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My welcome to the Regional Final of the Junior Achievement Competition 2015

I am honoured and excited to welcome all of you students, teachers, mentors, judges and guests to County Hall to the Regional Final of the Junior Achievement Company of the Year Competition 2015.

Cork hosted the first Junior Achievement Company Competition European Final back in 1990.

I don’t know whether it was this or an increasing awareness of the importance of entrepreneurs in Irish society but Cork County Council has massive respect and support for entrepreneurship in so many guises.

It supports entrepreneurs active in the fields of science, food, arts, crafts, retail – so many areas.

Since April of last year, the Local Enterprise Offices have become part of the local government structure.  They offer support to small enterprises supporting up to 10 people.  There are two Local Enterprise Offices in County Cork – one in South Cork at the Kinsale Road roundabout and another in North and West Cork with two offices, one in Mallow and the other in Clonakilty.  So if when you leave school or university you want to set up a business in County Cork, one of these Local Enterprise Offices will be your first port of call.

In 2014, they gave over €1m in financial assistance to over 60 projects.  These projects alone supported 125 jobs.

The Local Enterprise Offices run an annual start your own business competition called the Student Enterprise Awards programme.

In the world of local government, Cork County Council is unique in that since 2011, it ringfences 1% of rates collected from businesses in the county every year to put into a special fund dedicated to economic development.  This Economic Development Fund gives financial assistance to businesses in County Cork with capital grants, loan guarantees and it part-funds enterprise projects.

Cork County Council has made a special effort to foster economic and entrepreneurial links with China.  In September of last year, a delegation from the County Council visited the Jiangsu region of China.  The delegation included representatives from 3 Cork schools who hoped to develop a relationship with their Chinese counterparts.

It is of course the County Council which is spearheading the development of a new science and innovation park at Curraheen, on a 100 ha greenfield site.  The concept is for a cluster of hi-tec businesses and research companies with incubation units linked to UCC and CIT.

And last year Cork County Council offered 165 fully serviced industrial sites to businesses, including some industrial units specifically for business start-ups.

The seed that makes all of this available to you is Junior Achievement.

Junior Achievement tells you to see how what you are learning at school is relevant to the real world after school.  It teaches you how to maximise what your education offers you and to use that education to make your own opportunities.

Junior Achievement now reaches almost 70,000 students in primary and secondary schools all over Ireland.

Some of my own kids have taken part in Junior Achievement at primary level.  They loved it.  My now 11-year old daughter was particularly taken with the replacement hip joints she learned about from DePuy representatives as part of the Our Universe programme.

You guys are the future.  The skills you will develop through school and implement when you leave school can bring economic success to our county and pride to our country.  This is your time because your entrepreneurship has the potential to change the world.

Best of luck to you all in this Regional Final of the Junior Achievement Company of the Year competition.  Not all of you can go forward to the National Finals, but all of you who have got this far are winners in your own right.  Congratulations.  I hope you have a wonderful day here in County Hall and I wish you all best of luck, not just for today but for all the entrepreneurial achievements you will enjoy throughout the rest of your lives.

Notes from a meeting of the full Council, 9th March 2015

2nd year students of Kinsale Community School are present at the meeting and are welcomed.

1.  Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 23rd February, 2015.

Proposed and seconded.


[b]           VOTES OF SYMPATHY
2.  Votes of Sympathy (if any) to the relatives of:

(i)             members or employees of the Council,
(ii)            dignitaries of Church or State, or
(iii)           members of old I.R.A. and Cumann na mBan.

Cllr Keohane (SF):  Sympathy to the parents and family of Eric Stanton, the 16 year old boy from Glanmire who was tragically drowned.  All Members extended their sympathy.


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

(a).          Cobh Municipal District – 13th January, 2015:
Disposal of 16 Patrick Pearse Place, Carrigtohill, Co. Cork.

(b).          Ballincollig Carrigaline Municipal District – 16th February, 2015:
Disposal of land at Church Road, Carrigaline to Carrigaline Community Association.

(c).          Amendment to Disposal of Old Library Building, Church Street, Youghal, by the inclusion of sub-heading “Term – 999 Year Lease” and the substitution of “Therese O’Connell, Anthony O’Driscoll, Timothy McSweeney and James Corcoran as Trustees of Youghal Cancer Support Group Centre” in lieu of “Trustees of Youghal Cancer Support Group Centre”, being the persons to whom the property is to be disposed.

Proposed and seconded.


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

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

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

Proposed and seconded.



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

(b).          Mayor’s Community Awards.

Both proposed and seconded.

The Mayor’s Awards will be reviewed to see if their operation can be improved.


6.  Roads and Transportation SPC:

Parking Control Bye-Laws (Pay-Parking) Draft Policy 2015.

Parking Control Bye Laws Policy for County Cork 2015 – Agreed at SPC meeting on 19 02 15

Cllr Hurley (Ind):  Delighted to bring this to Members for debate.  We brought a draft to the SPC meeting in December.  It was taken apart at the meeting and we were back to the drawing board.  At our last meeting in February this was the redraft considered.  Essential to consider this framework.  Parking needs to be considered in a sustainable manner.  Topical issue.  Not one size fits all.  Easiest way to deal with it is to bring it back to the Municipal Districts and see how it suits best in their areas.  In the SPC we felt we could not have one overall policy that fit all situations.

CE:  Want to bring finalisation to this issue.   It is an issue for the Municipal Districts whether they want to amend or adopt parking bye-laws.  Welcomes this document.  Has gone through a number of iterations.  This draft policy has 4 key points – recognises that the primary objective is to manage pay parking in a sustainable manner to support the economic viability of the town; that Council supports pay parking; welcomes the proposal to require a report if changes are to be made to an existing pay parking regime; income from pay parking supports a dividend towards the towns; pay parking supports the GMA.  This policy provides a framework.  It sets out time periods and general guidance on the fee to be charged.  Recommends that it is adopted as presented.

Cllr O’Sullivan (FF):  Member of the Transport SPC.  Most important point of the document is that it is up to the Municipal Districts whether or not they introduce pay parking.  Leaves a headache for those Municipal Districts who already have it.  But most importantly, it leaves it up to the Municipal District whether or not to introduce it in towns that don’t have it.  We are all opposed to it in West Cork.  Happy with the procedure and how this worked.  Original proposal has been significantly changed.  Comparison between pay parking and time limited parking has been removed.  Happy that pay parking will not be coming down the line for West Cork towns.

Cllr Doyle (FF):  Wants to see the strength of the Municipal Districts come to the fore.  Has seen the disadvantage of pay parking in regional trade in North Cork.  Has serious concerns in relation to a general county-wide introduction of pay parking policy.  Reservedly happy with this.

Cllr O’Shea (Ind):  Matter of concern to a lot of members.  Glad that we have a policy document going forward.  Welcomes the overall document.

Cllr O’Flynn (FF):  Welcomes this proposal.  Delighted we can discuss it.  Delighted it is going back to the Municipal Districts.  Is a big deal in his area.  His town is dying because of pay parking.  Pay parking is about the survival of our rural towns.  On-street parking is killing our towns.  Businesses are providing employment, services, paying rates, etc.  Not a level playing field for some towns with pay parking and others with not.  Section 11 should have more discretion.  Have to have incentives to bring people into towns for Christmas.

Cllr Canty (FG):  Welcomes this.  Three parking regimes in place in the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District.  Looks forward to working on this.  Some business people will be delighted with the idea that there will be control on parking.  Asks that discuss it at the Municipal Districts and work further on it at a Development Meeting.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Always thought the countywide parking policy concept was flawed.  Background to this was changes proposed to the Douglas pay parking system.  Annoyed that we have been handcuffed in trying to make any changes to pay parking in our Municipal District in the last few months.  Doesn’t think this document achieves much.  Consistency is not achieved here.  Sets out 12 points in one page.  Any Municipal District will have to adopt pay parking changes within the context of these 12 points.  Legislation says it should be a function of the Municipal District.  Has a serious issue with point 7 and 8.  Don’t think we even know what this means.  It is wrong to suggest that there may be an indirect impact on income.  Thinks decisions on pay parking should remain a function of the Municipal Districts in entirety.

Cllr McCarthy (Lab):  We have pay parking in Fermoy.  People want same level playing field in the different towns.  If the financial implications prevent us from doing that (points 7 and 8), where do we go then.  This draft policy is giving us the opportunity to do something but does this document go far enough?

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Pay parking was brought in to keep rates down in Mallow.  It worked.  But now Mallow’s rates are going up but the pay parking appears there to stay.  Pay parking charges will increase in Mallow.  Has serious reservations.  €283k was Mallow’s income from pay parking last year.  Having €400k split into the various areas of the Municipal District is not a good deal for Mallow.  Wants us to commit to not privatising parking.

Cllr R McCarthy (SF):  Free parking in shopping centres will affect town centre footfall.  How do we compensate for the traders being penalised for having their shops on the street?  Would like to see all off-street parking as free.  Thinks we can use this policy to equalise the parking situation between Bandon and Kinsale.    In general, welcomes the proposal.

Cllr McCarthy (FG):  Point 5 needs clarification.  Point 5 – there is no mention of the Municipal District taking a decision to abolish pay parking in certain towns.  If there are implications when one abolishes pay parking, one must be clear on these.  Traffic within Midleton is choked up because people avail of the fact that they can park there long term.  How are the traffic wardens financed?  What are the implications for the towns that have pay parking?

Cllr Murphy (FG):  Welcomes the report.  Timely.  Sets out in fairly good detail the agreed proposals going forward in draft.  Agrees with some of the comments being made.  Most of the comments being made are pro-parking.  Is a nonsense for this Council to be paying for a traffic warden in certain towns when there is a substantial loss being incurred.  In favour of pay parking in busy towns which have a turnover in space.  Shop locally and ensure that by parking locally you pay some small contribution to the local town.  Thinks this should be discussed in further detail before it is agreed.  We should adopt a full pay parking countywide policy first of all.  Then bring it back to the Municipal Districts.

Cllr Harris (Ind):  Pay parking has had the opposite effect to Point 4.  We do want it to deal with people who leave their cars there all day and we have used a sledgehammer to crack a nut.  With pay parking in Douglas we have wiped out much of the enjoyment of going to the village.  We’ve put massive strain on the small businesses there.  Think it is shortsighted just for the sake of immediate revenue.  This policy will backfire in the long term.  This report appears to be neither here nor there.  This policy says to send it back to the Municipal District but if you don’t do what we say, we might overrule.  Who organised to give these private firms the power to challenge people?  This is having a direct effect on the public.  The clamping in areas of Douglas by private operators in appalling.  Two people ringing him on Saturday in trouble with clamping.  One was up from Kerry with his family.  The general image on the town is being affected by this private company.  Clamping in private areas as is happening in Douglas is crazy.  Welcomes that the decision on pay parking is handed back to the Municipal District but confused about what happens if we decide to introduce free parking.

Cllr Murphy O’Mahony (FF):  Acknowledges presence of the girls from Kinsale Community School, although they are now gone.  Glad that Municipal Districts will be looking after their own areas with regard to pay parking.  Calls on all councillors to keep pre-election promises with regard to pay parking.  In our Municipal District, we held a meeting in Kinsale where we made commitments that day.  Cllr Murphy says that pay parking is not seen as a deterrent in any town.  Invites him to walk around Bandon and Kinsale with her – she will introduce him to people who can tell him all about what a deterrent it is.

Cllr O’Donnabhain (FF):  Echoes what Cllr McGrath says.  There is one resident of Douglas who has been brought to court by the Council because of his ongoing difficulty with the pay parking bye-laws and our Municipal District could not intervene.  We have three different types of parking in our Municipal District.  Everyone in Ballincollig is fully committed against pay parking.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  This policy is a step forward in that we have finally got something on paper.  Appreciates the SPC found this difficult.  But contrary to what many Members are saying, thinks that this draft policy takes power from the Municipal Districts rather than gives it.  Point 5 clearly says that any Municipal District wanting to make changes to existing pay parking bye-laws must do so only within the context of a report to be produced by the executive.  What department of County Hall will produce this report?  How long will we be waiting?  What if we do not agree with the recommendations of the report?  The other aspect of this draft policy that is missing is humanity.  Where is there any acknowledgement of a period of free time?  We know that having no free time is killing businesses in Douglas.  We have residents living in town cetnres who are the life-blood of town centres.  The policy needs to state that they can park outside their own front doors.  Other counties have taken cognisance of carers.  Carers looking after old people living in town centres can, with medical evidence, obtain parking permits.  And many town centres do not have car parks but the proposed Christmas relaxation relates only to car parks.  Are those towns with only on-street parking to be penalised by having no Christmas relaxation?  That is not fair.  The final aspect that this policy is missing is detail on implementation.  Will private companies be used to implement the policy?  In some towns, private companies have portrayed a very poor image of parking controls.  Until these issues are addressed within the policy, I will not be supporting it.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  At 11, would propose that there should be on-street promotion of free parking for the Christmas period.  At 12b, doesn’t think there should be no flexibility for apartments but that permits may be considered in certain situations.  Cllr D’Alton’s point in relation to carers is one well made.  Points 7 and 8 are very difficult.  More explanation is required here.

Cllr M Collins (Ind):  Will be opposing pay parking in West Cork.  Business people are really feeling the pinch.  Many businesses are closing down.  If we introduce pay parking it will be a disaster in towns in West Cork.  We should look at the long-term loss to employment and our towns when businesses close.

Cllr Dawson (FG):  Welcomes this because it is important that the Municipal District can be seen to make decisions.  Fermoy has requested over and over that pay parking would be stopped.  We had to say to people all the time that we couldn’t make a decision.  The report concept in Point 5 ties our hands as to how we are going to make a decision.  Town centres provide a unique shopping centre experience.  Aldis and Lidls have free parking.  Are we trying to keep our towns alive?  Is pay parking killing our town centres?  If we make a decision based on money alone, we’re probably allowing our towns to die.  Worried about Point 5.

Cllr Rasmussen (Lab):  Not sure whether we’re ever going to be able to introduce a county-wide policy.  Pleased that the Municipal Districts will be given back to the powers to tweak existing pay parking under this document.  Bye laws need to be changed in the Cobh area.  People who aren’t owners of buildings but are principle residents there because they are running businesses in the buildings need to be able to park outside their own doors.  At present, they cannot.

Cllr Cullinane (Ind):  A very divisive issue so commends Cllr Hurley for having led the SPC to produce this.  The report gave her one huge disappointment.  From a tourism perspective, one of the things she had hoped for was a clean understanding for the tourist as to what our parking laws will be and that from going from town to town within County Cork they would know what to expect.  That might have been free parking or maybe some free time.  If the decision on pay parking is in the hands of Municipal Districts only, believes it will be some sort of patchwork.  Maybe it is time to look at certain specific areas that are uniform to all towns and clean these up.  Or have a tourism network of towns throughout the county with a common pay parking policy in all.

Cllr Hayes (SF):  Is a member of the Transport SPC and doesn’t think we could have done any better than this at SPC level.  The biggest positive coming out of this document is that the Municipal Districts can take their own decisions.  Who is paying for the traffic wardens in Clonakilty or Skibbereen that doesn’t have a pay parking system?  Because of the rates being paid already in those towns, there is plenty of money to have parking wardens employed.  Commends the document.  Is about promoting and supporting town centre business.

Cllr Collins (FG):  Whether we have pay parking or not, the turnover in the Aldis and the Lidls of the world is down 20 – 30% in the last few years.  Business is leaving town centres because the facilities are available out of town.  Nothing to do with pay parking.  Delighted that this policy gives the option to the Municipal Districts to chose what they want.  Some towns have car parks in the middle, e.g. Carrigaline has both a municipal and a private car park.  Location has a lot to do with it.  In Douglas, people can hop into their cars and drive to Mahon.  It’s got to do with the shopping choices.  But retail trade is down and business owners shouldn’t be blaming other factors like pay parking for this.

Cllr Forde (FG):  This is probably the best we can do in the context of the complexity of this issue.  Thinks we might have been better to write in 1 hour free in Douglas from the outset.  Parking dividend will make a big difference to what we have to spend in Douglas village.  We will be looking for more clarification of this policy at Municipal District level.

Cllr Carroll (FF):  Welcomes the document.  Every town has a different need.  Shopkeepers want spaces outside their door for customers.  Skibbereen has a fine car park in the middle of the town.  Skibbereen people do not want pay parking.  There is a sign on the way into Skibbereen which proudly says: “This Town has Free Car Parking”.  Surprised that the document does not address the types of vehicle that can park and those that cannot park.

Cllr N Collins (Ind):  Will reserve his comments for Municipal District level.

CE:  There have been calls for consistency and uniformity in county parking policy but uniformity potentially runs against legislation.  This strategy achieves some sort of a consistent policy which is based on ensuring that decisions at Municipal District level would be taken in the context of the report commissioned.  That report will deal with the likely impact on turnover of parking spaces and use of parking spaces and the other would be the financial effect it would have on the overall county.  Points 7 and 8 – GMA was increased by €500k plus €400k from pay parking dividend this year.  Point 5 is about this also.  Agrees that this does not achieve uniformity.  Majority would possibly like that uniformity would mean that there would be no pay parking or at least pay parking with a certain amount of defined free time.  It is quite obvious that this is not achievable.  Would still like to consider it at some time in the future.  Seems that most members are in favour of the policies presented.

Cllr Hurley (Ind):  Thanks the members for their feedback.  This is the best the SPC could come up with.  Thanks Aidan Weir and Peter O’Donoghue for their input.  All the members of the SPC made submissions to this.  Is proposing it for adoption.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  Wants to propose an amendment.  Add to 11d – provision for on-street parking promotions from 1st Dec – 6th Jan.  Add to 12b – generally permits would not be given to apartments.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  This policy doesn’t give Municipal Districts power.  The legislation does, this policy attempts to take it away.  Proposes we do not accept this.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Proposes an amendment:  that the policy would say that pay parking will not be privatised.

CE:  Promotions are better during the month of November when there is a lull.  Not during the run up to Christmas.  Management of pay parking and privatisation – this is a matter for the management of the County Council organisation and the resources we have available.  So not appropriate to have this written into policy.

Cllr Forde (FG):  Wants to see that money raised in Douglas will go to Douglas.  Not just to the Municipal District.

CE:  It could be the case that some areas with pay parking are making only small surplus over expenditure.

Cllr N Collins (Ind):  Wants to be recorded as dissenting until the Municipal Districts put their case forward.

Debate between Cllr Mullane and the CE/Mayor about whether the policy should include that pay parking will not be privatised.

Cllr Murphy (FG):  Thinks amendments will hamstring the Municipal Districts.  If the document is left open, it gives more autonomy to Municipal Districts.

Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind):  We have to discuss this at Municipal District level.  Cllr Conway (Ind) and others agree.  Asks for definitive clarification as to whether Municipal Districts will be able to change existing pay parking arrangements.

CE:  Yes.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  This policy will work very well for towns which have no pay parking.  But it will not work at all for towns which already do.

CE clarification to Cllr Murphy O’Mahony:  We do have the power to change existing parking bye-laws with this policy.  It may impact on our GMA but we do have the power to change.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  In that context, could the CE please explain the language used in the second sentence in Point 5.  It says that the Municipal District shall fully consider this Report and shall ensure that any decision by the Municipal District to introduce or modify Parking Control Bye-Laws has full regard to the findings of the Report.  This is not language that gives autonomy to Municipal Districts.  If as the CE says the Municipal Districts may change pay parking arrangements regardless of the report, proposes that the policy would omit the second sentence of Point 5.  Cllr McCarthy (Lab) and Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind) support.

Major debate.  Cllr McGrath asks whether Municipal Districts have the ability to take their own decisions if the policy is rejected.  CE says no.  That the financial impact of a change in existing pay parking must be taken into account.  If there is no policy, the Municipal District’s proposal which would financially affect full Council would go to CPG and they would then make a recommendation to full Council.

Break while information to back up the CE’s last point is brought to the meeting.  The meeting continued with the agenda and returned to the pay parking issue when the required information was brought to the Chamber.  This information clarified that on the 23rd June, a report was issued to Mayor and Members.  It was produced in response to a motion from the Western Committee – that this Council would clarify whether or not the introduction of pay parking is a function for the Municipal Districts.

CE says that this confirms that the implications of a decision taken at Municipal District level in relation to pay parking must take account of the financial implications to full Council.  That is why this policy sets a context.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Refers to consistency with policy.  CE read that “shall have regard to and taken account of”.  Doesn’t say anywhere that policy needs to go to CPG.  Clarification?  Seems to say that Municipal District should have regard to CPG if a policy is being contravened.  So the Executive produces a report on financial implications of an action by the Municipal District.  CPG intervenes if county policy is being contravened.  So this new parking policy does nothing additional over where we are at.

CE:  If Council doesn’t adopt a policy and a Municipal District tables a motion to change, I will look at the provisions in the legislation which say that you must revert to CPG because the county has a budgetary plan adopted.  And once it is with CPG, Members may not proceed.  CPG may say let’s revert back to the Municipal District.  CPG makes their recommendation but it does not have to go to full Council.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  CE is bringing the financial aspect into the CPG which in my opinion is not what the legislation says.  Specifically says interaction of the CPG is in relation to policy and programmes.  You are saying that the budget is a plan.  I don’t take that interpretation.

Cllr G Murphy (FG):  If money is being taken out of the system, someone has to be responsible.

CE:  If you take money out of the income of one Municipal District because of a change to pay parking laws, it may affect the income of another.  Cannot say that it will not.

Cllr Doyle (FF):  We have a responsibility to the town centres we are trying to represent.  This is the way forward and we need to adopt this policy.

Cllr Murphy (FG):  Proposes that we proceed without amendments.

Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF):  If you have fundamental difficulties with a document that could be resolved by an amendment, they should be considered.

First amendment proposed is addition to Point 11d:  Power to introduce on-street parking promotions.

We voted on this.  Carried 39 votes to 3.

Second amendment proposed is addition to Point 12b: Delete “and no permits to apartments” and to replace with “permits to apartments in exceptional circumstances”.

This was agreed by all.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Proposes an amendment that the operation of the pay parking would remain within the remit of Cork County Council.

CE:  it is not within the remit of the Members to say how the pay parking will be employed.  It is not a reserved function.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind): That the second sentence of Point 5 would be omitted from the policy.

CE:  Reflects the position that we must have regard to the budgetary position of the organisation.

Mayor:  Even if this is removed, it is still law that decisions taken must take account of the financial implications for full Council.

We voted on this.  10 voted for the amendment, therefore the amendment was defeated.

Voting on the SPC proposal:  11 FF members present.  All FF but one votes against the draft policy.  All SF and FG vote for the draft policy.  Cllr McCarthy (Lab) against.  Cllrs O’Shea, Hurley and T Collins (Ind) for.  Cllrs D’Alton, Linehan Foley and Cullinane (Ind) against.  Cllrs M Collins, Conway and Harris (Ind) are gone.  Cllrs Canty and Forde (FG) are gone.

Policy carried 35 votes to 8.



7.  Letter from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, regarding the marking of the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

1916 Commemoration letter

Cllr O’Flynn (FF) has proposed setting up a separate group to organise commemoration events for 1916.  The counter argument is presented by Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF) that an SPC is already set up.  He is chair of that.  All are welcome to present ideas and suggestions but the SPC is already in place and preparing for the commemoration events is its function.

Many members made contributions.  A vote was taken as to whether to set up another committee.

The proposal to set up a separate committee was carried 23 votes to 22.

The Mayor proposes that the new committee will have 11 members: 3 FF, 3FG, 2 SF, 2 Ind, 1 Lab.


[f]            NOTICES OF MOTION

8.  Notice of Motion from the Mayor, Cllr. Alan Coleman:
“That Cork County Councils supports the application of Brú Columbanus to the Minister for Health for Capital Funding for the construction of a new residential facility at Cardinal Way, Wilton to provide home-from-home accommodation for patients undergoing cancer treatment at Cork CUH. “ 

Mayor:  Brú Columbanus provides hostel type facilities for those visiting the hospital, especially those who have come long distances.  People are travelling long distances for 5 day type treatments and finding the travelling very difficult.  So they are either losing out on their treatment or taking up hospital beds for the last few days of their treatment.  Brú Columbanus proposes to build a facility to help people travelling for treatment to stay close to the hospital and thus to avoid this stress.

The motion was unanimously passed.


9.              Councillor Melissa Mullane:
“That this Council provides a report on the land purchased for the proposed building of a Fire station in Kanturk. In 2007 Cork County Council acquired land to the value of €705,000 with the intention of a relocation and new build of a Fire Station. The report should also include the additional costs associated with the project design and interest on an outstanding loan that may exist on this acquisition.”

Cllr Mullane (SF):  Kanturk was one of the 9 fire stations committed for new build.  Never materialised.  Due to questions that residents in the area asked, in February 2014, a SF TD asked in the Dail what the position with the fire station was and when work would commence.  The answer was that the Council was approved to prepare design and tender documents.  The Minister wrote to the Council expressing concerns at the cost of the project and asking that another site might be considered.  What were the costs that the Minister was concerned about?  Was the Minister’s concern in relation to the site itself or was it in relation to the purchase of the land only?  Last full Council meeting said we got 0.59 ha of land and, working out the cost of land at the time, that meant we spend > €450,000 per acre on buying the land.  We bought the land in 2002 but we were told that we could build the fire station in 2007.  Why?  Why did we buy before we were sure we could build?  Paying that type of public money for land is a total disgrace.

Cllr T Collins (Ind): Kanturk really needs a new fire station.  No town needs it more.  All they have in Kanturk is a garage for the fire engine.  Nothing else.  No offices, nothing.  Fire officers work out of their own homes.  Spoke to the Mayor about it recently and was told it is a priority 3.  So what are priority 1 and 2?  When will the Kanturk fire station start?  Believes there is nothing wrong with the site.  Wants to be able to go back to the Kanturk people with a definite on when the fire station will be built.

Cllr O’Grady (SF) spoke.

CE:  There is nothing more to add to the report.  There are three priorities in the Council for provision of new fire stations.  Macroom and Clonakilty are the other two.  Kanturk is also a priority for the county.  The site was identified in 2002 as being suitable for a fire station.  Notices were served in 2006.  It was in 2005 that we were requested by the OPW to include additional lands so as to allow access to their own lands.  OPW then changed its decision.  Council tried to renegotiate a smaller site for a fire station.  That matter was referred to arbitration by the land owner.  Agreement was reached.  Was purchased at a time of peak prices.  This is unfortunate.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  According to Leinster House records, it wasn’t until 2007 that approval was given for the fire station in Kanturk.  How did it come about that we started buying this land in 2002?  Does it come to full Council to purchase a patch of land like that?

CE:  We were proactive in purchasing this site.  If we weren’t like that, we’d stand still as an organisation.  Department took issue with the price of the site.  This was determined by the market; there was nothing we could do about that.

Cllr O’Grady (SF):  How actively are we pursuing the money owed by the OPW?  Can this be recouped and put towards the fire station?

Cllr T Collins (Ind):  This is straight across from the garda station and on a busy street.  Cattle are grazing where the fire station is supposed to be.  If it wasn’t grazed, the grass would be growing wild.  Grazing keeps it neat and tidy.

CE:  If the OPW were to pay what they owe, it would be used to reduce what the Council owes on the site.

Cllr Mullane (SF): What did the Council pay for the land?

Mayor:  Price per acre went to arbitration.  So it never came to full Council.  It was zoned land, went to arbitration, went to CPO.  Someone independent of the Council decided the value of the land.  The Council could hardly say no to the going price when it had CPO’ed the land.

Cllr Mullane (SF):  It went to arbitration when someone messed up.

CE:  Why is procedure being questioned in this way?  This was a compulsory purchase order using the instruments of the State.  The land is lying idle because there is no capital programme in place.  Nothing was done behind closed doors.  There has been no capital budget since 2008 for the building of fire stations.  If the capital budgets had continued, there would be a fire station built now.  But there will be a new capital programme and the fire station will be one of the first to be built.

Cllr T Collins (Ind):  When the land was purchased, the people of Kanturk were delighted.  It didn’t matter what the land cost per acre.  They just wanted a fire station.


The rest of the meeting was adjourned.


My introduction to my motion on dog fouling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

1.  Minutes of the previous meeting

Proposed and seconded.



[b]           VOTES OF SYMPATHY

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

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


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

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

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

All agreed.



4.  National Road Grant Allocations 2015.

Aidan Weir, Acting Director of Services:

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


5.  Regional and Local Road Grant Allocations 2015.

Aidan Weir

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Aidan Weir

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

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

Aidan Weir:

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

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


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


6.  Report of Chief Executive on Economic Development.

Louis Duffy, Director of Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Louis Duffy:

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


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


[e]           NOTICES OF MOTION

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The rest of the motions and correspondence were deferred.



18.            VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS (if any)

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


19.            ANY OTHER BUSINESS

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

Supported by M Hegarty (FG).

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

Confirmed and seconded.

Matters arising :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2.  Consideration of Reports and Recommendations:

National Transport Authority approved projects 2015 (SEE, Roads)

The seven projects funded are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cllr Forde:  Thanks Niall and his colleagues.


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

Proposed and seconded.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cllr McGrath:  Agrees.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orange flashing lights would be as far we could go.


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

Already discussed.


6.  Any Other Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cllr Forde:  Rochestown road resurfacing?

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


Notes from the full Council meeting, 9th February 2015

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

Confirmed and seconded


[b]           VOTES OF SYMPATHY
2.  Votes of Sympathy (if any) to the relatives of:

(i)             members or employees of the Council,
(ii)           dignitaries of Church or State, or
(iii)           members of old I.R.A. and Cumann na mBan.

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


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

Proposed and agreed.


4.  Corporate Policy Group:

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

Proposed and agreed.


(b)           Arts Grant Scheme 2015.

Arts Officer gave full report:

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

Click here for Arts Grants report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arts Officer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Councillor Kieran McCarthy’s motion is taken next.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Deferred until next meeting.


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

Deferred until next meeting.



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

Click here to view letter: Liadh Ni Riada

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

Click here to view letter: Iarnrod Eireann

17.            AILG:
Training Dates for Elected Members 2015.

My submission to the draft Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region

Regional Waste Co-ordinator,
Southern Region Waste Management Office,
Limerick City & County Council,
Lissanalta House,
Co. Limerick.

29th January, 2015.


RE:  Draft Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region


Dear Sir/Madam,

Although I am a public representative, I am also an environmental engineer.  I assessed my first waste management plan in the early 1990s.  I completed my Master’s thesis on the potential for centralised biogas in Ireland in 1996.  My subsequent professional career majored in the sustainable management of wastes of all types and in particular the management of sludges and slurries.

I read the draft Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region with anticipation that it would pave the way for the concepts we espoused twenty years ago but which, largely because of organisational deficiencies, undeveloped markets and government indifference, had never taken off the ground.  I am, however, bitterly disappointed.

In those twenty years, kerbside collection has been privatised and enhanced, recycling rates have risen significantly and waste to landfill has reduced.  Those advances are to be welcomed but they were solely in response to European requirements for Ireland’s handling of society’s by-products which was dramatically behind the curve.

None of the principles introduced in the draft Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region is new.  The concept of waste being a resource is age-old.  The circular economy is a long-held dream, one unlikely to see reality in a capitalist society set up for short-term financial reward.  In this Plan, I see primarily a governmental drive towards the introduction of domestic privately-run incineration as a fail-safe measure at all costs, whilst dismissing the vast millions invested by the State into the development of engineered landfill sites which will now never be operated.

I want to see Irish waste management move on.  I want to see a radical shift in our patterns of resource consumption.  I want to see commitment to a zero waste society and clearly defined targets as to how resource consumption will be decoupled from economic growth.  Prevention of waste is at the top of the waste hierarchy.  One of the principal policies in the Plan relates to prevention.  But yet the Plan has a general acceptance that waste per capita will increase significantly to 2030.  What sort of commitment to waste prevention is this?  Would the Plan’s policy towards domestic incineration be achieved if the consented capacity in engineered landfill sites were all made available without imposition of a landfill levy?  Of course it would not!  And similarly, no real policies towards decoupling waste generation from economic growth will be successful if there is tacit assumption that waste generation rates will continue to increase in an environment with generous domestic incinerator capacity.

The circular economy concept will never become a reality in isolation from the zero waste concept.  This is singularly absent from the draft Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region.  This is, of course, because it is absent from government policy.  Eliminating waste calls for intimate involvement with industry and government.  Industry has control over product and packaging design, manufacturing and materials.  Government has the ability to assist industry to make those necessary changes, either with legislation or with grant support.  Government can make real changes in the way we handle waste which will genuinely see materials return to the source from whence they came.  But both industry and government are singularly absent from the draft Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region.



  • The draft Waste Management Plan has a stated acceptance that economic recovery will lead to an increase in waste generation.  This is not acceptable, nor does it have to be the case.  This is planning to fail.  Other countries have planned to succeed by committing to a zero waste approach.  I ask that a zero waste approach be committed to within the Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region.
  • It is essential that future strategic targets are measurable and I welcome this comment in the Plan.  However, I do not agree that the strategic targets should focus on broader waste streams.  For a comprehensive understanding of waste generation and destination, we need to analyse the waste stream in the greatest detail possible.
  • There is an inherent contradiction in that whilst the Plan commits to having targets measurable, it also has a stated intention to measure the municipal stream rather than the household waste stream.  Yet one of the principal waste reduction targets of the draft Plan relates to household waste which the Plan intends not to measure.  I ask that all targets towards waste reduction are measurable and therefore that the household and commercial waste streams will be analysed separately, rather than as a commingled municipal stream.
  • The focus on resource consumption is good but it is not followed through in the Plan with an adequate focus on a shift in attitude or practice.
  • It is good that any sort of a target towards waste prevention is being proffered, but the target of 1% reduction per annum in household waste generated is too low.  Over 30% of household waste is biodegradable.  The EPA advises us that at least 60% of this is avoidable.  Were we to eliminate even 30% of biodegradable household waste, we would be achieving a reduction target greater than that espoused in the Plan.  I ask for the adoption of a target of 10% reduction in household waste generated over the lifetime of the Plan.
  • With respect, Policy B1 is a nonsense.  Local authorities cannot provide resources that they do not have.  Even if they wanted to take additional staff on board to assist communities in prevention activities, they cannot.  The government embargo on public service appointments means that they would struggle to replace an Environment Education Officer, let alone employ additional staff.  Only central government can ensure that Policy B1 happens.  To pretend otherwise is simply to set the local authorities up to fail.  It is of course appropriate that they would give whatever they can to waste prevention, but real and effective waste prevention measures can only come with both policy and financial commitment from central government.
  • The discussion on stakeholders does not mention reducing waste at source by changing industrial practices.  Why are consumers always asked to buy products with less packaging when often they have no choice?  Options for consumers need to be tackled through the producer.  I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would demonstrate a real commitment to waste prevention by introducing real and targeted measures towards working with the EPA and industry to, at a minimum, change product presentation at source.
  • I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would, as a policy target, work with government to introduce a tax on disposable products such as polystyrene and plastic drinks cups, paper and plastic plates, plastic cutlery, etc.  Products such as these have reusable alternatives.  In this regard, it would be an appropriate juncture for all ten local authorities contributing to the Southern Region’s Plan to commit to eliminating the use of such disposable commodities within local authority buildings.



  • Other countries have established what they describe as “goods rehoming facilities” at civic amenity sites.  These remove goods from the recycling and residual waste streams that are of reasonable quality and may be desired for reuse by others.  They are cleaned and are displayed in a covered area.  In some cases, a small charge is placed on recovered goods.  In others, the goods are available free of charge.  Some civic amenity sites add value to the recovered goods so that they are of higher worth.  I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would commit to piloting goods rehoming facilities at a number of the busier civic amenity sites.  It is essential that the goods are available for perusal whenever the civic amenity site is open so that it can essentially become viewed as the equivalent of a second-hand shop.  Such an initiative would help to achieve the Plan’s stated aim of adding value to the waste stream and, if successful, could contribute in a small way towards the operational cost of the civic amenity sites.



  • The Plan is very clear that the residual waste exported for treatment is a wasted resource.  But it does not mention at all the recyclable waste exported for reprocessing because of the complete lack of facilities to deal with it in Ireland.  This is a far greater loss of resource which is not even quantified in the Plan.  I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would identify and quantify the individual recyclable streams that are going abroad for reprocessing, that it would identify the countries these recyclable streams are destined for and that it would quantify the lost resources that these material streams represent.
  • We know how successful our kerbside collection of recyclables is because the volume of material collected is measurable.  However, we have no idea how the kerbside collection is performing in terms of material quality.  Are the correct materials being put into the recycling bin?  Is there contamination of materials?  Are there materials being separated for recycling for which there is currently no market?  I would like to see quality of collected recyclables being discussed in the Plan.  It may be that it is necessary to introduce a system of source separation to improve the quality of material collected.  I ask that the Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region would discuss the quality of recyclable material gathered by kerbside collection and that it would identify the volume of recyclable material collected but lost to residual waste because of contamination.  If this information is not available, it should be and its collation should therefore be a policy target of the Regional Waste Management Plan.
  • Home composting is not mentioned in the Plan.  In the past, home composting was a recommendation of many waste management plans and there are still a considerable number of households in the Region operating their own composting unit.  I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would commit to supporting home composting and that it would discuss how those who are currently practising this sustainable system of domestic waste management will continue to be supported in the context of widespread introduction of SI No. 71 of 2013 affecting food waste collection.
  • I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plans would commit to the introduction of deposit-refund schemes for, in particular, aluminium cans and plastic drinks bottles.  This is packaging which regularly litters our streets because the products it contains are generally bought in one-off purchases.  Reducing litter cleans up our environment and frees up local authority resources towards other prevention targets.  In addition, a deposit-refund scheme for targeted materials such as aluminium and PET has been proven in other countries to massively increase their recapture for recycling.
  • Targets towards anaerobic digestion are welcomed but there is no real sense of enthusiasm in the Plan for biological waste treatment equivalent to that for incineration with energy recovery.  Biological waste treatment in the form of centralised biogas and in-vessel composting is well advanced in other countries.  Despite many on-the-ground attempts by private operators and enthusiasts, it has never taken off in Ireland.  The Plan gives a strong acknowledgement of the need for energy support pricing to make incineration viable and profitable.  Why does it not give the same support to the pricing of energy from centralised biogas?  In the case of centralised biogas, it may be more efficient to use gas directly rather than to use it for electricity generation.  But this would also be a renewable product, equally deserving of support and as yet unacknowledged in Ireland.  I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would have a stated policy of working with government towards obtaining realistic financial supports for the energy products of anaerobic digestion/centralised biogas and that these financial supports would be commensurate with the elevated position of biological treatment on the waste hierarchy.
  • The Plan makes no mention of the on-the-ground problems which have continually stymied large scale biological waste treatment in this country.  In particular, it does not address the issue of markets for compost or digestate.  Without addressing such issues as these, biological treatment of either biowaste or agriwaste will struggle to advance.  It is imperative that the Plan would identify and address all the issues which to date have impeded the successful take-off of large scale biological waste treatment in Ireland.
  • I ask that the Plan would prioritise the implementation of SI 71 of 2013 on household food waste and biowaste and that it would include stated policy to investigate the use of surplus edible foods currently discarded as waste.



  • The clear ethos of national policy for waste management – as reflected in this draft Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region – is to provide adequate domestic capacity for incineration to replace landfill.  The implementation section of the Plan places more strategic focus on this than on any other aspect of our future intentions for waste management.  Moreover, the implementation section of the draft Plan addresses incineration with energy recovery as a policy measure even before it states policies for recycling, biological treatment and other aspects of waste management far further up the waste hierarchy.  To prioritise the development of incineration recovery infrastructure before the development of infrastructure to facilitate actions further up the waste hierarchy lays out a retrograde and unsustainable future for waste management in Ireland.
  • The draft Plan spends considerable energy in describing potential future uncertainty in incineration capacity in the EU markets.  This may indeed be the case for the future, although it is currently not.  It may equally be the case with future foreign capacity to accept Ireland’s sorted recyclable materials also, but the draft Plan does not develop this potential issue.  The waste projections and subsequent argument contained in the draft Plan for an additional national capacity of 300,000 tonnes in incineration with energy recovery is not convincing.  The waste projections are made in the absence of a genuine all-society change of mindset towards a circular economy.  There will be no real achievements in waste reduction should the draft Plan’s stated targets towards incineration be achieved.
  • If Ireland is to reach its EU obligations to recycling 50% of municipal waste by 2020 and 70% by 2030, it will be relying on an increase in waste generation to ensure it can maintain a residual waste stream to ensure a continued supply of feedstock to fill domestic incineration capacity.  Ireland will therefore be relying on continued generation of residual waste; this is a position utterly at odds with the circular economy, commitments towards waste prevention and the EU’s waste hierarchy.
  • Incineration with energy recovery can operate efficiently only when the feedstock has a relatively high calorific value.  This can be achieved only with a relatively high proportion of plastics and other potentially recyclable materials in the waste stream.  There is little incentive for the public to commit to sustainable waste management if they learn that their carefully sorted dry recyclables are being burned rather than replacing a global demand for virgin materials.  I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would commit to ensuring that all separated recyclables would be sent for recycling rather than for incineration either with or without energy recovery.
  • Adequate capacity for recovery through incineration with energy recovery already exists in the Meath and Dublin plants.  I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would commit to the provision of no further capacity for incineration with energy recovery until firstly, real waste prevention targets are achieved and, secondly, infrastructure to facilitate management of waste further up the waste hierarchy is already in place.
  • I ask that the Regional Waste Management Plan would commit to a tax on incineration, with or without energy recovery.  This tax would reflect the position of incineration with or without energy recovery at the lower echelons of the waste hierarchy.  The amount of the tax can be reduced to reflect the energy recovery efficiency of the plant to which the waste is sent.  All waste destined for incineration should be taxed, regardless of whether the incineration plant is in Ireland or abroad.
  • Policies E15 and E16 are clearly lifted out of the Connaught-Ulster Regional Waste Management Plan; the consultants forgot to change the reference to the CUR.  It is clear that it is a national plan to introduce incineration to Ireland and that these two policies have been inserted into all of the Regional Waste Management Plans.  This is an uninspired and unsustainable approach to replacing Ireland’s traditional reliance on landfill.


Local authority as stakeholders

  • Clearly the ten local authorities are expected to drive this Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region forward on the ground.  Equally clearly, responsibility for any failure in this regard will be assigned to them.
  • This is largely unjust.  Local authorities are hamstrung without increased resources.  As an example, Cork County Council has constructed 11 state of the art civic amenity sites around the county.  Several years ago, the County Council could not sustain their running and introduced increased gate fees including the imposition of a charge on recycling.  This correlated with an increase in dumping.   It is now so expensive to dump a mattress at a civic amenity site in County Cork that it is little wonder so many are found in ditches and inside farm gates.  Consequently a significant percentage of Cork County Council’s annual environmental is spent on street cleaning.  This year, despite the gate fees, Cork County Council finds it still cannot sustain the cost of running the civic amenity sites and is now reducing opening hours for those in more rural areas.  These are the very areas which are frequently not served by kerbside collectors.  This reduction in availability of civic amenity sites will of course further increase the dumping problem.  Again, the amount of clean-up the County Council can do is limited.  South Cork, with a population of over 211,000, has but one litter warden.  Courtesy of the government’s ongoing recruitment embargo, no further appointments can be made.  The government must commit to delivering policy, practicality and finance in supporting the waste management activities of local authorities.  In this regard, the government is as large a stakeholder in this Waste Management Plan as are the local authorities.
  • The Plan’s aim towards improved communication between the local authorities is welcome, particularly with regard to co-ordinating resources, information and the establishment of facilities.
  • The Plan’s aim for local authorities to provide improved guidance on siting waste management facilities is also welcome.  This is ideally achieved through the County Development Plan.  Cork County Council most recently attempted to do this in the drafting of its County Development Plan 2014 when it directed large waste management facilities to Strategic Employment Areas.  The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government took exception to this, saying that Cork County Council was creating an unfair bias against incineration.  He issued a Section 31 Direction to revoke the relevant section of the County Development Plan and to replace it with his own wording which singled out incineration for favour.  The Minister clearly failed to understand the intent of the objectives of the County Development Plan and attempted to undermine Cork County Council’s attempt to provide improved guidance on siting.  Education of the Minister is imperative if this aim of the Regional Waste Management Plan is to be achieved.
  • The Plan suggests that local authorities should address the growing trend to export residual waste?  Permitted or registered waste facilities are obliged to identify the destination of wastes they handle but it is not within the power of the local authority to instruct where those residual wastes should go.  The transfrontier shipment office ensures that the export of waste is responsible and documented.  Deciding whether waste should or should not go abroad is a commercial decision that could potentially affect the viability of the operator and is well outside the remit of local authorities.


The Southern Region’s solid waste stream arises largely from household, commercial, industrial and agricultural sources.  Yet this draft Plan sets targets only for household and municipal waste.  Where are the quantifications and targets for wastes from other sources?  I asked Ms Phillipa King in the Council Chamber whether wastes from industrial sources were addressed in the draft Plan.  I was advised that they were not, because industrial wastes were largely looked after by the EPA.

If there is no co-ordination between the SRWMO and the EPA on industrial waste arisings, their trends and management then the SRWMO and the EPA are replicating the type of individualistic behavior exhibited by local authorities with regard to waste planning over the past decades.  Industrial waste is a significant proportion of the Region’s overall waste stream and it is imperative that it would be addressed in this Waste Management Plan.

Of course solid wastes are only a diminutive percentage of overall waste arisings in the Region.  Sludge waste arisings from wastewater treatment and agricultural slurries are mentioned in the Plan but are clearly not its focus.  But this document describes itself as being a Waste Management Plan.  It is not a Solid Waste Management Plan, nor a Municipal Solid Waste Management Plan.  If it is what its title claims, then it must address all waste arisings in the Region with equal intent: their quantification, current management methodologies and it must develop policies for their responsible handling and, where necessary, treatment.

As this Plan is clearly driven from central government and its higher echelon appointees, I do not expect my comments to be given more than cursory attention.  However, I should be grateful if even some were taken on board.

Yours faithfully,
Marcia D’Alton. 

My submission to the Section 31 Draft Direction on the Cork County Development Plan 2014

The Senior Planner,
Planning Policy Unit,
Cork County Council,
Floor 13,
County Hall,

27th January, 2014.

RE:  Cork County Development Plan 2014, Section 31 Draft Direction

Dear Sir/Madam,

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Co-Ordination of Construction 2020 has issued notice of his intent to instruct Cork County Council to amend Objective ZU 3-7 of the County Development Plan 2014.  He has outlined the text of the Objective which is to be deleted and dictated the alternative text which is to be inserted in its stead.

I am dismayed by the Minister’s proposed action.  The content of his communication of 22nd December 2014 to Cork County Council is indicative to me of an undermining of the local Development Plan process, a deliberate attempt to impede local democracy and a failure to understand both European and national waste policy.


Section 31 Draft Direction is in contravention of:

  • Article 11(2) and Article 12 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000
  • Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention

Chapter I of the Planning and Development Act 2000 sets out the requirement of every local authority to make a Development Plan.  The legislative requirements were further clarified by guidelines published by the then Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government under Section 28 of the Act.

These guidelines emphasise how the Development Plan is intended to provide the strategic framework and policy context for the sustainable development of land in the interests of the common good.

Public consultation and local involvement is a critical element in deciding how this strategic framework can reflect those interests.  Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention provides for public participation in plan and policy making.  Ireland is a signatory to the Aarhus Convention since 2012.  The requirement of the Aarhus Convention in this regard is reflected in Article 11(2) of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

This statutory requirement has been responded to fully in the making of the Cork County Development Plan 2014.  In its draft form, the Plan went through three rounds of public consultation over a period of two years.  All views of interested parties were analysed, evaluated, balanced and, where possible, taken on board.

The Section 28 guidelines are utterly clear in clarifying the role of elected members in the making of a County Development Plan:

Members must have an active and driving role in the entire process, from its inception to its finalisation. They must listen to and take account of the views and wishes of the communities they represent.”

They further emphasise that this involvement of the public and the elected members is critical for the Plan’s effective implementation.  The UN’s Implementation Guide on the Aarhus Convention similarly acknowledges that public involvement in the making of any plan is key to that plan’s success:

All good public authorities take advantage of the interest and the energy of the public. As decisions become increasingly complex, this factor becomes less a matter of good practice and more a matter of urgency.”

Any decision relating to the siting of a large waste management facility is a complex one.  Cork County Council has, in consultation with the public and elected members and as expressed in its County Development Plan, given guidance on where such large waste management facilities should and should not be sited.  The Minister’s Draft Direction proposes to dismiss the two years of public involvement which has culminated in that guidance.  Therefore the Draft Direction is entirely in contravention of both Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention and Articles 11 and 12 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.


Section 31 Draft Direction is unnecessary:  County Development Plan 2014 is not in contravention of national waste policy

The Minister claims that the Draft Direction is necessary because Objective ZU 3-7 of the County Development Plan 2014 by prohibiting incineration through energy recovery is in contravention of national waste policy.  I believe the Minister to be entirely incorrect.

The purpose of Objective ZU 3-7 is not to restrict any kind of waste management type but to advise on where it should be sited.  Objective ZU 3-7 (b) advises that industrial areas zoned for small to medium sized industry, warehousing or distribution can generally be considered for the siting of waste management facilities.  But it qualifies that these areas are not considered suitable for either contract incineration or landfill.  On the other hand, Objective ZU 3-7 (c) clarifies that all large scale waste management facilities may be considered for siting in Strategic Employment Areas.  Note that there are five such areas in Cork.

That this is not any attempt to slight incineration whether with or without energy recovery is clear from many other references within the County Development Plan.  Firstly, Objective ZU 3-7 (c) is consistent with Paragraph 6.4.11 which states that:

the provision of strategic large scale waste treatment facilities will be considered in ‘Industrial Areas’ designated as Strategic Employment Areas in the local area plans …”

and with Paragraph 11.7.4 which again repeats:

It should be noted that the provision of strategic large scale waste treatment facilities will be considered in ‘Industrial Areas’ designated as Strategic Employment Areas.”

Secondly, Paragraph 6.4.12 identifies the Bottlehill Landfill Facility as offering particular potential for a “specialised role in the area of integrated waste management and waste to energy”.  In other words, waste to energy is identified and welcomed to a site that may be considered suitable.

Thirdly, Objective ED 4-3 provides explicit support for the development of bioenergy within County Cork during the lifetime of the Plan.  The term bioenergy embraces waste to energy within the R1 category.

National waste policy is as outlined in the government’s 2012 policy document, A Resource Opportunity.  Quite contrary to the Minister’s claim, the County Development Plan 2014 in fact provides clear support for this policy.  Paragraph 11.7.1 specifically identifies the policy, clarifies its intent and observing that the policy will be delivered through “mandatory regional waste management plans”.

Then Objective WS 7-1 has as an explicit aim to:

Support the policy measures and actions outlined in ‘A Resource Opportunity’ 2012 – National Waste Policy”.

It is difficult to see how such stated support could be regarded as a contravention.

The draft Regional Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region also recognises that the siting of waste facilities is critical to ensuring that their impact can be minimised, managed and mitigated.  It includes broad siting criteria but advises that they provide only minimum guidance.  This is a clear suggestion that greater guidance may be provided at local level if it is regarded as appropriate.

The Section 28 Development Plan Guidelines advise that while development plans should take relevant national and regional policies on board, this should also work in reverse: good development plans should inform policies at regional and national level.  In my opinion, that qualifies the Cork County Development Plan 2014 as being a good development plan.  It has taken national and regional waste policy on board, acknowledged its support for both and identified broad county-level policies for guidance on siting waste management facilities.  Even whilst identifying these county-level policies on siting, Objective ZU 3-7 (c)  defers to the requirements of national policy and future Regional Waste Management Plans.

Frankly, for the Minister to claim that ZU 3-7 as drafted runs counter to government policy is quite extraordinary in the context of the above.  His suggestion that it prohibits energy recovery through incineration is totally misplaced and indicates that he has not read the many other constructive references to waste to energy within the Plan.  Furthermore, it intimates that the Minister is not clear in his understanding of the function of a development plan, i.e. the adoption of national and regional policy into county policy and its adaptation into a strategic framework for sustainable land use within the county as desired and agreed by the people of the county.


Section 31 Draft Direction is itself in contravention of national waste policy

National waste policy as outlined in A Resource Opportunity is clear: recovery is fourth in priority in the waste hierarchy.  A Resource Opportunity helpfully defines recovery as being:

any operation the principal result of which is waste serving a useful purpose by replacing other materials which would otherwise have been used to fulfil a particular function …”.

The key phrase here is any operation.

There are many, many technologies capable of being considered as “large scale waste treatment facilities”.  Centralised biogas is a direct aim of the draft Regional Waste Management Plan for the Southern Region.  In-vessel composting is used successfully all over the world.  Both are classified within the recycling category in the waste hierarchy and are therefore regarded more favourably than recovery.  What about pyrolysis which produces oil, gas and carbon?

ZU 3-7 (c) as currently drafted indicates that all large-scale waste management facilities, regardless of type, may be considered within Strategic Employment Areas.  It therefore accurately reflects the gamut of waste treatment types referred to in A Resource Opportunity, whether from the recovery category or any category further up the waste hierarchy.

It is extraordinary that the Minister, whilst advising against “determination in favour of or against any particular process or technology”, proposes to instruct that ZU 3-7 (c) must be amended to specifically mention waste to energy recovery facilities.  This directly contravenes his own instruction in relation to “infrastructural diversification” deploying a “variety of technologies” across a “network of facilities”.

Furthermore, whilst he chides Cork County Council for what he perceives to be its failure to comply with the waste hierarchy by restricting incineration, he then proposes to instruct that ZU 3-7 should be amended such that it would favourably single out incineration with energy recovery over so many other technologies further up the waste hierarchy.

Whilst I can see no evidence whatsoever that the County Development Plan 2014 is in contravention of the waste hierarchy as adopted by national waste policy, I can see clearly that the Minister’s Draft Direction is anti-competitive and unsustainable in its content and not reflective of either EU or national waste policy.


Public consultation procedure associated with the Section 31 Draft Direction is in contravention of Aarhus Convention

Why did the Minister invite public comment on this Draft Direction?

Was it simply to comply with the requirements of Section 31 (6)?

The measures proposed under the Draft Direction as outlined by the Minister in his communication of 22nd December 2014 clearly state that the County Development Plan is to be amended as set out in the Draft Direction.  If the Minister is intent on amending the Cork County Development Plan 2014, what possibly can be the purpose of this public consultation other than to give lip service to a legislative requirement?

The UN’s Implementation Guide on the Aarhus Convention advises that, at a minimum, public participation requires effective notice, adequate information, proper procedures and appropriate taking account of the outcome of public participation.  The public consultation on this Draft Direction fails in all these respects.  It allows a woefully inadequate response time of two weeks.  It has been published in language which is well beyond the understanding of the public generally.  One frustrated comment on a local publication’s Facebook page read: “Can anyone explain this in further detail and in plain English”.  And at the outset, before the public consultation is even open, the Minister has made it quite clear that the opinion of the public is irrelevant anyway; the provisions of the Draft Direction will come into effect when the Section 31 procedure has been completed.

This is not public participation.  Again, UN guidance on the Aarhus Convention explains that public participation requires more than simply following a set of procedures.  It involves “public authorities genuinely listening to the public and being open to the possibility of being influenced by it … the public input should be capable of having a tangible influence on the actual content of the decision”.

This Section 31 procedure is in clear contravention of the requirements of Aarhus and derogatory of the opinions of the public.



I respectfully request that the Chief Executive would reflect my abject rejection of the Minister’s proposed Draft Direction to the Cork County Development Plan 2014 and my genuine horror at his failure to understand the purpose of the specific objectives of the County Development Plan, his evidenced failure to read the County Development Plan in entirety, his consequent proposal to force the introduction of text which would introduce inconsistencies in the Plan, his instruction to favour a recovery technology over a technology further up the waste hierarchy, his consequent proposed direction to contravene national waste policy, his utter disregard for public consultation as required by the Aarhus Convention, his clear demonstration of lack of faith in both the executive and elected members of Cork County Council and his consequent attempted undermining of the development plan process through which the executive, elected members and public have collaborated and co-operated over the past two years.

Local government, local strategic planning and waste management in Ireland deserve better than this.


Yours faithfully,

Marcia D’Alton.