N28 is not required for the development to proceed.

Inclusion of the three words was formally proposed and seconded.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind): But what good is including an intention to deliver infrastructure in the new Local Area Plan? That intention is already there in the existing Local Area Plan drawn up in 2011. It says that one of the challenges for Carrigaline is “rebalancing Carrigaline town centre to include better traffic management, car park provision, pedestrian access and general improvements to the public realm”. A commitment in the Local Area Plan does not mean the infrastructure is going to be delivered.

The Mayor shut down the discussion, saying that the Masterplan was passed.


9.  National Road Grant Allocations 2016.

Letter from the CE regarding funding for non-national roads: Roads damage from adverse weather

Director of Roads: Funding from TII is down on last year. The main reason is because the only allocation for pavement works is that in Lissarda. TII says they are currently reviewing the pavement programme and what funding is available. They say they will be able to notify us in the near future. They speak of priorities. Last August they asked us to advance the design of 8 or 9 different schemes. They will tell us what the most urgent needs and priorities of these are.

Cllr Creed (FG): This is a massive cut in funding. The original programme we got was from 2013 – 2016. Money has been allocated to Cork County Council but has redistributed to other roads. The survey on these roads was done in 2012. The standard of the roads in Macroom-Blarney are in an appalling state. To do this to us and to expect the people to suffer huge consequences. Our area is not hugely populated, but has long lengths of roads. Totally unacceptable for this to happen year after year after year.

Cllr N O’Donovan (FG): Disappointed to see the reduction but understands from the Director of Services that the full grant hasn’t been announced yet. The Leap section along the N71 is the only oustanding stretch left along this road. What is the priority here? Spoke of a dangerous stretch of road in West Cork.

Cllr C O’Sullivan (FF): Disgust that there is no funding again for the N71. People of West Cork are left emptyhanded when it comes to this year after year. It is the main artery into West Cork. We rely on it for tourism, for investors and there is the safety aspect of it.

More members spoke about the N71. Cllr O’Flynn’s motion on the Mallow Relief Road was taken:

“That Cork County Council immediately call on the Minister for Transport and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to make the necessary finding available to ensure that the much needed Mallow Relief Road can commence as was promised by the Minister in November 2015.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF) spoke about the dire need for the bypass and wants a consulting engineer to be assigned to draw this up to design this as a matter of urgency.

Cllr T Collins (Ind): Spoke in support. You’d have to be around Mallow to realise how bad it is. As a former haulage contractor, drove into that town before.

Lots of members spoke in support of the motion.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF): If you’re going to cut back funding for roads in rural areas – we have spoken about increasing milk production, etc – basic core of our work is maintaining a good road network.

CE spoke on distribution of grants for non-national roads:

  • Allocating funding based on the condition of the road is the only way to do this.
  • In 2013 when we were allocating funding, it was based on the condition of the roads then. That basis for the distribution of the money is now out of date.
  • It is true that some areas have benefited more than others, even though those areas may have had better road surfaces.
  • We have better information now which classifies the road condition. If we don’t redistribute based on our current knowledge, we could undermind our current level of funding from the Department. They may say we are not using the best information available. Value for money would be called into question.
  • East Cork is the area is suffering most from this reallocation. Perhap we could transition the allocation in over the 3 year life of the programme?

The Director of Roads said that TII asked us to prepare designs on 10 pavement schemes on natioanl roads last August. We are progressing these.

It was agreed that we would write to the Minister objecting to his leaving the Mallow bypass out of the funding for this year.

Cllr O’Grady (SF) proposes that the survey on non-national roads is undertaken again. We need a new survey.

Cllr Conway (Ind) seconds that, especially for Blarney-Macroom.

The Department’s requirements for surveying are that:
Regional roads are to be surveyed every year
Local primary roads are to be surveyed every 2nd year
Local secondary are to be surveyed ever other year
Local tertiary are to be surveyed every 5 years

It was agreed that the programme transition period would be spread over 3 years, not one.


Suspension of Standing Orders:

Cllr Hegarty (FG): Meeting at Waterrock Golf Club on recent flooding. Concerns are about where water is currently discharging from Waterrock. A local resident put in some dye. Tried it on high, medium and low water levels and no dye appeared where it usually discharged. There is quarrying at John A Wood. Water used to be pumped there in the old days. There is a culvert under the Railway line that was closed by Irish Rail a few years back. This used to be a discharge point for surface waters. Residents called for some form of stormwater drainage system to be put in.

Cllr Barry (FG): The problem is not the Masterplan site itself, but the effect the extra surface water and capacity of the gullies would have on existing residents in the area.

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): Maybe we should extend the remit of the consultants (Arup) to examine Midleton town. Going forward here, what contingency plans can we have for this time next year if flooding comes about again. We must have something in place.

Cllr McCarthy (FG): Drainage of the roads there is very important. Dye was put into the caves. Three tests were done. No dye appeared on the other side of the N25 by the wastewater treatment plant like it should. Residents mentioned closing of the culvert by Irish Rail. We need to talk to Irish Rail about this.

CE suggests that we would ask the OPW to include the Waterrock Area in the Midleton Flood Relief Scheme.

Suspension of standing orders continued on the proposal Cllr O’Flynn (FF) to discuss the water outage on Saturday in Fermoy main street. Dreadfully difficult on the traders. No information coming from Irish Water. Members agreed generally that notification from Irish Water on water supply issues generally amounted to a tweet on Twitter and that is simply not good enough.


At 2.45 pm, the meeting was suspended with other items deferred until the next Council meeting.




10.  Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government:

  • Letter dated 4th January, 2016, in response to Council’s letter of 10th December, 2015, regarding decisions by An Bord Pleanála.
  • Letter dated 19th January, 2016, in response to Council’s letter of 16th September, 2015, regarding legislation governing the rental market.

11.  Department of Justice & Equality:

Letter dated 5th January, 2016, in response to Council’s letter of 16th December, 2015, regarding promotion of gambling.


[h]           NOTICES OF MOTION

12.  Councillor Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire:
That this Council requests that Transport Infrastructure Ireland come before the Council, to outline the Demand Management Study currently being undertaken by them on the N40, and to respond to reports recently following their meeting a committee of Cork City Council, that TII is considering tolling the road, and to discuss related matters.”

[Deferred from Council Meeting on the 11/1/16]

13.  Councillor Kevin Murphy:
“That Cork County Council seeks an immediate meeting with the Minister Kelly, Minister for the Environment and Local Government and Minister Coffey, Minister for State, to address the serious anomaly that has arisen in regard to the limits on County Council’s House Purchase and City House Purchase Scheme.”

[Deferred from Council Meeting on the 11/1/16]

14.  Councillor Noel Collins:
“That this Council call on the Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform to consider an early change in the Inheritance Tax Laws.”

[Deferred from Council Meeting on the 11/1/16]

15.  Councillor Aindrias Moynihan:
That Cork County Council calls on the Minister for Social Protection to end the age discriminatory way the contributory pension levels are being calculated.”

[Deferred from Council Meeting on the 11/1/16]

16.  Councillor Susan McCarthy:
“Following the devastation experienced by communities across our County wreaked by storm Frank on properties, businesses and residences, as well as extreme damage to our roads network, I would like to commend Cork County Council on its response, considering the unprecedented levels of damage caused. Notwithstanding these efforts, in anticipation of further events of such an extreme nature, that

a.) Council facilitate the setting up of a designated taskforce for each Municipal District, with a dedicated two-way channel of communication for Elected Members, and

b.) A direct phone line be made available to elected members in the event of such crises, with a facility for reply on reported events in order for members to more effectively feedback information to the public.”


17.  Councillor Des O’Grady:
“To request a written report on recent flooding of areas zoned for housing in the Metropolitan Area. The report to focus on the residential Masterplan sites and other areas zoned for housing (outside of once off housing) in the relevant Local Area Plans.  The report to contain information on the extent of any recent flooding that took place in these zoned areas outside of those sections previously designated as ‘susceptible to flooding’ on the 2011 Local Area Maps.”


18.  Councillor Michael Collins:
“I call on the Minister for Health to immediately publish the Capacity Review Report on our Ambulance service. Morale is at an all time low with Ambulance staff and it is high time that they are treated with some respect similar to other Emergency services in Cork County.

I call on my fellow Councillors to call on this Government for an immediate review of Ambulance staff pay and conditions to reflect the pressure these people work under.”


19.  Councillor Frank O’Flynn:
“That Cork County Council immediately call on the Minister for Transport and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to make the necessary finding available to ensure that the much needed Mallow Relief Road can commence as was promised by the Minister in November 2015.





  1. ESB:  Letter dated 11th January, 2016, in response to Council’s letter of 16th December, 2015, regarding the introduction of fees for electric vehicles.


  1. Irish Water:  Letter dated 11th January, 2016, regarding the Bandon Water Main and Sewer Network Project Update.





Notes from a full meeting of Cork County Council, 13th January 2016

Notes from a meeting of the Full Council, 10th January, 2015.

1.  Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 14th December, 2014.

Proposed and seconded.

Amendment requested by Cllr D’Alton (Ind).  In the last meeting’s discussion on climate change, she did not say that climate change should be made part of the planning process.  Said that planning for climate change should become part of everything that we do.


[b]           VOTES OF SYMPATHY
2.  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.

Votes of sympathy were expressed.



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

Blarney Macroom Municipal District Meeting: 27th November, 2015

(a).       Disposal of 306 Cloughphilip, Tower, Blarney, Co. Cork.

(b).       Disposal of land at Kilnamuckey, Tower, Blarney, Co. Cork.


West Cork Municipal District, 7th December, 2015:

(c).          Disposal of land at Butlerstown, , Bandon, Co. Cork.

(d).          Disposal of No. 6 Casement Street, Clonakilty, Co. Cork.

(e).          Grant of Wayleaves at Durrus, Co. Cork.


Kanturk Mallow Municipal District Meetings:   4th December, 2015:

(f).           Disposal of property at Knockduff Upper, Cullen, Mallow, Co. Cork


East Cork Municipal District, December, 2015:

(g).          Disposal of property at Ballyvergan West, Youghal, Co. Cork.

(h).          Amendment to Disposal of land at Ballybearna, Ballinhassig, Co. Cork, by the substitution of “Wayleave measuring 81m x 5m and Right of Way measuring 81m x 5m” in lieu of “Wayleave measuring 76m x 5m and Right of Way measuring 76m x 5m”being the area of said property.

(i)             Amendment to Disposal of 51 Liam McGearailt Place, Fermoy, Co. Cork, by the substitution of No. 52 in lieu of No.51 being the area of said property .

Proposed and seconded. 



Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources:
Letter dated 4th December, 2015, in response to Council’s letter of 14th July, 2015 regarding Whitegate refinery.

Correspondence from Dept of Env, Community & L.Gov

Cllr Buckley (SF): Very disappointed with the Minister’s response. This refinery underpins the local economy. It provides 600 jobs. Its loss would be a devastation to East Cork.


Department of Environment, Community and Local Government: Letter dated 15th December, 2015, in response to Council’s letter of 2015 regarding Income thresholds for social housing.

Correspondence from Dept of Env.



Department of Environment, Community and Local Government: Letter dated 21st December, 2015, in response to Council’s letter of 21st November 2015 concerning global valuations of utilities undertaken by the Valuation Office.

Correspondence from Gov. Dep





The CE presented a report on recent flooding events.

Flood events doc

He went through the report briefly:

  • Met Eireann reported triple the normal rainfall in many parts of December. Wettest places were in County Cork. Roches Point reported its highest rainfall since 1955. Rainfall at Cork Airport was well higher than the normal 3 month average. We had three winter storms. The highest national 10 minute wind speed was recorded in Co. Cork at 102 km/h.
  • The response was effected by Severe Weather Assessment Team and Crisis Management Team. Convened 17 times between Dec 27th to Jan 2nd.
  • Cork County Council made contact with a lot of families in Midleton. Some families relocate on their own and don’t make contact with us but if families need help and ask for it, we help.
  • Commends community and voluntary effort.
  • 329 emergency calls in total were made to the fire emergency services.
  • Council staff worked over 4,000 days during the storms in December.
  • The Civil Defence was of tremendous help.
  • The Council extended the emergency phone line to 24 hours a day once Storm Frank hit. This received over 2,300 calls.
  • We don’t respond to comments on Facebook and Twitter as a Council. We are not interactive that way. But we used them for critical messaging. Updates on Facebook reached 150,000 followers.
  • Road assessment and restoration has commenced throughout the county.
  • €2.4m worth of damage was done during the storms in September 2015.
  • €7.4m worth of damage was done during the storms of 2012.
  • This event was far more wide-ranging with far greater impact than either of those events. The Department has asked us for an estimate of the damage. At this early stage, we reckon it will be €15 – 20m.
  • A formal request from government for details of particular roads and infrastructure to be restored is expected.
  • We opened our Civic Amenity Sites to take flood damaged goods.
  • We have asked consultants to advise on possible causes of flooding in MIdleton. This will be dealt with at Municipal District level.
  • Tenders for Bandon flood relief are in on 14th Tenders for Skibbereen will be opened at Council meeting on 8th February.
  • If there is an emergency, a local authority can do works on a stream or river. Inland Fisheries says it will facilitate emergency works. Cork County Council has consulted with Inland Fisheries Ireland and the current indication is that they would not regard dredging in Bandon as emergency works because there are planned schemes in place.
  • Some towns have flood committees, whereas others operate on an ad hoc basis. We will work with any of these. There is an opportunity to put these more structured committees in place as is the case in Skibbereen. We would encourage that.
  • December has been very challenging.
  • outlines the relief schemes/humanitarian assistance offered by Department of Social Protection.
  • 50% of claims made nationally are from County Cork.
  • 3 weeks ago the Southern Star said that Cork County Council was potentially delaying the payment of the €5,000 to some applicants because of a delay in processing forms. Guarantees that every single form was returned within 24 hours. A similar allegation was made by a Cork County Council member in the West Cork Municipal District (Cllr Hayes) last week. It was again reported by the paper. That is not accurate at all.
  • Farmers who have suffered fodder losses are also being helped by the Department of Social Protection.
  • Thanks Members of Council for their support. Is aware that the weather conditions were challenging for councillors too. The executive tries to support as best it can. The relationship between councillors and executive on the ground was positive. Thanks also to the media, in particular 96FM and Red FM. Their reporting helped alert the public significantly.



All motions on flooding are taken together.


5.  West Cork Municipal District:
“In light of recent severe weather events, that this Council calls on the Government to introduce emergency legislation to facilitate the cleaning, dredging and maintenance of waterways which would override obstacles that are in place which currently hinders or prevents this type of work” and
“That this Council would provide additional funding and resources to be put in place to enable an annual maintenance and preventative programme of both roads and waterways which would leave the Council best placed to deal with future severe weather events”.

Cllr C O’Sullivan (FF): Thanks the CEO for his outline. Very informative. Commends Cork County Council and staff for their reaction. They were very visible and present. Criticism was not fair. The reaction, response and availability of area engineers and staff on the ground even to councillors was commendable.

There are two parts to the Municipal District’s motion. The first part has already been touched on. There is a mechanism that can be used to do works in rivers and streams. Inland Fisheries reacts slowly. The Municipal District urges Cork County Council to implement that mechanism. People on the ground know that some work to that effect would go some way (not all the way) to alleviating some of the issues that arose.

Part B of the motion – the whole approach to our road networks should be taken differently. These events are happening far more regularly. The winter maintenance budget and drainage in particular need addressing. The West Cork road network is devastated. The tarmac is starting to bubble up. Some 11 or 12 roads around Dunmanway are closed. Instead of reacting to these types of events, there should be a whole new approach from Council and government. Concrete gullies need to be installed where applicable. Let each Area Egnineer decide how to drain best. If you keep the water off the roads, problems will be minimised.

Cllr PG Murphy (FF): We have to think strategically how we face these problems. They are happening with more regularity. We have to be prepared for that. The CEO’s estimate of €15 – 20m is quite frightening. FG says they will put money into it but we haven’t seen that money yet. The Area Office doesn’t know what it has to play with. The staff were excellent in West Cork. The embargo on recruitment has affected the number of ground staff available to respond to events like this. We are possibly understaffed to deal with events like this. Is not sure if the OPW is fit for purpose. They huff and puff but don’t get a lot done. Dredging of rivers needs to be allowed. Our waterways, dykes and drains need to be maintained. Our winter maintenance budget was halved over the last number of years. We need to bring this back to close to where it was. We need to do an audit, look at our waterways, dredge where necessary, open up our waterways. This won’t solve all our problems but it will help. We are spending money now on patching, but we need to be using that money more strategically.


6.  Councillor Ian Doyle:
“That Cork County Council will apply to the Government and the Department of the environment for emergency funding. This funding is to supply staff, resources and equipment to open up the dykes drains and waterways throughout the county, particularly after the rainfall of the last few weeks. This is now an urgent matter. It also should be noted the tremendous work done by the staff of Cork County Council with the resources available to them over this period.

Cllr Doyle (FF): Praises Cork County Council staff. They worked over and beyond the call of duty. Says thank you sincerely. Have had two motions to this Council previously on the effect of the embargo. Not having front line staff to do the very basic housekeeping tasks. We have two flood problems in our Municipal District district. The flood defences in Fermoy and Mallow thankfully worked. But we have localised flooding too. In most cases, these were caused by dykes and drains not being cleared. None has been cleaned for the last 8 – 9 years around our county road network. We need to draw up a compromised plan of work to be done on this, cost it and apply for funding. We haven’t got the money ourselves to do this. We are all talking about the Municipal District approach and how effective it is going to be but we all need to have a comprensive dyke amd drain clean. We are facing a €20m bill. If the dykes and drains were cleaned, we would not have to spend this money. We need to lift the embargo. We need the Municipal Districts to meet to draw up this costed plan.


7.  Councillor Margaret Murphy O’Mahony:
“This Council calls on the Government for emergency funding to repair roads damaged in the recent storms. Funding to include money for cleaning of ditches, drains, streams etc. to prevent future erosion of roads when repaired.”

Cllr Murphy O’Mahony (FF): Pays special tribute to local engineer, Charlie McCarthy. He was on the end of the phone 24-7 during the flooding period. The timeframe given for the flood relief schemes are no longer acceptable. We are waiting too long. A legal challenge has affected their delivery. This is no grounds for the holding up of the schemes. A week is a quarter of the time period since the Minister’s visit. This government has blamed EU Directives for not dredging the River Bandon. Now we learn that this is not the case. Is asking for proper dredging of the River Bandon. We will face any legal challenge that arises from this. Is asking for funding for maintenance of drains, ditches, etc. Calls on the government to provide emergency funding for roads. Would like to point out the large amounts of money being diverted from our motor tax to Irish Water. This government is underspending on road maintenance and investment. Underspent by less than €289m last year. As a direct result, many roads were not able to cope with the adverse conditions. Calls on the government to provide emergency funding.


8.  Councillor Frank O’Flynn:
“That Cork County Council prepare a list of necessary works to be undertaken and the cost of these works arising from the recent severe flooding throughout the county and call on the Ministers for the Environment to make the necessary finding available to enable these works be carried out and that Cork County Council put in place a strategy for the future management and prevention of flooding.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF): Thanks the CE for the staff in the Fermoy Municipal District. The outdoor staff were magnificent. The engineer is fantastic. Leave him with us! Gives a vote of thanks to all the staff but especially to those in the Fermoy electoral area. Thanks the gardai, the Civil Defence, the Fire Brigade. The embargo needs to be lifted. This should go as an emergency motion from this meeting. Numerous people are asking that the message on the emergency line would be shorter. It would make it easier for people in an emergency. The €20m figure should go to the Minister. We need a designated person in Cork County Council and a designated number to help families who have been affected by the flooding. Asks that we put a team in place to look at planning. Noel O’Keeffe was big into water harvesting. We don’t do it any more. For future flooding and future problems, we need to put a strategic team together.


Party leaders:

Cllr Murphy (FG): Thanks all the staff. This was an extraordinary flood. Does not believe any drainage works would have helped. The drainage works that were supposed to take place in Bandon were challenged over the years by Inland Fisheries. If we don’t get to grips with the response from Inland Fisheries, we are going nowhere. There was one challenge from a contractor and another from Inland Fisheries. We have to ask Inland Fisheries to back off. Is deeply concerned that another challenge could come to the Bandon flood relief scheme. David Keane (County Engineer) said that as far as he is concerned, the ownership of the waterways has been passed over to the farmers. Wants clarification of who owns the waterways. Agrees with Cllr Doyle that we need a countywide policy in relation to drainage in each Municipal District. We are just coming to grips with improvements in our road network and all of a sudden we have taken a massive step backwards. In some cases the roads are totally washed away.   In Kinsale, there were about 9 premises in total affected.

Cllr McGrath (FF): Thanks CE for report. Would have liked it in advance of the meeting. Some hosueholders and businesses have experienced a horrendous time. We need to be as constructive as we can and set about developing plans for the future. It has been the wettest and warmest winter on record. There is an inadequacy in ability to respond due to shortage of outdoor staff on the ground. Ongoing maintenance of drainage infrastructure has been a problem for some time. Those on the ground did their absolute best but there was a shortage of numbers. We need to recruit more outdoor staff. We have seen hypocrisy from some government Ministers who are trying to pass the buck back to local authorities. We do not have the resources we need to deal with this situation. Alan Kelly would be particularly culpable here. We are told that flooding has not been caused by a lack of funding. But there are two examples in his Municipal District alone here where funding was a direct cause of flooding. Ballinhassig, flooded in 2009 and flooded again in 2015. We have tried to get funding from the OPW for flood relief for Ballinhassig but no funding was received. Glenbrook in Passage West saw flooding in the last few weeks and again in 2009. A flood relief scheme has been submitted and adequate funding has not been made available. This kind of extreme weather is going to be recurring and we need to make plans. Acknowledges the efforts made by the community.

Cllr Hurley (Ind): Supports all that has been said. Seconds Cllr Doyle’s motion. We need to get back to basics getting the work that needs to be done on the ground done. We need proper maintenance of rivers. The government needs to introduce emergency legislation to facilitate the cleaning, dredging and maintenance of rivers and waterways. Inland Fisheries have indeed been an obstacle in the past. We need an annual maintenance and preventative programme for both rivers and roads. They are neglected and do not have the holding capacity any more. We cannot be waiting years and years for flood relief to be carried out. We need a longer term solution. West Cork is a beautiful place but the roads are built on bog and rock. It takes very little to affect the surface. This is what has happened. Local authorities are starved of resources to deal with events like these. The 2016 roads allocation was €9m. It is a drop in the ocean.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): A lack of investment in some of the flood relief programmes has been a cause of flooding. Mentioned Bandon and Glenbrook. Douglas-Togher was affected but not as badly as other areas. Flood relief there was effective in protecting may be one or two properties but had a spin-off effect on other properties. What is the procedure for distribution of sandbags? Can residents arrive to collect them? Understands that if some properties had received sandbags, they might not get assistance from the Red Cross. Would like clarification on this. Knows Cork County Council worked extremely hard. But understands that the workers got time off in lieu. Thinks they should get time and a half or double time as compensation for the effort made. CE said on News at One that we have adequate resources. Cork County Council had 1,285 outdoor staff in 2008 and 478 in 2014. Would be very surprised if this gave us adequate resources! Pays tribute to the community, particularly in looking after the elderly and infirm.

Cllr Rasmussen (Lab): It is time to reflect and see what we can learn. Many people had difficulty in getting through on the emergency line.   Had a motion in about blocked drains at Municipal District level to see could we draw up a list of drain cleaning that should be done in the Municipal District. The response wasn’t good. The attitude seemed to be “why should we be doing this?”. Appreciates that drain cleaning is not enough to solve the problem but it does help. Is concerned that because there are so many roads, the man-hours necessary to fix them will be a problem. Asks about 3 – 4 roads closed in his own area of Cobh.


Other Members comment:

Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): Staff were exhausted but morale was high. The embargo will have to be lifted. The flood relief works worked really well in Mallow and Fermoy. We need a reserve crew in place to erect the flood barriers. The area staff staff were not available to erect the flood barriers in Fermoy when they were needed. €500m for flood defence works announced by government. But what happens if this is not built. It took two floods in Bandon to get the proper pumps in place. Sandbags were scarce.

Cllr Sheppard (FG): Disappointed that we got the CE’s report only this morning. We needed it with the agenda or on Friday. Acknowledges the work of the Council staff over the Christmas. Although we did what we could do, it wasn’t really enough. Rang the emergency number 28 times before it was answered. Was trying to get sandbags for an estate in Glanmire in which the houses had no insurance which was about to flood. The shores were very blocked in Cobh but we largely got away with it. Some roads are still closed off at the back of the Island. We are told they are not a high priority because other areas are worse. Glanmire is listed as a medium level of risk. It really should be classified as high. Council staff were pumping the Glashaboy river and commends them for that, but houses in this area have no flood insurance. The buck is being passed and would like to see action on this. We need to be more proactive.

Cllr M Collins (Ind): Commends all those from Council, voluntary staff, etc. who worked so hard. The cleaning of the rivers has been stopped by rules and regulations. Asked for an emergency meeting on 28th December but rules and regulations would not allow this either. In the UK, David Cameron was allowed to call an emergency meeting. It is rules and procedures that have stopped us from doing necessary maintenance. The staff embargo has prevented us from doing necessary maintenance. Recently met a retired council worker who commented on the regularity of cleaning of dykes, etc. in the old days. There are roads closed everywhere. It has been a disaster in West Cork in relation to these three storms. We have to be ready to act when these events hit us.

Cllr N O’Donovan (FG): The Council staff from top to bottom made a serious effort.   We have to learn from these events. This government is taking flooding seriously. Agrees with Cllr Collins that West Cork is a disaster. Roads that were resurfaced during the year have been washed away again. We are wasting money. Would like to see us focusing on our core function: road structure. Would like a proper plan prepared on drainage and dykes. Possibly write to the Department about looking for more discretion on spending in this area.

Cllr J Collins (FG): Commends the efforts of staff in the Carrigaline area. They were out morning, noon and night. It started raining on 8th November and we had only 2 dry days between that and Christmas. So the ground was saturated. We have no early warning with regard to saturation. The OPW should advise well in advance of flooding. We did build on floodplains in the last 30 years. Spoke of the bog in Bandon. When he was growing up, the donkeys were on the bog in Bandon and they were taken off for the winter. Now there is a shopping centre on the bog. The NRA made totally inadequate efforts on the N25 around Killeagh. Imagine if a closure of that length of time had happened along the M50 in Dublin!

Cllr Coleman (Ind): 29,000 hours is a lot of hours for the Council staff to be out working over Christmas. Thanks the public also for the work they did. Who is running the show in any town? Is it the chief supervisor or the engineer? Has the Department indicated that it will come forward with funding? Was disturbed when Inland Fisheries Ireland indicated that its perspective on the Local Authorities Works Act of 1949 differs from ours. If flood defences are proposed, then surely it should be obvious that flood control is necessary. Thinks we should get a legal view on the European legislation and the 1949 legislation, find out for ourselves how far we can go and what we should do. There is a reason this legislation was made. Was surprised to see that consultants are being employed to do corrective action in the Bandon area. Would like more detailed commentary on that.

Cllr S McCarthy (FG): Am a resident of Midleton. Cork County Council response was good but not sure how good it would have been without the response of the community. Companies, business community, Red Cross, fire brigade were all out to help. The one concern though throughout all of this was communication. We need to look at this going forward. There was a problem for public representatives. The people on the ground were looking to us and we didn’t have the answers. The emergency number is a number available to everybody. The emergency line is subcontracted to a call centre in Dublin. A call centre in Dublin is just not good enough. I asked many times for feedback when I rang that number. But I never got that feedback. We need a task force in place. Asks that elected members would be kept in the loop. Will have a motion in 2 weeks time. Need a direct line for elected members in crises like this. Also a text alert system.

Cllr Mullane (SF): We are lucky in Mallow because we have flood defences. Many saw pictures of the Mallow flood plain. It had 8 – 9 feet of water. There are two families still in that. Wants to ask whether they will have access to the humanitarian assistance scheme? There is no plan or protocol for when there is a flood. Could we write to the Department on this? The embargo needs to be lifted because of the cut in outdoor staff. The Sinn Féin MEP has done work on the dredging of rivers of streams. The EU Directives do not ban dredging of rivers and streams. Nothing in the Directives stop dredging when that dredging is in the overriding public interest.

Cllr O’Donovan (FG): Agrees with Cllr Doyle about clearing of dykes and ditches. Wanted to ask about the interim works for Bandon. What is the time period within which the consultant needs to come back to Council?

Cllr B Moynihan (FF): Getting water off the roads is so important. We have a sparse population where I come from but a high density of roads. Municipal Districts work well but we have no idea how we are going to deal with this problem into the future. Our Municipal Districts have no money, no matter what the Minister is saying. Wants to know when this money the Minister is talking about is going to be available. We have top class people. They know how to solve the problems but they have no money for it.

(6 FF present)

Cllr R McCarthy (SF): Thanks all in the community and voluntary sector. These were staff that were on their holidays. Cllr J O’Donovan was filling sandbags in the Council yard. He was also out on Christmas Day. Who is coordinating the emergency plan? Is asking that footpaths would be cleaned in Bandon and the playground also. Reminds councillors that the Sinn Féin team had suggested in its alternative budget that €200k would be put aside to clear waterways and drains, etc. This was rejected.

Cllr Hayes (SF): Thanks to all the staff, emergency services, etc. There was a huge community effort also. Spoke of Directives and their implications. Rivers can be restocked after dredging but dredging needs to happen. Alan Kelly is on the TV and radio regularly with a very big wallet. There are 12,000 km roads in Cork County and we have one of the lowest allocations in return from road tax. We had a good meeting with Minister Harris in Bandon. Knows the local engineers were putting together a plan/wish list to send to the OPW for pumps, etc. Is wondering if this list has gone yet? Installation of non-return valves should be on the list. Refers to the piece in the Southern Star that the CE mentioned. His reference to delays in processing were taken directly from a letter circulated to all councillors by the Red Cross. He quoted the letter directly.

Cllr Carroll (FF): Thanks the CE for the report. Is there any kind of a bonus scheme for the council workers, etc? Also concerned that they won’t hear our thanks from this morning. Thanks the farmers that came up from West Cork. We are tired of Department officials and Inland Fisheries hiding behind Directives. These Directives do not apply if there is a human issue at stake. They cannot hold up a scheme. The road network in West Cork cannot be compared to roads in any other county. We collect the road tax for the government as their agent. We need a return on this.

Cllr N Collins (Ind): Thanks to all who assisted. Time is running out for funding to help the people of Midleton get back to their homes. There is both fluvial and tidal flooding in Midleton. Midleton Town Council approved major capital for the provision of flood defences in Midleton town. This being so, it would be best to have a single flooding contract to deal with both flooding types. Moves this as a proposal. Thanks all the locations that have put up affected families. Thanks the farming community for their tankers.

Cllr Lombard (FG): Congratulates all. Ballinhassig was flooded badly. It flooded badly three times since 2009. We need to look at the rivers themselves. We have been told that legally landowners are obliged to clean their rivers. We need clarity on this.

Cllr Forde (FG): Spoke about Council staff. Would like us to be able to deploy extra staff. Should be more availability of sandbags. Curraheen was in danger of having a major incident. They only barely escaped. Asks about Lee CFRAMS study. Thinks the Municipal Districts have a greater role to play in relation to texting in emergencies. Thinks a meeting of the Municipal District should have been convened immediately to discuss issues like, to clarify where were sandbags available, etc. The volume of water in Douglas was phenomenal. Ravensdale was very serious. The water should have been dredged there much earlier. The government has responded. The local authority has the expertise but we do need to bear in mind that in relation to planning, zoning and conditions, we need to be far more careful in relation to our Local Area Plans. What debate have we had in relation to mitigating measures we are taking in relation to climate change? When Douglas was flooded, she asked for a review of the insurance industry. People’s policies become renewed at different times and there is no data available. This is a real problem. Hopes it can be addressed now.

Cllr Barry (FG): Spoke of the emergency number. Felt totally out of the loop because he could not contact that number. All he wanted was sandbags. Collins Barracks was going to bring them down but needed authorisation from the Cork County Council. We couldn’t get that. A local contractor tore out a trash screen and kept the floods down. There are still houses in Carrigtwohill pumping water. We have a serious issue with the Masterplans and the Local Area Plans. The Masterplan areas were under serious flooding for the last number of days. We have to look at this again.

(5 FF, 9 FG present now)

Cllr A Moynihan (FF): Praised staff and communities. The staff was hugely overstretched. It is clear that the embargo needs to be lifted. There needs to be a drainage campaign. Yet on its own it is not adequate. There needs to be a comprehensive flood defence plan brought forward by the OPW. They are working on some of them but it is too slow. They need to look upstream as well as downstream. Look at sewers in villages. Some are backing up. It is good that the CE has compiled the report. Road tax not coming back is driving people mad. The funding figure that the CE identified as necessary needs to be made available.

Cllr K McCarthy (Ind): Staff and communities were wonderful but resources were a real issue. We are going to have a lot more emergencies. €430m over the next 5 years is pocket money for what we will see over the coming years. We need to get serious about this. The government needs to respond. Visited people last Saturday who had never been visited by the Council. People in small towns and villages are still waiting. The government must respond better.

Cllr Buckley (SF): Cork County Council has employed a consultant to advise on why Midleton is flooding. Before Midleton Town Council was disbanded, we had put €1.2 m aside for flood protection in the bottom end of the town. On the other side of the town, a study had been carried out and had predicted flooding. We know what is wrong. We have a 30 page report to tell us. We just need to use the €1.2m to help the traders and business people and to implement the recommendations of that report.

Cllr Hegarty (FG): Seconds Cllr Collin’s motion in relation to flood defences for Midleton. There are roads that are cut off at present and the Council should get bog mats on top of those roads to enable them to be used. Thanks the CE and Mayor for coming to Midleton. We have to get back to local knowledge. With regard to the N25, there are caves there which if they were cleaned and maintained would address the situation. TII were trying to raise the road by a meter. A seriously affected family were never underwater before and TII was trying to bulldoze over them while shoving the problem further over the road. There were some isolated incidents with narrow drains and culverts. Some landowners would not let us in to clean them out.

Cllr D’Alton: Agree 100% with all previous speakers in relation to drains needing to be cleared, ditches and rivers needing to be cleaned but this is something we shouldn’t even have to ask for. It should be part of general maintenance. But has major concerns about the calls for dredging of rivers. Rivers are not buckets. Buckets are static storage devices whereas rivers are dynamic. Water flows through them. How much depends on rainfall. How fast depends on gravity. Doesn’t matter how wide or deep the river is made between these restrictions, the volume of water the river can process is limited by the most restricted points the water has to flow past. But our landscape has been managed for fifty years and more according to the very opposite logic. Pinch-points on our rivers are, ironically, all man-made: bridges, weirs and towns. Dredging the silt build-up around these pinch points may help. And clearing river channels of dumping and poorly maintained river banks will help too. But dredging that involves digging or sucking out fine silt from the river bed is totally different. People who are in favour of dredging think that a bigger river will allow water to flow faster and more efficiently. Reality is that even if the capacity of the river is increased by 50%, that river can’t provide the same volume of storage as a floodplain. So dredging might help in the smaller, more regular flood events but it will not help in the less frequent major flood events. Worse, because dredging can speed up the flow of water in a river, it can increase the risk of flooding downstream. And dredging has to be repeated over and over or there will be no benefit to be gained from it at all. We need to address the decades of mismanagement of river systems. Over the past 50 years, we have done all we can to increase the volume and flow of water entering the rivers, to increase the volume of silt being carried to the rivers, to constrict the flow of water in the river channels and to remove floodplains. Rather than planting conifers on uplands which, when cut, leave compacted hard soil, we need to plant native tree species which soak 67% more water. Where we build, we create hard surfaces – roofs, driveways, roads, patios. Each industrial development should have an infiltration swale or a rain garden into which surface water is diverted. This will allow controlled release of rainwater into rivers. We need to stop building on floodplains. In relation to the consultant being employed to report on flooding in Midleton, when I was doing my post-graduate, my supervisor had a expertise in hydrology. He was commissioned to examine a site in Midleton and I, being his student went along with him. The site was a floodplain not far upstream of Midleton town centre. He recommended that the site would not be built on. It was a floodplain that was needed by the river. But within 5 years it was built on. The Owenacurra, having been deprived of its spill over area simply took the next easiest place to spill out, which was Midleton town centre.

Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind): The roads in East Cork are shocking. Some are impassable. When the N25 was closed, these secondary roads were the only roads available. Would have liked more time to read the CE’s report.   Acknowledges the massive community effort. People were out to help other people. Do we have a timescale on fixing these roads? Can you please bring this down to the Municipal District level so we can help with the prioritising of the roads which need to be fixed? Let them please contact local councillors to help them do this. This local knowledge is necessary.

Cllr J Murphy (Ind): Members were getting text updates from our engineer. The embargo is an awful headache for him.   It is an issue that comes up for us but when you have a crisis it shows that lifting of the embargo would go a long way. The area engineer has a huge concern about parents putting children up on the flood barriers in Fermoy to have a look. Also youngsters are walking on barriers. To see the barriers being erected is quite a spectacle but one false move and whoever is on top of them is gone.

Cllr Conway (Ind): Reiterates what Cllr Doyle said. It took him one full day to find a gully which would solve a problem. While there was plenty of local support to do this, we still have two roads closed in Blarney. One has 26 residents living on it. We put hardcore on it to help those people using that road. How does the digger driver that broke ditches to drain the water stand? How do I stand as the person who spread the hardcore? What happens if an accident occurs now that the road is closed? Will those in the accident be covered by insurance?

Cllr Hegarty (FG): Walked the banks of the Owenacurra recently. Was shocked at the volume of debris and trees in the water and on the banks. Some of our rivers are operating at 50% of their capacity.

Cllr Creed (FG): Fully concurs with this. A relatively small job in Ballingeary was done on cleaning the river and this has made a huge difference.

(4 FF, 14 FG, 6 SF, 9 Ind present)

Mayor: Compliments everyone on their efforts during the crisis – staff, councillors, emergency teams. There is a severe shortfall of funding. We need €15 – 20m from the Department of Transport to do works on roads. Our staff are doing everything possible to make sure the roads can be travelled on. Acknowledges the money that has come from the Department of the Environment to date, although that will not be enough either. We have used €5m already in this Council alone.


  • Knows the time left in the meeting is short but would like to respond to all Members comments as comprehensively as possible. Would have liked to have circulated the report earlier but it was not finished until 10.30pm last night. If it could have been done faster, it would have been. Members’ motions will be sent on to national level. They will pick up on the key issues such as funding, resources, infrastructural works, etc.
  • We will not have a detailed schedule of works for another week or two.
  • There still are 42 roads closed in 3 of 8 Municipal Districts. The others are still undergoing assessment.
  • If your land is next to a watercourse, it is assumed that your land runs to the middle of the watercourse. Will confirm this. The CE read aloud some statutory responsibilities of owners with land beside a river.
  • Cork County Council is not responsible for maintaining the waterways of Cork County. In emergency situations, we will do what we can. But we are not responsible for maintaining waterways free of obstructions, etc.
  • Drainage – resources – we can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat. We will have a certain level of funding available to us. We have had to reduce our workforce to remain financially stable. That’s not going to change. There is a real challenge in terms of getting around to drainage works. We need to recruit staff for drainage works, but we can’t. We can take existing staff off potholes, etc. and put them on drainage. This should be considered at Municipal District level. There is no magic wand to this. Having this matter on the agendas of our Municipal Districts over the next few months is very important. We will be examining to see what the right mix here is. There are implications for other works if we focus entirely on drainage.
  • Dredging is effective when done in conjunction with an overall plan for a watercourse. For dredging in small areas, it is ineffective, as Cllr D’Alton said. The OPW may also take this view. Will consider further the Inland Fisheries response. If planned flood relief schemes don’t go ahead, we will also have to consider what this Council’s response should be.
  • The list of works needing to be done in watercourses must be itemised and funded. I have no revenue or capital funding for this. This is not an easy problem to solve. Has given no commitment that we are in a position to undertake interim works on the Bandon scheme. That commitment was given by the OPW. I had identified three things that might help when Minister Harris was down. But we as a Council do not have the resources to do them. Although licence was taken locally by some and it was assumed that because I recommended them, the County Council was going to deliver them.
  • Yes, we would like more resources on the ground.
  • The procedure for getting sandbags varies. Some people collect them, but we also distribute them. We gave out 31,000 sandbags during the December floods. We will have our own internal review and will look at these procedures then also. Doesn’t think there is any restriction on getting Red Cross assistance if one has already got sandbags.
  • Is limited by Haddington Road in what overtime he can pay.
  • The emergency line helped but yes, improvements can be made. 85% of the calls were taken and responded to. Average waiting time was 30 seconds. Rang it to test it and was kept waiting 45 seconds. We tried to put more resources on this. We already have suggestions on how to improve this. The emergency line took 1,500 – 1,600 calls. Sometimes people found it difficult to get through, but that wasn’t the norm. Some calls are dropped after 20 seconds if not answered.
  • The flood barriers in Fermoy are owned by the OPW. There is a contractor in place to maintain them. Three of our staff were taken away from our normal duties to help erect them. We will have to review this.
  • In Mallow, we erect all the flood barriers ourselves. Perhaps the OPW should use a contractor to erect the barriers.
  • The N25 was a real challenge. Impacted primarily by groundwater challenges and infiltration of the underground cave network. We brought in the best equipment we could. Whitegate Oil Refinery helped pump water for over a mile. The more we pumped, the more the groundwater came up and up and up. There is a problem there with getting access from one particular landowner.
  • The estates Cllr Sheppard referred to in Glanmire: Meadowbank was saved by Council staff but Copper Valley was flooded, although only once. A second flooding was averted by Cork County Council action.
  • The executive held meetings over Christmas, the staff were on overtime dealing with the situation. The last thing anybody wanted was to call yet another meeting with councillors.
  • Cork County Council is responsible for leading the coordination of the agencies on the ground. The Area Engineers liaise with the gardai, etc. While they do not have the role of coordinating the community response, there is very effective system in place in Skibbereen which we need to look at. The community is working very well with the local authority.
  • Assistance for the families in Mallow can be responded to only by the Department of Social Protection.
  • To Cllr Hayes – was not aware the OPW committed to providing funding for pumps. In relation to the Southern Star article, please could Cllr Hayes provide a copy of the Red Cross letter.
  • Will personally ensure that staff is thanked. We will get a letter out from the Council, expressing the sentiments of Council.
  • Will talk to the County Engineer about Curraheen and the Lee CFRAMS study.
  • There is a very formal procedure to get the defence forces out. This procedure cannot be worked around. We used that. It is not possible to call them in through the normal emergency services. It has come through our offices with that formal protocol.
  • The consultant’s report for Midleton is expected in a few days. It is about upstream remedial measures.
  • Addressed all councillors individually. Agreed that the effects of spot dredging is very limited. It is good only as part of an entire scheme. But engineers will deal with this.
  • We are undertaking our own review. The issues all Members have raised will be part of that review.




Some congratulations were issued.



Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind) asked about a date for the reception for the Special Olympics.

Sean O’Callaghan: We did contact them on several occasions and they could not arrange a date in January. The delay is not our fault.


* The remainder of the meeting was deferred.


[f]            NOTICES OF MOTION
11.  Councillor Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire:
“Go néilíonn an Chomhairle seo ar Bonneagar Iompair Éireann teacht os chomhair an Chomhairle, le míniú a thabhairt ar an Staidéar Bainistiú Éileamh don N40 atá idir lámha acu, agus ar na tuairiscí a deánadh le deánaí tar éis dóibh bheith cruinniú de choiste an Chomhairle Chathrach, go bhfuil BIE ag moladh tollaí a chur ar an bóthar, agus le nithe ábharach a phlé leo.

That this Council requests that Transport Infrastructure Ireland come before the Council, to outline the Demand Management Study currently being undertaken by them on the N40, and to respond to reports recently following their meeting a committee of Cork City Council, that TII is considering tolling the road, and to discuss related matters.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on the 14/12/15]


12.  Councillor Kevin Murphy:
“That Cork County Council seeks an immediate meeting with the Minister Kelly, Minister for the Environment and Local Government and Minister Coffey, Minister for State, to address the serious anomaly that has arisen in regard to the limits on County Council’s House Purchase and City House Purchase Scheme.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on the 14/12/15]


13.  Councillor Noel Collins:
“That this Council call on the Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform to consider an early change in the Inheritance Tax Laws.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on the 14/12/15]


14.  Councillor Aindrias Moynihan:
“Lorgionn Comhairle Contea ar an Aire Coimirce Sóisioltí deireadh a chuir leis an slí go bhfuilid ag idirghealú de reir aos daoine, nuair ata an leibheal pinsean ranníocach á dheanamh amach acu.

That Cork County Council calls on the Minister for Social Protection to end the age discriminatory way the contributory pension levels are being calculated.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on the 14/12/15]


15.  Councillor Michael Collins:
” I call on the Minister for Finance to provide the funding for a number of urgent issues to safe guard our Primary Schools.
1. For an immediate and proper reduction in class sizes in 2015.
2. To give proper state funding for the running costs of our primary schools.
3. To allow funding in future budgets for teaching Principals to have one day a week off with substitute cover free from teaching. This would greatly improve the management of schools and benefit children.

Cork County Council Community Grant Schemes 2016

Cork County Council is now accepting applications for its three community grant schemes for 2016.

The three schemes are the Amenity Grant scheme, the Capital Grant scheme and the Community Fund scheme.

These schemes are ideally suited to community and sporting groups, tidy towns groups, residents associations and any other group involved in the community.

Queries on the schemes can be addressed to myself or the following County Council staff members:
Amenity Fund:, tel 4285157
Capital Fund:, tel 4285315
Community Contract:, 4285116

The application forms and guidance are downloadable here:
Municipal District Community Application Forms 2016
Municipal District Community Fund Schemes 2016

The closing date for all three grant schemes is 4th February.  Late applications will not be accepted.

Notes from the special meeting of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District on the Shannonpark Masterplan, 5th January 2016

Executive present: Kevin O’Regan (MDO), Andrew Hind (Senior Planner), Ross Palmer (Senior Executive Planner), Martin Ryan (Executive Planner)

Councillors present: Derry Canty (FG), John Collins (FG), Marcia D’Alton (Ind), Mary Rose Desmond (FF), Deirdre Forde (FG), Joe Harris (Ind), Seamus McGrath (FF), Michael Frick Murphy (SF), Daithi O’Donnabhain (FF, Chairperson), Donnacha O’Laoghaire (SF)


AH: The purpose of this meeting is give Members a chance to voice their concerns about the Shannonpark Masterplan. The key issue to be discussed today is that of connectivity.

(He ran over the concerns listed by the residents in relation to the proposed connectivity.)

This is very much a ready-to-go site. We anticipate the amendment being closely followed by a planning application. We see the site as being an important part of providing an immediate relief to the shortage of housing.

In recognition of the submissions made to the Masterplan consultation, we think the best resolution to the issue of connectivity is to solve it at the planning application stage. Those who are concerned will have the right to appeal to An Bord Pleanala. Citizens who are concerned, if they are dissatisfied with Cork County Council’s decision at that stage, they have the right of appeal to an independent body.

Cllr McGrath: Thanks for facilitating today’s meeting that was requested by a number of us. Today’s meeting is absolutely essential. We could not have a proper debate on this report at the last meeting. The Masterplan issue should be debated at Municipal District level anyway. It is an enormous Masterplan and we need to get it right. Can’t support it in its current form. Thinks further changes are needed. Residents made submissions. Is very disappointed with the response from Management. The changes proposed are miniscule. Connectivity is one of the main issues. The response from Management is only shifting the deckchairs around. In many respects, the proposed paragraph strengthens the connectivity. Sets out clearly the intention of having connectivity between the two estates and refers to the planning process down the road. The residents have outlined very legitimate concerns. Response from the CE does not reflect the genuine concerns flagged by the residents. We need to review the position on this issue. Thinks we should readdress this. It is fine to put connectivity into a new development but here we are retrofitting connectivity into established residential areas and force public access points into those areas. Connectivity needs to be dropped out of the Masterplan. Another main concern are the infrastructural requirements, in particular the N28. In theory, this Masterplan could be developed in full before the N28. In one part, it refers to an upgrading of the Shannonpark roundabout or provision of the new N28. Signalisation of the Shannonpark is not enough to provide for 1000 houses. Would like to see the Carrigaline Relief Road included also. But crucially, we have to pin down provision of the new N28 with the development.

Cllr Desmond: Supports everything Cllr McGrath has said. The connectivity issue is very real for residents in Heronswood. The Masterplan cannot be supported with the connectivity and infrastructural issues that are there at present. It is not good business or practice to override concerns that the residents have raised. We are kicking to touch with regard to the changes proposed.

Cllr D’Alton: Also agree 100% with everything Cllrs McGrath and Desmond have said. Also have extreme concerns with regard to the connectivity with Heronswood. Am concerned about the linking of the development with the upgrade of the N28 but am even more concerned about the linking of the development with Carrigaline.   So many studies, so many plans have commented on traffic issues in Carrigaline and the need to improve infrastructure around the town yet this Masterplan does not as much as mention it. More importantly though, the Council proposes to provide badly need housing through Masterplans. Some have denigrated the Masterplan approach. I think it can work and this site is the first real chance for the Council to develop a Masterplan on the ground. But in its being the first, it should be a flagship. A flagship in terms of site design and house design. Building houses is one thing. Building homes is quite another. And the County Council should be about building homes. So we need to build a community, integrate it with the existing community in Heronswood. We will not do this by ignoring concerns of existing residents with regard to accessibility between the two estates. We need to integrate the new Shannonpark community with the existing community in Carrigaline. We will not do this if we ignore the issue of traffic between Shannonpark and Carrigaline. We need to provide houses that address the issues that are being discussed at national level every day: climate change, traffic, energy efficiency, water conservation. These are not addressed in the Masterplan at all. This is our first Masterplan and we need to be able to point other local authorities to it and be proud of what we have developed. Until we do that, I cannot support this Masterplan.

Cllr Collins: I can understand the need for connectivity but I am not sure that the red arrows indicated on the Masterplan are the right place to put them.   People will need connectivity to schools. In terms of getting cars off the road, this is the best way to do it. The greenway is outlined in the Masterplan. It is about 30 – 60 m wide. I suggest that half is put aside for a greenway and the other half is used as pedestrian access around the back and onto the spine road which is to run through the centre of the development. There may be issues with regard to land ownership which will have to be addressed. The way to set out dealing with issues like obesity is to encourage walking and cycling. As an alternative to the crossing points highlighted by the arrows, use the greenway. Agrees with the word “practical” in the proposed wording change. Some of the proposed crossing points are already blocked by concrete driveways, etc. So ownership is a real issue. But thinks the greenway should be that point of access between the two estates.

Cllr Canty: As the longest serving councillor, I know what this was like in Ballincollig, Grange, Douglas and Frankfield when they were developing. The residents will make their own access points. There are still people that would blacken me in relation to getting walkways closed in Ballincollig. There are people who wanted them to be kept open to allow access for walking to Mass, to school, to the shops. If there is only a ditch between the two estates in Carrigaline, they will make access themselves. If there is to be no access, the two estates will have to be fenced and walled off from one to the other. If you don’t do that, the kids will make the access points themselves.

Cllr O’Laoghaire: Will not be supporting this most recent proposed amendment in relation to connectivity but wants to recognise what is positive about the Masterplan. Much work has been done on this. By and large, it is positive. The idea of Masterplans was attacked by other councillors from other municipal districts. I support it. I think it can deliver cohesive, well-serviced communities. This Masterplan has some commitments to community facilities, to phasing, to public transport and to education. But two primary concerns relate to housing and to phasing. In September, I said that Phase 2 should not be delivered without the N28. As it stands, the Masterplan offers a choice. I said Phase 3 should not be delivered until the Western Relief Road is in place. I still hold those views. My concern around provision of social housing still stands and was discussed at some level in the Chamber. The response from Management is always centred around Part V. Cannot see why it is not possible to come to an arrangement with a developer and identify where additional social houses could be assigned. There is one social housing development being built on the southern side of the town. This will provide about 48 houses. But there are hundreds of people on the waiting list for Carrigaline. This is the biggest development which will be built in Carrigaline for many years. Believes we can find a place within it for social housing outside of the Part V agreement. Knows there is an issue with access points. Hard to see where they will fit. But there is a valid point raised by Cllr Collins, particularly as there will be a school in the Shannonpark area. There does need to be access between the two estates to allow access to the school. But it needs to be done in such a way as to impinge only in a minute way on residents of Heronswood.

Cllr Forde: Carrigaline is very lucky to have this Masterplan. We cannot look people in the eye when they are crying out for housing, we cannot but want to have this Masterplan delivered as soon as possible. Went to look on the ground. If I buy my house in a cul-de-sac, I want to stay in a cul-de-sac for a reason. To take that loss of amenity away is to deny these people their right. Supports the Masterplan as a whole and recognises that there is an issue here to be dealt with. Cllr Collins is the only one who came up with a solution. Thinks we should see this proposal as feasible. Residents mentioned the railway line as a means of access. Takes on board what Cllr D’Alton has said about the way we style things. Thinks a lot of these issues could be addressed at the planning stage. We used to have a meeting with the planners a few times each year where such issues could be thrashed out. If we reinstated this discussion between councillors and planners we could address these issues and it would be valuable. Cllr O’Laoghaire mentioned extra social housing. Recognises that we need them but we don’t want to ghettoise the estate either. Thinks this will be addressed another day. This Masterplan is absolutely vital. Between now and whenever we have to vote it through, we have to sort these issues out. Wants to support it but doesn’t want access between Heronswood at the three identified points. Cllr Canty is right that informal access will be made regardless.

Cllr Harris: Appears that a lot of work has gone into this plan. The residents of an existing estate are trying to preserve their way of life and as Cllr D’Alton said, it is an existing mature area now. Is confident that with the expertise we have in the Council, we can find a way around without these access points discommoding people. There are a lot of strong feelings about it down there at the moment and it appears they have a legitimate case. It is such a huge plan, is confused by why these access points are so vital. An awful lot of time and effort has gone into this, you have done a great job and this is a solvable problem.

Andrew Hind:  Am pleased to hear Members think this can be solved.  This is the second round of consultation to this plan. At the first stage, only 6 submissions were received, none of which were from members of the public. The purpose of that preliminary consultation was to raise issues like this when the Council had the legal freedom to change the plan. It is regrettable that this didn’t happen at that stage. We now are in the position where we may not have the legal power to change the plan. It is a difficulty that these issues were not raised earlier in the process.

From the executive side, we think there is a very strong need to support this housing provision. It is badly needed. We have been working for a large number of years to make this site a proposition. Irish Water has invested in the new wastewater treatment plant and this is one of the big infrastructural deficits which would formerly have stood in the way of the Shannonnpark development.

There is a need for connectivity between the two developments. The Shannonpark development will have social infrastructure that will also benefit Heronswood. It is hard to conceive that future residents of Heronswood will not send their children to school in Shannonpark. There will be good open space in the Shannonpark development which residents of Heronswood will want to use in the future. The public transport interchange – residents of Heronswood will want access to that. Agrees with Cllr Canty. If we confine ourselves only to access at the greenway, informal access will be created which will be more difficult to deal with in the longer run.

There are alternatives to the red arrows and that is why we are proposing to remove the red arrows from the Masterplan. The type of alternative proposed by Cllr Collins is the type of proposal the new text is intended to facilitate. Because of the legal restrictions imposed on us, we cannot make specific reference to such alternatives.

The issue of tying the development to the delivery of the N28 and nothing else is that we carried out an independent traffic assessment of the impact of the development. This was published publicly. The upgrade of the Shannonpark roundabout will have capacity to accommodate the development. It is a fact from an independent source. Delivery of social housing is a matter for the housing section of the County Council. At a planning level we are limited to operating within the parameters of Part V.

Cllr McGrath: Referring to two public consultations is very disingenuous. The first did not have detail like the second.

Ross Palmer: Yes it did. The two documents are almost exactly the same. There were very few changes made because there were so few submissions.

Cllr McGrath: I said at that Municipal District meeting that connectivity with Heronswood would be an issue. What was the point of the consultation if people sent submissions in good faith and you are now saying that legally we cannot change the plan?

Andrew Hind: You could also turn that question around. What was the point in the preliminary consultation when these issues which were so deeply held by residents were not raised then? Not a single submission was received from the public and not a single comment was made in this Chamber along these lines. At that time, we made it clear that the law had changed, the Council had been involved in a legal case in Charleville over making changes to plans at a late stage and we made it clear that we could not allow material changes at a late stage in the consultation process. What we have done is that we have proposed a change. We have taken out the word “it is critical” and replaced it with “where practical”. This is a downgrading of the issue of connectivity, not an upgrading. And we have taken the red arrows off the plan.

Cllr O’Donnabhain: Asks that a briefing note would be sent in relation to the statutory process, the various steps the Council is obliged to adhere to and the Charleville case.

Andrew Hind: We have quoted from the act in the report. Page 7. In our view, if we move from a position of some connectivity to no connectivity, this is a step too far for the meaning of this paragraph. We are proposing to move from a policy environment which says “connectivity is critical” to “connectivity is best considered at the planning application stage”.

Cllr D’Alton: I do not disagree about the need for connectivity between the two estates but it cannot be at the expense of existing residents. Cllr Collins’s suggestion about the greenway may be the answer. It is just not fair to residents of Heronswood to provide this connectivity through their cul-de-sacs. When they were buying their houses, they specifically sought out houses in a cul-de-sac because they wanted a particular lifestyle, they wanted their children to grow up in a place that was relatively safe to play in. They paid a premium for that privilege. It is not fair that the County Council would now come along and propose to destroy the way of life existing residents have actively sought and enjoyed. The proposed wording will not do because it does not provide existing residents with the reassurance they need.

Andrew Hind: If we added the “views of local residents” to “where practical”, would that be making process?

Cllr Forde: Thinks this may be a way forward. Doesn’t buy into some of the things the residents outlined but if I buy a house in a cul-de-sac, I expect it to stay a cul-de-sac until I no longer want it to be a cul-de-sac. We do need to walk and get healthier and we’ll be the very ones screeching at management when flooding is on the road, etc. But we never talk about what we can do. Cllr D’Alton is right about the bigger picture. I hopes a lot of these issues will be teased out and responded to at the planning level.

Cllr Collins: Supports the idea that these people who bought their houses in cul-de-sacs deserve their privacy, etc. It was mentioned that there were legal issues with regard to some of the access points indicated. I’m not going to support the proposed red arrows and believe my suggestion would keep the integrity of the both estates but would provide connectivity. We are already providing a greenway through it. It might be a way around this issue.

Cllr O’Laoghaire: Suggested that none of these issues were brought up at the preliminary consultation. They were. Doesn’t think that 20% of 1000 houses is anything like ghettoization. Provision of a school is the responsibility of the Department of Education. If we are going this far, why can we not plan social housing also? There was reference to a railway station in the preliminary consultation document – is that still there?

Martin Ryan: Yes there was but that has been removed.

Cllr O’Laoghaire: In terms of a process, what would it require of the planning officials that will be dealing with an application if they have to take account of a document like that?

Andrew Hind: Reluctant to give a definitive statement because there is no planning application in front of us. If we include a reference to taking an account of local residents, it is an invitation to the residents to submit their points of view. It will indicate that the elected members of the Council have stated in the Local Area Plan that the views of the residents on this issue are an especially important aspect when taking a decision on this issue. Not that they wouldn’t be taken into account anyway, but it is putting extra emphasis on them.

Cllr Harris: The issue is one of trust from the residents point of view if these arrows are put away for a while and reintroduced again.

Andrew Hind: The proposal is to put the arrows away and not to reintroduce them into the Local Area Plan.

Cllr Harris: Communicating and allaying people’s fears is the most important thing. If we can communicate to the residents our bona fides, that would help a lot.

Cllr Canty: We are an hour and a quarter into this and we have all had our say. Could we have five minutes out to have a chat ourselves and then come back and agree consensus? We need consensus regardless of what residents will say.

Cllr Collins clarified that because of the phasing of construction, there is only one red arrow causing an immediate problem. That is through Woodvale. Could that be taken off and the others left on to be dealt with at a later date? Also clarifying that the red arrow by the entrance will remain.

Andrew Hind: We will retain the single red arrow by the entrance. So the only access in the context of the first future planning application is the red arrow through Woodvale. Doesn’t want to take one red arrow off and leave the others on. Wants to deal with them all in the same way.

Cllr O’Laoghaire: Is it possible to make a reference to the desirability of retaining existing cul-de-sacs?

Andrew Hind: Not under the Act. We cannot go from “connectivity is critical” to “cul-de-sacs must be preserved”. If we get rid of the reference to “critical” it is not such an about-face.

Cllr Collins: In any event, the Masterplan is about the Shannonpark lands, not about Heronswood. So referring to preserving cul-de-sacs would not be possible?

Andrew Hind confirmed that that is correct.

Cllr D’Alton: There were no public responses to the preliminary consultation and then many many responses to the second consultation. One of the issues – and this whole issue of consultation needs to be discussed at full Council level – is that people are very busy with their daily lives. They find it difficult to connect with Council consultations and with other consultations. It is also very hard to relate to a text-based consultation. But during the Council’s second consultation period, Astra had a public information event. Unlike the Masterplan consultation, they provided plans and illustrations of what the Shannonpark development might look like. So for the first time, people were able to see for real what the potential issues were. Perhaps this is something we as a Council need to try to learn from: to talk in pictures as much as possible rather than in words. I bet if you check the dates of your submissions, you will find that most of them arrived towards the end of the consultation period. This was after the Astra information event. I also mentioned other concerns I had in relation to the Masterplan. These were connectivity with Carrigaline and the overall sustainability of the layout and housing design. These haven’t been addressed by anyone at all, apart from Cllr Forde who was kind enough to mention them! You mentioned there were no comments in the Chamber about these issues. In fact, I did mention the issue of connectivity between Shannonpark and Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy at the Municipal District meeting at which the preliminary consultation was discussed. You chaired that discussion, Ross and you agreed that those issues were really important.

Cllr McGrath: Would like to see further clarity in relation to the legal process. Presume the preliminary consultation is non-statutory? Under the legislation, is it the case that there is only one consultation required?

Andrew Hind: No. It is called non-statutory because Section 20 of the Act says that the planning authority will take “whatever steps it sees fit” to consult with the public, etc. So we do this non-statuory consultation to respond to that broad remit. So although it is non-statutory, it is actually statutory! I am trying to stop calling it “non-statutory” and to call it “preliminary” instead.

Cllr McGrath: When you do undertake statutory consultation, is there any provision for incorporating a significant change subsequently?

Andrew Hind: No. It cannot be done under current legislation. If the County Council wanted to make a material change, the County Council would have to abandon the proposed amendment and begin again. It would have to do the preliminary and secondary consultation gain. This would take an extra 6 months probably.

Cllr McGrath: Surely the preliminary consultation would not be required seeing as there have already been two consultations? So that would mean one further consultation of 6 weeks. If the will is there, this should be possible.

Andrew Hind: We have to be careful with that. We have never done it before so we have no precedent to refer to. Would have to think about it. If the Council Members instruct the executive to proceed in this way, then that is what we will do. There are parts of this consultation that the public does not see, like giving the authorities and the various government departments a statutory time to respond to the consultation.

Cllr Forde: We came in here today with an issue of connectivity being the primary concern. We really need to focus on the job in hand. One of the issues raised was permeability from the cul-de-sacs. The executive has proposed alternative wording to respond to my concern. There is phasing involved which buys us time. The second issue is that of social housing.   Thinks this can be addressed through our Housing SPC and then coming to full Council to change the 10% to 12 or 15%. Also Cllr D’Alton’s issues of quality of estates, issues we meet on a daily basis, climate change and all these issues are really important. To address this, can we reinstate the meeting between the planners and councillors once each semester?

Cllr D’Alton: My points please? Could we address those?

Andrew Hind: A design guide for residential estates was approved by elected members some time ago. It is a very positive document.   Presenting visual imagery in consultations is a problem because the Council is not designing the development. Nonetheless, accepts the point made. As regards connectivity between the estate and Carrigaline, the two new Municipal District Local Area Plans for Carrigaline are going to have a chapter to discuss solutions to this kind of issue. This is the best place to raise this issue.

Ross Palmer: It is correct that we did discuss this before. The Masterplan document talks about the importance of connectivity of this site to the town and Ringakiddy via the greenway. So the greenway is the key here.

Cllr D’Alton: That is absolutely true that the greenway will be essential to connectivity. But if the greenway is going to solve this problem, then why is there a big straight spine road running through the Shannonpark estate splitting residential areas in two?

Ross Palmer: Practice tells us that at least 20% of people will be using bicycles or walking. There still is a role for the motor car. Roads are necessary in any community. They connect east to west to allow the Rock Road and other alternatives to be used. You need that connectivity. Best practice is that there is a spine road. Any state of this size really needs two access points.

Andrew Hind: Agree strongly that an estate of this size needs two access points. What you do with that spine road in the context of traffic calming is a matter to be determined at the detailed stage.

Cllr D’Alton: At the Astra information session, the message I received was that on Council instruction, the road was straight and to receive no traffic calming. They mentioned Council’s instruction was for curvature of the road to provide for traffic calming.

Ross Palmer: That is not the case. The Masterplan specifically says that this is to be designed as a 30 km/h road. That is a very slow speed indeed. Traffic calming will need to be incorporated at the planning stage.

Cllr D’Alton: Agree that this is indeed slow. Confirming that traffic calming will be sought at the planning stage. (Confirmation received from both Andrew Hind and Ross Palmer.)

Cllr Collins: It is true that house design is important. There are some terraced houses in Heronswood where there is no facility for residents to bring in bins. They look awful with the bins scattered out the front. Also it is said that residents who live north of the Ashgrove roundabout go to shop in Douglas whereas those south of the roundabout shop in Carrigaline. It would be good if we could encourage all residents to shop in Carrigaline.

Andrew Hind: That sort of issue is one which should really be dealt with by the Local Area Plan.

Martin Ryan circulated the proposed alternative wording to deal with the issue of access between the new development and Heronswood:

“2. Insert a bullet point in 1.4.26 as follows:- Where practical, the layout and design of residential areas R-11, R-14 and R-17 allows for connectivity with the existing Herons Wood housing estate to the south. Cork County Council and the Developer will examine the various options at the planning application stage taking account of the role of the Greenway to the east of the site, the views of nearby residents, the Ministerial Section 28 Guidelines on Sustainable Residential Developments in Urban Areas (2009) and the NTA’s Permeability Best Practice Guide.”


***We took a short break to discuss options and how we might proceed. The executive left the room and councillors spoke together.


During the break, councillors discussed this new proposed wording. Many still not happy with it because it provides residents with no assurances. It is still open ended. Cllr D’Alton proposed alternative wording with which the other councillors were satisfied. However, many councillors still not happy because even if the accessibility issue between Shannonpark and Heronswood is resolved, there are still other issues which remain unaddressed.

The meeting reconvened.


Cllr D’Alton read out the following proposed alternative wording:

Connectivity with the existing Herons Wood estate to the south will be provided by the existing Greenway. This will address the Ministerial Section 28 Guidelines on Sustainable Residential Developments in Urban Areas (2009), the NTA’s Permeability Best Practice Guide and concerns of adjacent residents.

She added that this wording responds to the “critical” element of connectivity by defining a connection between the two estates but provides the necessary assurance to residents that points of access will not be through their cul-de-sacs.

Andrew Hind is concerned about that we are going from several red arrows to only one. He says that he will take away the new wording and think about it.

Cllr Forde said that she was satisfied with this wording but that other councillors had other issues. Cllr O’Donnabhain invited councillors to recap on them.

Cllr D’Alton: Other key issues are linking with the N28 upgrade and a commitment to sustainable design being incorporated in the Masterplan.

Cllr McGrath: Other key issue is linking with the N28 upgrade.

Andrew Hind: This wording from the Members is a positive suggestion. Will think about it outside of this meeting.

With regard to sustainable design, the County Council follows national regulation. Going beyond the building regulations is not something we intend to do in particular with this estate. We have addressed all the other issues – flooding, etc. – in the Masterplan. The only one we have not addressed is water conservation. Does not support the view that the construction of the N28 is linked to the development. The independent study commissioned by the Council said that upgrading of the roundabout would be sufficient. Linking the upgrade to the development would be counterproductive because the NRA has said that the N28 upgrade is not to accommodate commuting traffic. We would be giving the wrong signal to government in relation to the N28 upgrade if we were to link the development with the N28 upgrade.

Cllr Canty: Is this to come before full Council on Monday?

Andrew Hind: We have to make a decision on this by 25th January. The other option that is open is that we bring this back to the Development Committee on 15th January where the options for wording can be considered again.

Cllr Forde: You have given your opinion in relation to the N28 issue. Several Members won’t be happy with that and won’t vote for the Masterplan as a result. Would be happy with the permeability wording.  In relation to the housing issue, thinks a lot of the concerns can be addressed within the planning process which we can as a municipal district make a submission to. Some of us here won’t vote for this Masterplan under any circumstance so thinks we have gone as far as we can today.

Cllr Desmond: It is really important that this comes back to us as a Municipal District again. Wants to vote for the Masterplan, not against it. Is very taken aback by the view that the N28 is not to take commuter traffic. This is more of looking at each issue in isolation. Like the consultants telling us the Carrs Hill interchange will not impact on Douglas! The Port development was tied into the N28 upgrade. It is just good planning that the Shannonpark development would be tied in too.

Cllr McGrath: Where are we going from here? A discussion at this forum is far more productive than in a chamber with 55 councillors, all the others of which do not have this development in their core area. It should come back to Municipal District level and then on to full Council.

Andrew Hind will go back to the CE and decide with him whether to bring it to Development Committee or to a Municipal District meeting before bringing it to full Council on 25th January. The Development Committee has a stake in this because it is out of a Development Committee meeting that this meeting arose from. The next Development Committee meeting is 15th January. In the interim, he would like to discuss and think of tweaks to the wording proposed by Cllr D’Alton. He would like to canvas opinion on that on the executive side. Any changes to the proposed wording will be emailed to us in advance of the Development Committee meeting.

This concluded the meeting.