Category Archives: Motions 2016

Notes from the March meeting of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District, 20-03-2017

1.  Confirmation of Minutes

(a) To consider the confirmation and signing of the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 20th February 2017.

Minutes of the previous meeting: ‘Minutes 20.02.17 draft.pdf’

Confirmed and seconded.

 

Matters arising:

MDO said he has had no update from the Planning Department on Continue reading Notes from the March meeting of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District, 20-03-2017

Notes from the December 2016 meeting of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District

1.  Confirmation of Minutes
To consider the confirmation and signing of the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 21st November 2016.

‘BallincolligCarrigaline MD Minutes 21.11.16.pdf’

Cllr D’Alton: Motion 3 from last meeting – meant that a programme for slip cleaning would be drawn up in our Municipal District. The background to this is that the €50,000 allocated to our Municipal District in Budget 2017 for coastal works was clarified as also including for slip cleaning.

Also in AOB – my comments on the table tennis nets are correctly noted. But I also commented that the promised reinforcing under the table tennis nets has still not been put in place.

Minutes were proposed and seconded.

 

Matters arising:

Cllr D’Alton: We spoke about the Town and Village Renewal Fund at the last meeting. Is concerned because the funding was to have been spent and the project completed by year end. But we have had no update on the funding at all.

Anne: In an ideal world they wanted the money spent by December. But the closing date for applications was September and the projects weren’t confirmed until well into October. So the Department has said that the year-end deadline was insofar as possible. We have flexibility.

Cllr D’Alton: Will it be necessary to draw down the funding at least before year end, even if the projects aren’t complete.

Anne: We have the money!

Cllr D’Alton: We spoke of the consultation on the Casual trading bye-laws at the last meeting. The revised maps for our Municipal District have not been issued and legal advice was to have been sought on how to deal with the new maps in the consultation. Have we an update on this?

MDO: No. This is being run from West Cork. Will seek an update.

Cllr D’Alton: Concerned that the consultation will close on 31st December and we won’t have another Municipal Dsitrict meeting until after that. This is especially relevant to us because it is our maps that have been omitted. Asks that the update would be circulated to all Members as soon as possible.

Cllr McGrath: Update on Maryborough Ridge? The Area Engineer was to have got in touch with the NNRDO?

MDO: She did and believes a reply was issued but not circulated. Will circulate.

 

2.  Consideration of Reports and Recommendations
(a) Part VIII Planning report N27 Airport Roundabout & N28 Shanbally Roundabout.

‘Part 8 Planning Report N27 Airport Roundabout & N28 Shanbally Roundabout.pdf’-2

A presentation on these proposals was given previously.

Proposed and seconded. They will now go to full Council for approval.

 

(b) Report on the proposal to Take In Charge roads and services in (i) Daneswood, Douglas and (ii) The Orchard, Monkstown

‘TIC Layout – Daneswood.pdf’

‘TIC LayoutThe Orchard.pdf’

MDO: Planning has been in touch to say that an issue has arisen in The Orchards. They ask that the taking in charge of The Orchards would not be dealt with at this meeting. So only Daneswood is being considered at this meeting.

The taking in charge of Daneswood is proposed and seconded.

 

(c) Proposed Part VIII for upgrade works to Shannonpark Roundabout.

POD on proposal:

  • There are existing congestion problems at the Shannonpark roundabout. Various proposals have come to us in the past and have not been accepted. Arups was asked to consider all possible options for its upgrade. They have given us 8 options. They have also given us recommendations. The original proposal was for signalisation and it is seen still as the best technical solution.
  • The option that is being put forward now is Option 3A in the report. It comprises a three-lane approach from Ringaskiddy plus a north – east sliproad on the north east side. This arrangement gives additional capacity to the roundabout and should improve the queuing and pm delay in particular. Council intends to commence the Part 8 process for this upgrade with our agreement.
  • This is a national route so the Part 8 work would be done by the Cork Roads Design Office.

Cllr McGrath: Welcomes this. Never thought traffic lights would work but this is a welcome proposal.

Cllr D’Alton: Also welcomes it. Concerned that the third lane on the Ringaskiddy arm of the roundabout doesn’t start back far enough. Current queues stretch back to east of the Fernhill junction during the pm peak.

POD: The results of the simulation are showing that queuing will be significantly reduced. We have a constraint in that there is an entrance into a private property. The main reason for the long queues is that there is no opportunity to get out. The matter will be kept under review when the work is done. If we need to make further improvements afterwards, the various options can be examined.

Cllr D’Alton: Is this upgrade sufficiently adequate to allow the Shannonpark housing development to proceed?

POD: This improvement allows for the second phase of development of Shannonpark. The final phase requires some major alteration which is likely to be the motorway. Coming out on the Rock Road is going to need more than is there at present. But it will take us from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

 

(d) Lands at Castletreasure.

Lands at Castletreasure

MDO: Since the leasing of land at Castletreasure to the Corinthians, the Douglas Rugby Club has asked for access. The club is in discussion with the residents. They have been in contact with the planning department to make sure there is no hitch with respect to developing two full size pitches, car parking, etc. If things progress successfully, it will be brought back to the Municipal District again. This update is for information purposes.

Cllr Forde (FG): We will monitor this and will see how it goes. It is great that some sporting organisations get land. Notes though that others are left without it.

Cllr McGrath (FF): This land is sitting there and it would be great if it could be used. Welcomes engagement with the residents; it will be dependent on them.

Cllr Jeffers (SF): Understands this is the last of the lands available here? Would this stop other clubs wanting to join with Douglas Rugby Club?

MDO: It would be leased in entirety to Douglas Rugby Club. There would be no additional lands left – they will use it all. If any other club were to use it there would be an issue with the residents. A single club solution is the best solution from the residents’ perspective.

Cllr Forde: Some lands are zoned for recreation and amenity in the Local Area Plan that will never come on stream. We need to be careful of this.

Cllr Harris: Is there any land zoned for housing there?

MDO: No. It is adjacent to Green Valley. Some building is still going on there. (To Cllr Jeffers) If we lease the land for the sole use of Douglas Rugby Club, no other club could use it. In developing the pitches, they will have to cut and fill the land. By the time it is done, there will not be room for anything else.

 

3.  Correspondence
Correspondence re Extension of Public Consultation Period in relation to the 8 Municipal District Draft Local Area Plans.

 MDO: The Planning Policy Unit asked that we would bring this to the attention of all members.

‘Correspondence re Extension of Public Consultation Period in relation to the 8 Municipal District Draft Local Area Plans.pdf’ 

 

4.  To consider the following Notices of Motion:

Responses to all motions detailed in a single report here:
Response to all motions, 19-12-2016
Response to O’Donnabhain’s motions, 19-12-2016

 Cllr D O’Donnabhain
1.  “That this Municipal District be furnished with a Report on the Council’s policy of issuing litter fines to businesses, the number of such fines to businesses issued since June 2014, and the geographic areas where the fines arose from.”

Cllr O’Donnabhain: This came up in respect of a specific situation with one of the businesses on one of the main streets in Ballincollig. There was false information put out there that the business had been notified not to erect signage. It was not true that the business had been thus notified. In Mallow, Clonakilty and Bandon, there are similar signs on the run into towns and nobody is taken to task about these. The ones in question in Ballincollig were small and were just for a promotional weekend. Circus signs are given a by by the local office because they are not subject to any fines. The business on the main street pays its rates, donates to Tidy Towns and is part of the business association. But it is being fined while the other crowd coming in gets away scot free. Much larger and more offensive signs in other places are not pulled up.

MDO: Knows the signs being referred to. The property owner was advised not to erect signage like this again. The Environment Department (George Salter) said he had been advised not to do it on a previous occasion and had told him that if he did, he would be fined. But he did it again. We can’t comment in relation to other municipal districts. We have tried to chase after circuses. We have isseud fines to them. Some can be difficult. They change their name on a regular basis. We did pin down one on one occasion. So we don’t give them a by.

Cllr Canty: Don will tell sporting organisations where to put the signs. Not by a roundabout, etc. There used to be signs being put out by the businesses but the blind association and Enable Ireland, etc. asked that they be removed in case they fell down on people. Then the supermarkets started putting down little signs themselves. Don got sick of them and asked a litter warden to go to every business on the main street and say no more signs on the footpath. It got out of hand. But yes, circuses are a problem.

Cllr O’Donnabhain: Why are the circus signs not taken down immediately? The signs erected by the business were taken down imediately. In other towns, businesses are given a by. There are much larger signs going into Carrigaline put out by businesses that are being ignored.

MDO: It is factually incorrect to say that one business was being singled out. Another was the business with the barber sign. Ballincollig is different in that we have our own traffic/litter warden. There is none in Carrigaline and you are dependent on the resources of the Environment Department. They have engaged a couple of litter wardens recently so they will be looking at this issue. They are trying to develop a policy in relation to signage. Doesn’t think people have an issue with signage for events. Major bugbear is that those signs are not removed after the event has taken place. The Environment Department is developing a countywide policy in relation to signage. Will ask the Environment Department for a report for the next meeting.

Cllr O’Donnabhain: Would like that. If these circuses are so hard to come by, why would their posters not be taken down immediately?

MDO: Some are glued on. Also if the area office spends time on taking down circus posters, other work won’t be done.

Cllr Forde: This is a huge issue. It is taking money out of the area office to do real work. A planning was given for a shopping centre in Douglas. If you pass it, every space that was meant to be a window is now an advertising hoarding. So Planning needs to be brought into this. It is too ad hoc and is going to have to be fair to everyone. We want to encourage businesses, but otherwise the environment of our centres is going to get out of hand.

Cllr Harris: Agrees. Notices a couple of neon signs appearing outside shops. This is a worry.

Cllr Canty: We had the auctioneers associaiton at an area roads meeting years ago.

Cllr Forde: If planning gives permission which is meant to be aesthetically pleasing, it shouldn’t be used as an advertising hoarding.

MDO: But is putting advertising signage in a window a breach of planning?

Cllr Forde: That’s what I mean. We need planning not be woolly.

 

2.  “That this Municipal District seeks the painting of a disabled parking space outside the post office in Ballincollig.” 

Cllr O’Donnabhain: The post office is the only safe facility in the town where people can collect their social welfare.   There is a parking bay close to the post office. Would like one space within that bay as a disabled space.

This will be looked at.

 

 

Cllr M D’Alton
1.  “That mindful of the proximity of the former IFI plant at Marino Point to Passage West, the eyesore that currently is the derelict former IFI plant from the town of Passage West and the conditions attached to the grant of planning for the fertiliser factory in 1974 that Cork County Council would outline:

  • whether the former IFI factory is on the derelict sites list and if not, why not
  • whether the bond agreed between NET and Cork County Council in February 1976 will be used to remove all redundant or obsolete structures and infrastructure on the former IFI site and, if not
  • whether Cork County Council will require the liquidator responsible for the site to remove all redundant or obsolete structures and infrastructure on the former IFI site and, if not
  • whether Cork County Council would require any future purchaser of the former IFI site to remove all redundant or obsolete structures and infrastructure on the site before any future development takes place.”

Response to D’Alton’s motions, 19-12-2016

Cllr D’Alton: Marino Point is 500 metres from Passage West at its closest point. To put it in perspective, it is 5.8 km from Cobh. Before the fertiliser factory was developed, the area was evaluated as being of high amenity value. It was compared to parkland, with Marino House and grounds in an idyllic setting in what was compared to a parkland of mature beech, oak, horse chestnut and sycamore trees. When the planning application came before Cork County Council, the recommendation from the senior planner at the time was that because of this amenity value, permission should not be granted for the fertiliser factory. But it was indeed granted by the Minister in 1975.

Condition 34 clarified that the developer and owner of the site should furnish a bond or other security measures before the development commenced. This referred to the taking down and removal of the plant, equipment and installation if the plant ceased to function. The site would have to be reinstated to agricultural, rural or other uses agreed with planning authority.

 

On February 13 1976, N.E.T. entered into a Bond with Cork County Council with some £500,000 being put aside for the Council to take down and remove all plant equipment and installations connected or formed part of the plant in the event that the ammonia and urea complex ceased to function in the opinion of the council.

But it is still there and the factory has long since ceased to operate. The environmental liability on the site has been discharged and the EPA is happy. But as part of that discharge of environmental liabilities, the cladding from the buildings was removed. It contained asbestos. So now the facility looks more derelict than ever before. And the people of Passage West are looking at it. Wants the Council to confirm that these structures will be removed. That they will commit to their commitment of many years ago.

Cllr McGrath: Supports the spirit the motion. Very stark closeness to Passage West. Supports the points made in terms of the condition of the site. If a sale is agreed, this is something we need to monitor closely. Should also monitor closely if the Port of Cork development goes ahead. We need to be mindful of this.

 

Cllr Murphy (SF): Supports. Had a motion to full Council about this. The state of the place is the thing. When enquired from the environment whether the jetty was safe, was told everything was in order.

Cllr Canty: This issue has come through the Council in the last 10-12 years.

MDO: We can refer this again to the Cobh Municipal District and ask the Planning about the bond. In Cobh, they are conscious that the site is for sale and the best way to have it cleaned up is that it is sold. They are slow to do something that would impede a potential sale.

Cllr D’Alton: Understands the Cobh Municipal District’s approach. But we don’t know how long a sale may take. The reality is that the Council was given a bond to clean up the site and the site has not been cleaned up.   So wants to see a commitment of some form or other.

MDO: We need to be careful of our wording. The motion is essentially asking for preconditions of planning and we can’t do this.

Cllr D’Alton: Fair enough, but somehow wants to see commitment to the Council’s commitment. Asks that we keep in touch with the Cobh Municipal District about this.

MDO will contact the Director of Services, Planning again. Will state the concern of the Municipal District.

Cllr Forde: Would like to support the principle of the motion. There are proposals and solutions for dealing with what needs to be disposed of there and very creative solutions. There are big plans down the line. We can’t just ignore things because they went wrong 40 years ago. Has an issue with conditions that haven’t been met in planning. Is currently assessing the number of planning conditions that haven’t been met. These are very costly to Cork County Council. Knows 2 big planning permissions that haven’t fulfilled all of their conditions.

Ann: Will report back to a future Municipal District. Will say to the Planning Director of Services that these points have been agreed by the Members. Will make it clear that these are our concerns and this is what we’re looking for.

 

2.  “That Cork County Council would investigate the feasibility of making a continuous footpath on Church Hill connecting the existing footpath beyond Bloomingdale to the footpath at the bottom of Avondale.  This would allow children living west of the Maulbaun junction to walk to school in safety.”

Cllr D’Alton: Is happy with the report and would be pleased with an investigation into the feasibility of a footpath here. Asks the support of the Members for same.

Cllr McGrath: Supports.   This has been brought up as an issue before.

 

3.  “ Haulbowline Island has had a long and intimate relationship with Ringaskiddy.  It is accessible by land only from the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District.  The former primary school on Haulbowline Island amalgamated with the primary school in Ringaskiddy to form the Ringaskiddy Lower Harbour National School.  The navy based on Haulbowline Island has an intimate relationship with the National Maritime College at Ringaskiddy.  The proposed new amenity area to replace previous public access to port lands at Ringaskiddy is at Paddy’s Point, merely 200 metres from Rocky Island.  In the light of this historical and current relationship, that the Planning Policy Unit of Cork County Council would explain why Haulbowline and Rocky Islands are considered to be part of the Cobh Municipal District rather than part of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District.”

Cllr D’Alton: Notes the report provided and thanks for it. Had believed until only recently that Rocky and Haulbowline Islands were part of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District. Seems crazy that they are not. Acknowledges that the Planning Policy Unit commits to mentioning the special relationship between Ringaskiddy and Haulbowline Island in the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Local Area Plan. Would prefer if the islands were part of our Municipal District and that the special relationship between Cobh and Haulbowline Island were mentioned in the Cobh Local Area Plan.

MDO: The delineation was made by the Boundary Commission. We cannot change that. If we could, there would be other delineations we would change too.

Cllr D’Alton: Noted. But when the Boundary Commission makes new recommendations, as it surely will, believes that we should seek to have Haulbowline and Rocky Islands designated to the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District.

 

 

Cllr E Jeffers

  1. “That Hollyville, Grange would be included for footpath repairs in the next program.”
  2. “That the engineer would consult with the residents of Palmbury Orchard, Togher to provide extra residential parking within the estate.”
  3. “That the engineer would look at the possibility of improving visibility at the junction of Cooney’s Lane and Elm Hill.”

Cllr Jeffers is happy with the written responses to all of his motions.

 

Cllr MR Desmond

1.  “That this Municipal District would request that as part of the agreed works with the developer prior to taking in charge or out of the bond received by council that at least one if not two pedestrian crossings would be provided in Mount Ovel village to allow safe access to the square in Mount Oval. And that the Municipal District receive an update on the current status with taking in charge of this estate.”

Cllr Desmond: Has been working on this for nearly 12 months. Put it down as a motion because progress is so slow that people didn’t believe she was working on it. Stood with an elderly gentleman in Mount Oval while he was trying to cross the road. It took 15 minutes before he could safely get across. There is a difference of opinion between the developer and the Council. There are 800 houses in Mount Oval. There is a huge issue for children trying to access the shop area. Accepts there is no planning for a crossing but what are we going to do for the residents? They really need two crossings but even if we had one … A child will be killed there. An older person can evaluate the risk but a child cannot.

Cllr McGrath (FF): This issue has been raised with many of us over the years. Serious issue. Very busy road. Glad to see it in black and white about the position with the taking in charge of the road. Understands the developer is engaging with the Council.

Cllr D’Alton: Has had this issue raised also. Supports.

Cllr Forde (FG): Would like to see a report on where this taking in charge is at.

MDO: Will ask the Planning Department for a report on the taking in charge and an estimated time frame.

Cllr Desmond: We can’t leave this on the never never. Doesn’t want a one-line report back like this that has been given. The developer believes the road has been taken in charge and the Council says it is not. Nobody can find the paperwork to prove that it has been.

 

2.  “That children at play and reduce speed signs be placed in Kiltegan Park.”

Cllr Desmond is happy with the written response.

 

3.  “That this Municipal District write to Minister Simon Covney requesting assurance that the resources and funding required by the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage project team to allow for them proceed with the alternative site for the ESB substation as part of the project in Monkstown.” 

Cllr Desmond: Is not happy with this response. Is just asking that the Municipal District will support the premis of the move and is asking that the Minister would have that support across his desk.

Cllr D’Alton: Irish Water proposed to put a substation for the proposed pumping station in the Bosun car park. The location was chosen without consultation and blocks the view of the sea both from the village and the greenway. The residents have requested that it would be moved to a site in the Cut n Cover. Irish Water has done a feasibility study on it, it is technically possible. All that remains now is the funding for the move. This is what the residents want and it is aesthetically best for Monkstown. Supports the motion.

Cllr McGrath: This will ultimately be a cost issue. Supports writing to the Minister. There are no technical issues that will cause a difficulty.

 

Cllr S McGrath

1.  “That this Committee would contact Bus Eireann requesting that a bus service to Carrigaline from Passage West, Monkstown, Shanbally & Ringaskiddy be considered as a matter of priority.”

Cllr McGrath (FF): This issue has been raised before. There should be a bus link to Carrigaline from Passage West. The social welfare office amongst other services is in Carrigaline. There is a good bus service between Passage West – Monkstown – Ringaksiddy – Shanbally but it doesn’t get to Carrigaline.

MDO: We had Martin Walsh here before but it was some time ago.

Cllr McGrath proposes we write and invite him. Wants this issue to be included for discussion.

Cllr Murphy (SF): Supports the motion. Had a motion in at the full Council about coming back to us with a monthly report. He should be coming into us to liaise with us.

Cllr D’Alton: Had submitted this same request for Martin Walsh at his first meeting with us. His response was that the demand is not there. How do we overcome a repeat of the same response?

Cllr Forde says there is a review of the buses going on. Might be good to meet with him before the review is finalised.

Martin Walsh will be asked to attend the January meeting. Members are to submit questions for Martin Walsh to the MDO by the end of the week.

 

2.  “To seek a report from the Engineer in relation to the proposed plan for salting / treating roads over the Christmas period.”

Cllr McGrath: Where do we go with calls in adverse weather conditions over the holidays? Texted the area engineer over a weekend but did not receive any response. Not happy with the answer that has been given. There will be areas stranded if there is cold weather. Church Hill in Passage West is one, Church Hill in Carrigaline is another.

AC, Area Office: We have come up with a contingency plan in the area office should weather conditions deteriorate over the Christmas. We will engage our local crew and will have them briefed on salting well-used routes, not just priority 1 and 2 routes. Use the existing emergency line and we’ll have someone lined up to do salting insofar as possible.

Cllr Canty: We have 3 salt areas – in North Cork, in B’collig and West Cork. So there is never one too far away. Will get us circulated with the call centre number.

Cllr McGrath: This system hasn’t worked in the past. We need feedback. People ask us when the salt is going to be put down.

AC will take this concern back to the area office.

 

3.  “That the footpath from Coolmore Gardens & Coolmore Close in Shanbally to the Village be upgraded as soon as possible. “  

Cllr McGrath: This footpath is badly needed. Understands what the report says.

AC: There is no point in doing it yet before the Irish Water work is done.

 

5.  Votes of Congratulations

 

6.  Any Other Business

Pay parking dividend

MDO: Instead of spending the parking dividend piecemeal, suggests that we save it up to create a fund so that we can pay for removal of the overhead services along Douglas West. This is a really good proposal. Funding it will always be an issue. With this proposal we can overcome that.

Anne: €250k are the estimated costs at this stage.

Cllr Forde appreciates this innovative discussion.

Cllr Forde: Speed ramps in Avondale in Passage West. Who paid for these? They are needed in Avondale as well as Avondale Mews.

AC: The local residents came up with 25% of the funding. If the Avondale residents come to the Area Office requesting the same, we will talk to them.

 

Cllr Desmond: Asks for all responses to be paperless.

MDO: Hopes to go this way.

 

Cllr D’Alton: At the end of last year, we were promised quarterly derelict sites reports. But we have had only one this year – around April.

Anne: We’re only at the beginning stages of figuring out how we can deliver the services best. We want each Municipal District to develop expertise in certain areas. One will have expertise in derelict sites. Another will, for example, have expertise in parking fines. We haven’t the resources to develop this expertise in each Municipal District so we will have to optimise insofar as we can.

Cllr D’Alton thinks this is a very good idea but wonders how it will affect our requests for a site to be regarded as derelict. Anne clarifies that it won’t.

Cllr D’Alton: Have asked in every way possible about locks being replaced on bins. There is one in particular that is a concern between Glenbrook and Monkstown. It is swinging onto the path.

AC: Will put in the lock.

 

Cllr Harris: Re Avondale, the speed ramps were put into one part of the estate which left the other part of the estate with nothing and traffic speeds up when it comes to the other part of the estate. So the more affluent part of the estate gets speed ramps and the other part doesn’t get anything.

Cllr D’Alton: There is no more affluent part of the estate. One part of the estate is older than the other and there are two residents associations. One residents association in the newer part of the estate where a crèche is situated wanted ramps to slow down cars collecting from the crèche. They part paid for them themselves. The same will be offered to the other part of the estate. Have already advised them of this. That one part of the estate got ramps has nothing to do with affluence, merely to do with the fact that one part is newer than the other and so there are two residents associations.

 

Cllr Forde: Douglas GAA had done Trojan work in developing a training ground. The Council had given them an amenity grant. They were short €350. Can we find them the extra €350?

MDO: The GAA Club said the work was done. They said this in a letter when they were returning the invoices in August.   We paid out. We can only pay 50% in accordance with the scheme. Then the Club came in December and said something quite different. They were granted another grant in 2016. We can’t give them the extra €350.

 

Cllr McGrath: The lights in Church Road haven’t been turned on. We’re waiting on the ESB. They have been paid. This is the 2016 public lighting programme and the lights still haven’t been switched on. It takes so long to work through the scheme. We tell the public that we’re going to get public lighting and we’re half way through the winter and there are still no lights. We are the paying customer and should be following up with the ESB why they are not doing their part of the job.

AC: It is the ESB that is the problem. We will reinforce your concerns to them.

 

Cllr Harris: On Shamrock Road it is very dark. Was a bad accident there a few weeks ago. A car overturned.

AC: Will talk to the public lighting engineer.

 

Cllr Canty: Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to everyone.

_______________________________________

 

 

 

Notes from a meeting of the full Council, 24th October 2016

1.  Confirmation of Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 12th September, 2016.

Proposed and seconded.

 

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 (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.


Cllr Hegarty (FG): Alf Smiddy’s father

Cllr Jeffers (SF): Donie Harris, Grange

 

3.  Disposal of Property

East Cork Municipal District, 5th September, 2016:
(a).       Disposal of land at Dungourney, Co. Cork.

Blarney/Macroom Municipal District, 30th September, 2016:
(b).       Disposal of Cloughphilip, Ballincollig, Co. Cork.

Both agreed

 

REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEES

Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District

4.  LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 2001 (BYE-LAWS) REGULATIONS 2006
Making of Cork County Council’s Cemeteries Bye- Laws, 2016

‘Draft Cemetery Bye Laws Final June 16 (with amendments).pdf’

‘Bye Laws report to Council Oct 2016.pdf’

Mayor: This was discussed previously at full Council. Clarification was required. Now it has gone back to the Municipal Districts and has been agreed at Muncipal District level.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF) proposes. Says that regardless of the bye-laws, we should always be sensitive because families are burying their loved ones and we should be slow to change precedents. Know that some families like Celtic crosses. They are beautiful and part of our heritage. They should be considered. Also there is a restriction on the number of graves a family can buy when there is a bereavement. Thinks we should be flexible on this. Recently there was a funeral in Fermoy where a single family was looking for 6 graves – 4 members of the family had passed away within 5 months. Proposes adoption of the bye-laws but thinks we should always look on a case by case. This is a very sensitive issue in rural Ireland.

Cllr Carroll (FF): We discussed this in West Cork. We were told that with the consent of the local authority, the traditions of neighbours and family could be observed. The people of West Cork will need more clarification on this. Seconds the bye-laws.

 

5.  “That the Ballincollig – Carrigaline Municipal District would ask Full Council to support its request for a detailed status update on the taking in charge of Pembroke Wood, Passage West, identification of the procedural steps to be taken from this point forward to achieve the taking in charge and timelines for same.”

CE: Over the last few Council meetings there have been issued referred from Municipal District meetings which should be dealt with at Municipal District level. This issue should be dealt with at Municipal District level. Understand it was already brought up at the Municipal District and a report was issued. We will arrange for a more detailed report to be sent to the next Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District meeting.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind): This is on the agenda because it was indeed brought up at the Municipal District meeting and the report that was issued in response was a one liner – “Pembroke Wood has not been taken in charge”. This estate received planning permission in 1997/98. The residents had been working with the developer until he went into receivership in 2011 or so. I understand there is an issue with the bond. The bondholder claims the bond has expired and the County Council is pursuing it through the legal department. It has been with the legal department since before Christmas.   There are 400 houses in it, the residents of which pay their Local Property Tax every year.

I as their representative need to be able to give them an update and I have been unable to get that update. Hence I asked for the support of the Municipal District to bring it to Full Council. If there is a difficulty, that is fine, but at least let us know.

CE: There is no request for the taking in charge in. If there is a suggestion that it is taking long because of our legal department, wants to clarify that this is not the case. Understood that a second more detailed report was given to the Municipal District. Will get a more detailed report issued.

The Mayor says he understands that this is frustrating for all including members of previous Town Council. Will wait for the more detailed report to issue to the Municipal District.

 

6.  Road and Transportation SPC
Road Drainage – draft policy approved by SPC on 12-09-16

‘Road Drainage – Draft Policy approved by SPC on 12 09 16 (3).pdf’

‘Appendix A – Roads Act 1993 Section 76 Drainage (3).pdf’

‘Appendix B – Guidance Notes Section 76 Roads Act 1993 (3).pdf’

‘Appendix C – Guide Landowners and Roads Act Section 76.pdf’

Cllr Hurley (Ind): If we support this, we will commence a public awareness campaign in relation to the importance of good road drainage, the dangers of water on roads with respect to aquaplaning, etc. Thanks to the SPC members for their input in bringing this policy to Council.

Cllr T Collins (Ind): Supports. There are many roads that we travel that are not drained at all. Suggests that more funding is made available to do drainage on roads.

Cllr K Murphy (FG): The volume of water from landholdings is making trash of our roads. We spend several million per year repairing roads damaged by water coming from landholdings. This policy will not address the warning of landowners that any water on public roads is not acceptable. We have to ensure that where drainage works take place the relevant landowners have to get their act in order. Enforcement is the main issue here. We have to prosecute if landowners let water onto the public road.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF): Prevention is better than cure. You raise the road over the land and if you don’t the water will never leave it. It would save us millions. Most important things in the draft policy are communications and the best practice guidance. In some cases the local landowners or householders go out and clear the local drain. Are they right to do it?

Cllr Carroll (FF): A mini0digger could do many miles of road in a short time where drains are no longer being freed. We still haven’t seen minidiggers used for this purpose. They would solve a lot of problems.

Cllr Hayes (SF): Supports the policy as a member of the SPC. In recent times, many of the local area engineers are putting more of an emphasis on drainage work in association with resurfacing. This makes sense. Might cost more at the start but it is worth it in the long run. The policy also highlights the responsibility of landowners to keep water off the public road. Welcomes that.

Cllr D Collins (Ind): Supports the report. What is happening here is that the Council workers are not being replaced. These are the people who know where the drains are and who used to keep them cleared. We need more Council workers on the road to keep the drains cleared.

Cllr K Murphy (FG) repeats the importance of enforcement. We have to make sure water doesn’t go onto public road.

CE: Welcomes the policy document. It reflects our own policy. There is an emphasis on road drainage and how we deal with that. How adjoining landowners are impacted is a particular issue.

Cllr Hayes proposed.

 

CORRESPONDENCE FROM GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS

7.  Department of Education and Skills
Letter dated 5th October, 2016, in response to Council’s motion of 27th June, 2016, in relation to ASD provision at secondary level in Cork

‘Correspondence from Minister for Education and Skills.pdf’

Cllr D’Alton (Ind): This was in response to a motion I raised and this is the second response from the Department. The two issues we asked the Department to address were to acknowledge the shortage of ASD special classes at secondary level and to outline proposals for removing the option for schools to pick and choose whether they want to set up a special ASD class or not in an area of identified need. The letter doesn’t deal with the first issue at all. It is repetitive in telling us about the additional ASD special classes provided this year. But there are still twice as many at primary level than at secondary level. It is coming a little closer to dealing with the second issue. It appears that the Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill will require admission policies drafted by Boards of Management to not discriminate on a whole range of issues. But if a school is oversubscribed and a school has to pick between two students, it is far too easy for the school to choose the student who requires fewer special resources. The Bill also says that if a child with special educational needs cannot find a school place, the NCSE will find that place. But that place would of course be within mainstream education, not in a special class. Think we are not going to get any further with the Department and it is a waste of time writing back. The Education (Admission to Schools) Bill has gone through the first stage. Asks for the support of the Members to send a letter to the Special Committee on Education and Skills, letting them know that if the NCSE identifies a need for a special ASD class in an area, it will no longer be optional for schools to pick and choose whether they want to set up that special ASD class or not.

Cllr Desmond: Agrees with everything Cllr D’Alton says. This is an area of huge need. The response from the Department is saying more of the same. We’re so far short of where we need to be. There are children and young adults with no places to go. They do not have access to education which is their right. Access to an SNA is an issue and not enough. It has shifted responsibility to a local principle which is totally unfair. They decide who gets access and what access. This is a huge issue and it is escalating.

We will forward a letter to the Committee on Education and Skills.

 

8.  Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Skills
Letter dated 7th October, 2016, in relation to Council’s motion of 12th September, 2016, in relation to potential business and employment opportunities for Cork following the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union

As read.

 

Notices of Motion

9.  Cllr Des O’Grady
“To request a written report outlining the total cost paid by Cork County Council to external consultants for the year 2015. The figure should include all professional consultancy fees paid to non-Council employees, including amounts paid on projects funded by Government grants. The separate amount for each Council Directorate to be included.”

Separately, to outline the amounts spent on external legal services in 2015.

Response to Cllr O’Grady’s motion on consultants

Cllr O’Grady (SF): €4.6m was spent last year on outside consultants, including legal fees. This highlights the amount of public money which is being transferred into public hands. Over the last few years, €30m transferred from Cork County Council into private hands. It is clear what is happening here. Road services cost €2.1m in consultancy fees. €866,000 was spent on external legal services even though the Council has its own legal department. Thinks the growing dependence on outside consultants should be reversed.

Recent example – when Minister Coveney announced LIHAF, he stated local authorities would now prepare submissions to the Department. There was no mention of outside consultants in the Ministerial announcement. But we didn’t liaise with the bodies the Minister mentioned, rather employing outside consultants to carry out market research. Are any agency workers employed by Cork County Council? We should be depending more on our own in-house departments to carry out this work.

Cllr Mullane (SF): Seconds. Concurs with what Cllr O’Grady said. Would like a better breakdown on division of fees. Have we ever done a breakdown to see how cost-efficient it is to use external consultants? My own experience from my own employment is that those in-house have huge knowledge. This public money is spent ad-hoc. We don’t have a proposer or seconder on how we spend public money on consultancy fees.

Cllr Jeffers (SF): Supports. The amount spent on road services is a lot of money. We should be looking at expertise in-house. Fees to external agencies for public relations – are we employing them this year?

Cllr K Murphy (FG): The report shows in detail where the money is going openly and transparently. Thinks it is trash to draw up a report and criticise it immediately. Thinks it is money well spent to have proposals from consultants who are experts in the field and thinks our expecting to do that work in-house is futile. We are drained for staff. So welcomes the report and if we are waiting for internal staff to do this work, we would be several years behind. Glad to see we are spending prudently on consultants.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF): It is only 4.5% of the capital programme of €80m. €2.9m was recouped from grants. Shows that there is activity in the Council. If we weren’t doing anything, we wouldn’t need outside specialists. Get the people who have expertise in an area. Hopes there will be more consultants with more work carried out but wants them taken on only where necessary.

Cllr Harris (ind): This motion gives good service because it gives us an idea of what is going on. Hopes we are not using the same consultants all the time. Presumes most of the companies are based in Cork so we are helping local employment. This is a good motion and the most important thing is transparency and a lot of people are vying for the business and it is important to get value for money. Better to have in-house expertise but if it is not there at the moment, this is not money wasted.

Cllr K McCarthy (Ind): Thinks we have enough people in the building without venturing outside. Why does the Council spend taxpayers money on consultants and then hire people on JobBridge.

CE: We only recruit consultants where necessary. Cork County would grind to a standstill if we weren’t engaging consultants. If this figure were increasing year on year, it would reflect an increase in activity within the County. Would like to see that happen. We have an excellent in-house staff but there are situations that arise where we need different teams of consultants to work with that staff. Roads is 60% of the spend on consultants. But much of that is from NTA and TII for projects which we are progressing on their behalf. We couldn’t get an N28 or Dunkettle scheme ready to go without consultants. Legal spend is to bring in former Town Councils. This will reduce over time. But there is a significant cost associated with defending actions against this Council. On LIHAF, it is a competitive bid, a highly significant issue and I wanted to put our best foot forward in a short space of time. Wanted a highly professional proposal which built on the professional work we had done in-house here. Makes no apologies for that. The issue of cost efficiency has been referenced. All consultants go through a tendering system, some through EU tendering. Rarely do we use PR consultants for external advice. Our LEOs use them at times but a very small spend only. If €3.79m increases, it reflects increased investment.

Cllr O’Grady (SF): We are very much against the CE’s position. Is there a cap on the amount we can spend on external consultants in any area? Also are there funds due from the grants system from the Department? None of the money from government for housing (€972k) will be paid back to Council until work starts on site. Much of this money will go to outside consultants and the Council will have to pay up front. Won’t be recoupable for some time.

CE: The €972k is a cashflow issue. We are developing projects and we will recover our costs associated with housing capital projects once work commences on site. So this is just a cashflow issue. There is a certain percentage recoupable from the Department. On LAP €4.1m, there is no link between money spent on consultancy fees and the LAP income. There isn’t any cap on what we pay to consultants. We go to the market and a competitive tendering process. You pay for what you get.

 

10.  Mayor Seamus McGrath
“To seek a report outlining the Council’s previous involvement, in whatever form, in the provision of public garden allotments across the County. Also, to request that further consideration is given towards utilising Council owned land as garden allotments, perhaps on an interim basis and particularly in the vicinity of large population bases”.

Response to Cllr McGrath’s motion on allotments

Cllr McGrath (FF): Allotments have worked very well in the past in the county. They involve use of local produce, reducing transport costs, etc. They have many positives associated with them. Welcomes the report. Hopes the Municipal District would try to identify land that is available for garden allotments in association with local groups. Even in an interim or medium term this is something we should explore. Overall welcomes the report.

Cllr Canty (FG): Fully supports. We had to jump through a lot of hoops to get where we are in Ballincollig. At the time, the owner of the land objected to Cork County Council using it if he wasn’t allowed build on it. Ballincollig has 100 allotments. It is railed off, has toilets, etc. But that was the Regional Park land and it is working very well. There are people working on their allotments from 7am in the morning. There is a charge but it is minimal and it is encouraging people to get out. They have formed their own committee in relation to the running of it.

Cllr Barry (FG): Congratulates on bringing the motion …

 

I had to leave for a few minutes.

 

Cllr O’Flynn (FF) supports.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF): Commends allotments in town and villages where they are. Some provide employment through TUS schemes, etc. Some take groups and schools, some do courses. In Bandon, the land that they are on is Council land, some of which we would hope to develop for social housing. So the future of the allotments is a little uncertain. Hopes that the land would be allocated so as to give them greater security.

Cllr Dawson (FG): When Mitchelstown wanted an allotment, we found it very difficult until Cork County Council came on board.

Cllr Hurley (Ind): There is a community garden in Dunmanway getting great support from Cork County Council. It is a win-win situation for the Council and the community. It provides employment. It provides produce for the farmers market. Participated in the West Cork Food Festival. Community gardens are another focus for this motion.

CE: Welcomes the motion. The Director of Services is also keen to move this on. There have been some very successful allotments. It is important that communities who take the allotment project on have the capacity to do so. We don’t want land that is required for something else to displace allotment groups. Need reasonable permanency for them.

Cllr J Murphy (Ind): Thinks a great motion. In Mitchelstown, we could see some Council land being used as a car park down the line which is right next to an old folks home. They would love to see this land used as an allotment. If it comes to full Council for approval, hopes Members will remember what they said today and will not let it go ahead.

Cllr McGrath: Thanks Cllr O’Flynn for the point in relation to new developments. Thinks relevant. Could retrofit into existing estates where members are having difficulties in managing a particular area of ground. We will work through the Municipal Districts and come back to this issue.

 

11.  Cllr Noel Collins
“That this Council report on the need for public health warning signs to bathers and beachgoers to exercise caution on beaches, following the massive infestation of deadly jellyfish, which have reached our shores”.

Response to Cllr Collins’ motion on jellyfish

Cllr N Collins (Ind) outlines the dangers of the jellyfish.

Cllr Cullinane (InD): Onsite, it is vital that we bring awareness as to how dangerous this is.

Cllr A O’Sullivan (FF): Supports and commends Cork County Council staff for picking up hundreds of these jellyfish on Youghal beach. We are very happy in Youghal with the County Council response.

Cllr C O’Sullivan (FF): Thinks Cork County Council could not have predicted this influx of jellyfish and commends them for the speed with which they have responded. But beach users generally need to be aware.

CE: We have reacted swiftly to the issue of these jellyfish. Signage has been erected but welcomes any opportunity to increase awareness further. Hopefully the influx of jellyfish won’t last much longer.

Cllr N Collins (Ind): Thanks all for the support. Would appreciate if signs were to up on the 5 beaches in East Cork.

 

12.  Cllr Michael Murphy
“That this council writes to the minister to keep their promise as stated in programme for government document Page 48 – to protect and enhance the services available within our post office”.

Cllr Murphy (SF): A report commissioned by An Post in 2013 suggested that without government commitment to granting of services through the post office network, they wouldn’t stand a chance of survival. Some postmasters are maintaining services at below minimum wage income. Most can stay open for only a short while.

Cllr O’Shea (Ind): A number of reports have been commissioned by the government and An Post on how to improve the sustainability of the network going forward.   They have missed deadline after deadline in reporting back. Unless the services are used, 400 post offices are really going to be in serious trouble. We know post offices that have closed in recent years have had a devastating impact on their towns and villages. Suggests that we write to Ministers responsible for this. Minister Naughten has set up a committee in relation to rural post offices.   Thinks we should write to both Ministers responsible and ask for an update.

Cllr Jeffers (SF): Post offices are under pressure. Previous governments have let so many close. We have lost garda stations too. Everything must be urgently acted upon to save our post offices.

Cllr Coughlan (FF): Supports. Post office as an integral part of communities is to be strengthened. Current policy is non-existent. We are not seeing any policy. We need to send out a strong message that we want enhancement of the services post offices provide. It will be further centralization and movement towards banks if we don’t.

Cllr Doyle (FF): Supports. Through our Municipal Districts, we are always discussing and putting money back into rural Ireland and enhancing our towns and villages. We have a ready made business centre with our local post office. It behoves us all to help the services it offers.

Cllr Conway (Ind): Supports. Can’t highlight how important this really is. It was a big social aspect in rural areas. Wouldn’t blame government necessarily but the policy that is there doesn’t give confidence that the post offices would stay open. Non-viability was stated on the Week In Politics that this is what would close them. Supports suggestion that we would write to the Ministers.

Cllr D Collins (Ind): Post offices should be extending their services. Minister Ring said mobile post offices might be one way out of this. This is rural Ireland. A lot of towns have lost mobile banks. Social welfare was taken off post offices and put into the banks. We need to expand their services.

Cllr B Ryan (FF): Supports. Supports Cllr O’Shea’s suggestion. The government governs and we should insist that Ministers with the responsibility would come forward with a policy quickly. Would be terrible to leave communities without the services post office offer.

Cllr Cullinane (Ind): We have all been contacted about this issue. All our national services used to carry a sovereign seal.   This has disappeared from post offices. Nobody noticed, almost signalling what is coming down the line. They are a national service. We need those sovereign seals back.

Cllr Hayes (SF): Post offices are a vital part of the social fabric. In Clonakilty 15 years ago there was a threat of post office closure. We formed a committee and ensured its survival. You do have to use the facility if it is in your community. Nationally, services do need to be driven through the post office. Social welfare going through banks need to be knocked on the head. Welcomes the reopening of Leap post office last year.

Cllr J Murphy (Ind): Supports and concurs. Local postmistress felt that the public representatives in Dublin didn’t care. She couldn’t sleep worrying about what is going to happen. She has full time staff employed. The knock-on effect of what might happen is detrimental.

Cllr PG Murphy (FF): An old chestnut. We have to creative about how we look at increasing the services of the post office. A suggestion made is that they could become tourist information offices in small towns and villages. The way the government has undermined them with regard to social welfare payments is unacceptable.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF): Post offices are a way of life for people in rural Ireland. People in Dublin don’t understand this where you have wifi or banks on your doorstep. In rural Ireland, they don’t have those services. This is a matter of principle. If the government is serious about reviving rural Ireland, this motion should be taken seriously.

Cllr K Murphy (FG): We don’t use post offices properly. In some cases we have to be realistic as well. Modern technology must be installed in them. We have to prove conclusively if a post office is needed in an area and the we have to use it. Get as many ideas as we possibly can to make them viable. We have to use it or we will lose it.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF): They are talking about post offices one every 20 miles at the moment. They were saying that about local health centres at one stage. Use them or we’ll lose them. At the same time, they need to be reviewed with a heart that wants to keep them open. It behoves the Minister and his department to ensure that facilities that can be used in the local post offices will be put in place.

Cllr Harris (Ind): When you try to expand services in post offices, it is objected to by the banking sector. So it is a political decision. Thinks post offices would thrive were it not for the banking sector.

Cllr Murphy (SF): Thanks all for their support. Has no problem with what Cllr O’Shea proposed.

 

13.  Cllr Danielle Twomey
“That this council ask the Minister for health Simon Harris. To increase funding to the CUH in the new budget. In order to help alleviate the staffing shortage and to also give enough funding for the hospital to provide its own Mri equipment and facilities”. 

 Cllr Twomey (SF): Nurses and midwives are paying unfair taxes. We are losing our doctors and nurses to abroad. One nurse she spoke to was a single mother who is struggling to pay and says she may be forced to leave her country. Hard to visit this hospital and see the wonderful work it does but also to see the stress which they employees are under. The MRI at the CUH is owned by Alliance Medical and the hospital has an SLA in place. Constituent had seizures on a Friday, had to wait until the following Wednesday for an MRI. No staff available to conduct the scan. The CUH doesn’t take referrals for MRI scans unless private. Then you will be referred to a consultant. Young boy – bike accient – ER – needed MRI – nurses feared because out of hours – consultant answered phone by chance and agreed to carry out the scan – boy survived because he was treated adequately. A PR company gave her a copy of operating hours at MRI unit. CUH aims to provide high quality care, clinical excellence and safety. The hospital is totally relied on and more so with the closure of the Mercy ER department. The staff is amazing but is stretched to their limit. Staffing level needs to be addressed. Amends motion to increase pay and abolish crazy taxes.

Cllr Mullane (SF): A private company is running the MRI equipment in the CUH. The health service should never be down to the wealth that you have.

Cllr Twomey clarified her amendment to the motion: That the Minister would consider addressing the concerns that the staff have in relation to their pay conditions and their taxes.

The motion was passed.

 

CORRESPONDENCE FROM OTHER BODIES

14.  Davis College Mallow
Letter dated 10th October, 2016 in response to Council’s letter of 5th October in relation to the current progress on the construction at Davis College, Mallow.

‘Correspondence from Davis College Cork.pdf’

Cllr Mullane (SF): Was in discussions with the planning office here about Davis College. What is said here by the ETB is not correct. They don’t qualify at all. So can we confirm that ETB would be breaking planning conditions by going on site with prefabs?

CE: If the Cllr has a concern that the letter doesn’t represent the situation on the ground, there is process for anybody to issue their concern to our own planning department.

Cllr Mullane (SF): I have done that, I have been told that what the ETB is claiming is not ok and I have relayed that to Cork ETB.

Mayor: We will receive clarification.

 

15.  Port of Cork
Letter dated 11th October, 2016, in response to Council’s letter of 27th September, 2016, in relation to plans for the Marino Point site.

‘Port of Cork Correspondence.pdf’

Cllr Murphy (SF): The letter is brief. Who looks after the site at the moment? It is run down. Is it safe?

Cllr Cullinane (Ind): Met with the Port of Cork last week on this. They say several of the partners have to iron out some specific points but they do intend to move forward very shortly.

Mayor: This response doesn’t give us any new information! Will we revert to the Port and ask that they come back with new information when there is more to hand?

Cllr Murphy: Yes.

 

16.  VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS

Cllr P O’Sullivan (FF): Munster Senior League Soccer Club.

Cllr D O’Brien (FF): Kildorrery karate club

Cllr Coughlan (FF)

Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Passage West karate club

Cllr D Collins (Ind): on Shamrocks match yesterday.

Cllr K Murphy (FG): Wants to be associated with that. Also own home team of Kinsale who won junior football champions.

Cllr PG Murphy (FF)

Lots more

 

17.  Any Other Business

Cllr Forde (FG): Could the CE help us out with N28? There was a recent accident on Carr’s Hill. A resident rang and said it caused a lot of hassle. We don’t have stats for accidents and around Bloomfield, Carr’s Hill, N28. We’re going to make a momentus decision in relation to the Port of Cork and these roads. Have looked for Demand Management Study to be published. Would also like to know the volume of traffic increase on the N40, N28 and at the Bloomfield. Can’t make an informed decision without this data. Will be asking the gardai if they can give us some stats. We never get stats for this. The Area Office wasn’t aware of that accident on that day. Asking the CE would he liaise with maybe the gardai or the agency and come up with those stats as soon as possible?

Cllr Couglan (FF): Bus Eireann is providing buses to transport people from the Cork Jazz festival to the Metropolitan area and to Midleton but not to Bandon. They have done this before. They provide a bus to Ballincollig, Blarney, Carrigaline, Midleton, etc. but not to Bandon. Asks that we write to Bus Eireann on this. Will be writing herself.

CE: Will convey members request to TII. We are agents on behalf of TII. Is sure that these matters have been raised through the public consultation process but will ask.

Cllr Forde (FG): Is asking for the Demand Management Study to be published for the last 18 months. Also asks that CE write to the Chief Garda Commissioner.

 

 This concluded the meeting.

 

 

 

 

My motion to full Council, 26th September 2016

“That in building new playgrounds or regenerating existing playgrounds, Cork County Council would introduce a policy of application of the Principles of Universal Design by installing a range of equipment which can be used by both able and less able bodied children alike.  In addition, that towards achieving universal design, Cork County Council would begin a programme of retrofitting all existing playgrounds in its jurisdictional area with at least one item of play equipment specifically designed for inclusivity of all.”

Not much is written about the benefits of playgrounds, but the fact is that in a world where play patterns are changing, where there is a decrease in free play and outdoor play and where concerns over children’s safety leads to increasing adult supervision, playgrounds are more important than ever before. Playgrounds help children to develop physical awareness and abilities, social skills, language interaction, motor skills, spatial awareness, balance, co-ordination, fitness and emotional wellbeing.

There are lots of playgrounds in County Cork. They are bright colourful places, a focus in the community, well used and well maintained. But very few of our playgrounds are universally designed. This often means that when a family with two children take an afternoon out in the local playground, the able-bodied child can play freely whilst her wheelchair-bound sibling can do little other than look on.

13% of people living in County Cork have a disability. Of those, over 6,000 are children under the age of 14. The National Intellectual Disability Register tells us that 98.7% of those under 18 with a disability are living at home. So for these children and their parents, the playground as a destination is critically important. Much of the equipment installed in playgrounds is labelled in the catalogues as being universally accessible. But the reality is quite different.

In preparing for this motion, I had the pleasure of visiting St. Paul’s Special Needs School which caters for pupils aged 4 – 18 years with moderate, severe or profound general learning disabilities.   According to the National Intellectual Disability Register, almost half of children registered as disabled fall into this category. I spoke to the principal and to many of the teachers so that I might benefit from their direct experience as to the value of County Cork’s playgrounds for their students.

The immediate reaction from all to whom I spoke was that there are nowhere near enough facilities which their students can use. The new swings in the Ballincollig Regional Park with the back and harness were singled out as being great for many. Basket swings everywhere were spoken of positively. But swings like these can be used by a wheelchair-bound child only if he/she is small enough to be lifted in. There is a wheelchair accessible roundabout in Lisgoold. There is a simple wheelchair swing in Fermoy and a top of the range wheelchair swing in Whitegate. The latter was provided by the Whitegate community, assisted by SECAD. That’s it.

Universal design does not require every piece of equipment to be accessible to every child, nor does it mean providing stand-alone features designed for the exclusive use of children with disabilities. It means choosing a variety of features and products that are usable by children of all abilities. Installing a spring system on gates to reduce the risk of a child bolting. Providing a sufficient range of equipment to cater for gross motor skills without undue physical effort on the part of the carer. Catering for finer motor skills with activity panels at ground level. Allowing access onto equipment via a transfer platform or ramp. If for example, more than one spring rocker is provided, install one with a back rest and sides.

Because children with disabilities can often be marginalised when it comes to play opportunities, the National Play Policy, “Ready, Steady, Play” (2004) recommended that all new and revamped local authority playgrounds would be universally designed.  But Cork County Council’s recreational policy drafted in 2006, doesn’t mention universal design at all.

So I ask that we amend this policy to reflect our collective aim of making playgrounds equally usable by all children.

Retrofitting just one item of universally accessible equipment into existing playgrounds is a small ask. Simple rainbow chimes provide sensory benefits, take very little space and cost in the region of €1,100. A chalkboard that allows children who cannot verbalise to express themselves is €700. A small spinning, swinging bowl for one costs €1,400. The same for two or three children is about €5,300. A gentle rocker with a back to seat several children costs about €4,200. A roundabout accessible to both wheelchairs and able-bodied children can be purchased for about €6,300 and needs a 17cm dig to make it level with the ground. These are just examples to illustrate how retrofitting just one item of universally accessible equipment is financially achieveable, does not need specialist installation but would extend the multi-faceted benefits of our playgrounds to all children, all over the county.

Introduction to my motion to Full Council on Recreation and Amenity, 25th July 2016

“That the current reorganisation of the Directorate structures of Cork County Council would include a section dedicated to Recreation and Amenity, the functions of which would include development of a Recreation and Amenity Strategy for the County, co-ordination of Recreation and Amenity developments throughout the Municipal Districts and development of the proposed network of cycling infrastructure throughout County Cork.  Easily accessible Recreation and Amenity opportunities are critical for healthy communities and provision of same is a local authority function which is almost always welcome.”

Recreation and amenity infrastructure of all kinds is vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in a community and a region.

Parks and recreation programs and services contribute in a significant way to the physical and mental health of people of all ages.

They are essential for social engagement.

They are valuable to creating and enhancing community spirit.

They help to foster environmental responsibility.

They are also very important for the economy. Parks, trails and recreation facilities increase property values and tax revenue. Quality parks and recreation are cited as one of the top three reasons that business cites in relocation decisions.

 

Provision of recreation and amenity facilities is one of local authority’s core functions. And we as a Council have developed some excellent sites and facilities. But there is still a deficit. Some of our staff have real expertise in the development of recreational facilities and if that expertise were collated in a dedicated section, it would have the drive to co-ordinate and promote cohesive and structured integration of recreation and amenity facilities in everything we do.

Dublin City Council has a Cultural and Amenities Section.

Cork City has a Recreation, Amenities and Emergency Services Section

Tipperary County Council has a Community and Economic Development Section which includes the development of cultural and recreational areas

Waterford City and County Council has a Community and Sport Department.

All I’m asking is that within the Municipal District Directorate, the County Council would incorporate a small but distinct section with a specific focus on the co-ordination of development of Recreation and Amenity facilities throughout the county. Their expertise will feed down through the Municipal District structure to the Area Offices who are doing the work on the ground. We need that kind of structure if we are to optimise limited opportunities for funding, think in an innovative way and advance positively even the plans and strategies we already have in place.

The irony is that although as local authority we have a defined set of core functions, recreation and amenity is one which always gives us huge bang for our buck. It brings pleasure. It promotes Cork County Council in a positive way. It is worth investing in and it is worth being the best we can be at it.

My motion to full Council on ASD units in secondary schools (27th June 2016)

“That Cork County Council acknowledges the ongoing shortage of places in special education classes for students with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis at secondary level.

That if the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) identifies a need for additional special education classes at either primary or secondary level in a defined geographical area, the Department of Education and Skills would require schools in the geographical area to respond to this identified need by establishing an adequate number of such special education classes to match that need.  

That the necessary funding for both the set-up and running of these special education classes would be provided by the Department.  

That this need is not unique to Cork and consequently that this motion is circulated to all other local authorities in Ireland for their consideration and support.”

In 1996, the European Parliament adopted a written declaration called the ‘Charter for Persons with Autism’. Two of the key tenets of this Charter include:

  1. THE RIGHT of people with autism to live independent and full lives to the limit of their potential;
  2. THE RIGHT of people with autism to accessible and appropriate education;

At that time (1996), the Irish Society for Autism completed a survey on children and adults with Autism. The study identified an overall prevalence of 1 in 2,000 births. Since then the numbers of children being diagnosed have further increased to 1 in 100 children. The most recent study carried out by the Cambridge University Autism Research Centre indicates that 1 in 58 children will have some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Mainstream classes aren’t always the best setting for a child with Autism Spectrum. But some students may be able to attend an ASD unit within a mainstream school which will allow them to integrate into a mainstream school community, participate as far as possible in the curriculum, but with additional supports and resources. These work extremely well, allowing young people with autism to optimise their sometimes very gifted abilities, whilst getting the additional support they need in other areas.

Each ASD unit has places for 6 students. At secondary school level, each unit is allocated 1.5 dedicated teaching posts and 2 special needs assistants. Funding of 6.5k is given to setting up the unit. Schools with ASD units have found this to be sufficient. Yet at present there are only 15 ASD specific classes in mainstream secondary schools in Cork City and 34 in the whole of Cork County. These are just nowhere near sufficient to meet the needs of students coming from ASD classes in primary school, not even including those in special schools who are able to attend mainstream school nor those who are in mainstream school and need ASD units. And despite this, two of the existing units in Cork City are to be closed for the coming academic year.

This situation is not in any way unique to Cork. Questions about the availability of ASD places at secondary school level have been raised time and time again in the Dáil. And whilst the Department defends current policy, the real issue appears to be that schools are allowed to choose whether they wish to establish an ASD unit or not. This is despite the often desperate need of students, their families and pleas for assistance from the National Council for Special Education.

If the National Council for Special Education identifies that there is a need for additional ASD units in an area, the Special Educational Needs Organiser whose function it is to link between the school and the NCSE, should be able to work with all schools in that area to see that those units are established. Schools should not be able to pick and choose whether they want an ASD unit or not, but collaboration with the Special Educational Needs Organiser should help to identify the most appropriate schools within an area of need whilst helping to iron out any concerns those schools may have.

I ask for your support to make this request to the department; that the element of choice on the part of the secondary school with regard to establishing an ASD unit in an area of need would be removed. Because this is an issue that is so deeply felt countrywide, I ask for your support to circulate this motion to the other local authorities so that they too may make the same request of the department.