[a] CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES
[b] VOTES OF SYMPATHY
[c] STATUTORY BUSINESS
- Disposal of Property – Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001:
(a). Disposal of No.’s 2,4,5,7,8,9,10,13,15,16,17,20,23 & 24 Ard an Chuilinn, Knockbrogan, Bandon, Co. Cork
(b). Disposal of No.’s 8 Bridgetown Crescent, 17 Bridgetown Drive, 13 & 24 Forest Walk, 3,6,7,12,& 19 Bridgetown Mews, 3,5,17 & 19 Bridgetown Court, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork.
(c). Disposal of . No.’s 1, 9, 10, 16, 20, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31, 43, 45, 46 Cherry Orchard & No.’s 50, 51, 52 Copperhill, Broomfield, Midleton, Co. Cork.
(d). Disposal of No.’s 2, 5, 8, 17, 26 & 35 The Sycamores, Dun an Oir, Kanturk, Co. Cork
(e). Disposal of No.’s 3 & 7 The Avenue, 3, 8, 18, 19, 24 & 25 The Close, 41 & 43 The Court, Harbour Heights, Passage West, Co. Cork.
(f). Disposal of No.’s 3 Park Avenue North, 4 Park Avenue East, 17 Park Avenue East & 2 East Avenue, Lios Rua, Ballyvolane, Co. Cork.
(g). Disposal of No.’s 29 Highfields, 16, 20, 21, 23, 24, 28, 33, 34, 36 The Mall, 34, 38, 44, 112 Welwyn Road, Maryborough Woods, Douglas, Co. Cork.
(h). Disposal of No. 30 Orchard Heights, Charleville, Co. Cork.
(i). Disposal of No.’s 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 44, 45, 46 & 47 Stag Park Avenue, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork.
(j). Disposal of No.’s 4, 5, 15, 16, 17, 22 & 25 An Faill, Cul Ard, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork.
(k). Disposal of No.’s 110, 117 & 119 Ashmount Court, Mayfield, Co. Cork.
(l). Disposal of. No.’s 61, 64, 80 & 84 Oak Drive, Brindle Hill, Charleville, Co. Cork.
(m). Disposal of, No.’s 9 & 16 The Orchard, Clancy Terrace, Charleville, Co. Cork.
(n). Disposal of No.’s 41, 47 & 49 The Maples, No’s 43 & 49 Elm Grove, Gort an Oir, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork.
(o). Disposal of No.’s 1, 2, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 19, 25, 27 & 41 The Drive, Inis Alainn, Cobh, Co. Cork.
(p). Disposal of No.’s 74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 85, 92, 94, 100, 102 & 104 The Oaks, Maryborough Ridge, Douglas, Co. Cork.
(q). Disposal of No.’s 52, 53, 55, 57, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65 & 67 Na Banta, Ladysbridge, Co. Cork.
(r). Disposal of No.’s 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24 & 26 Ros na Choille, Castleredmond, Midleton, Co. Cork.
(s). Disposal of No.’s 124, 126, 127, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 159, 160, 161, 162, 164, 165, 166, 167, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187 & 188 The Quadrants, Ballincollig, Co. Cork.
(t). Disposal of No.’s 66, 67, 68 & 69 Ashling Geal, Lios na Ri, Charleville, Co. Cork.
(u). Amendment to Disposal of Cottage at Milleenduff, Rockchapel, Co. Cork by the substitution of Niall O’Callahgan in lieu of Denis O’Callaghan, being the person to whom the property is to be disposed.
(v). Disposal of site at Brookpark, Underhill, Dunmanway, Co. Cork measuring c 0.59 hectares/ c.1.46 acres.
- 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 James Fogarty as a replacement representative for Cork County Council on the North Cork LCDC. The previous nominee (Mr. Tom Stritch) is hereby de-selected.
Filling of casual vacancy on the West Cork Local Community Development Committee
A casual vacancy has arisen on the West 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 Ms. Clodagh Henehan as a replacement representative for Cork County Council on the West Cork LCDC. The previous nominee (Mr. James Fogarty) is hereby de-selected.
- Special Speed Limits in Housing Estates:
That the County of Cork Road Traffic Special Speed Limits (Housing Estates) Bye Laws 2015 be made and shall come into effect on the 28th day of September 2015.
Report available here: Bye Laws
[d] REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEES
2016 Centenary Committee:
The 1916 Cork County Council Programme of Events for 2016 for the approval of Council.
Copy of programme available here: Programme of Events 1916
[e] CORRESPONDENCE FROM GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS
- Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Letter dated 8th July, 2015 in response to Council’s motion of 8th June, 2015, regarding continued investment in education, research and development and the provision of broadband across the State.
Investment in Education
- Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government:
Letter dated 14th July, 2015, in response to Council’s motion of 8th June, 2015, regarding the qualifying criteria for applicants applying for the Housing for Older People Grant.
Housing Aid for Older People Grant
- Department of Social Protection:
Letter dated 21st July 2015, in response to Council’s motion of 13th July, 2015, regarding State Job activation measures be available to all who are unemployed and not only those on the Live Register.
Measures for the Unemployed
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Not satisfied with the response from the Department. This is a stock response. Those who are unemployed and not on the Live Register have had letters from Intreo and FAS before that saying they are not eligible for their training courses. The Springboard Course website specifically says that providers will be required to give priority to applications from people who are long term unemployed. The letter hasn’t addressed the inequality arising Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. Again, the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance website says that those who are eligible for the grant are those who are setting up a business which has been approved by the DSP or those who are in receipt of Jobseekers and other support payments from the DSP. Crucially, the letter hasn’t addressed at all the issue of the JobsPlus initiative. To qualify for Jobsplus, you must be in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment for 12 months. Otherwise you are not eligible. An employer who wants to fill a position will be paid €7,500 over a two year period if they employ a person who is in receipt of Jobseekers Payment. The employer will be paid a higher Incentive of €10,000 if they employ a person who is getting Jobseekers payments for at least 24 months.
Cllr K McCarthy (Ind): Neither does the letter address the issue of people who are coming home from abroad and who haven’t been in the system for the last 18 months. Spoke of someone from Scandanavia who was to get a job and was then refused because he wasn’t on JobsPlus.
Agreed that we would write back to the Department and seek clarification on these issues.
- Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government:
Letter dated 22nd July 2015, in response to Council’s motion of 8th June 2015 regarding the reactivating Affordable Housing Scheme.
Cllr McGrath is not happy with this.
- Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government:
Letter dated 31st July, 2015 in respect to Council’s motion of 13th July, 2015, regarding the Seniors Alert Scheme.
Senior Alert Scheme
Cllr Hurley is not happy but the response is noted.
- Department of Social Protection:
Letter dated 10th August, 2015, in respect to Council’s motion of 13th July, 2015, regarding the immediate start to a rural and urban work scheme.
Rural & Urban Work Scheme
[h] NOTICES OF MOTION
- Councillor Des O’Grady:
“To seek a written report on the inspection programme carried out by Cork County Council on the private rented sector in 2014. The report to contain the number of inspections carried out, the number of dwellings inspected, and the number of dwellings inspected that failed to meet standards. The report to also contain the amount of Government Payments made to Cork County Council for carrying out inspections in 2014.”
Cllr O’Grady (SF): 729 private rented dwellings were inspected last year. 600-odd of these failed. That’s a 93% failure rate. More failed again on their second inspection. Not hotels we are looking for. The failure rate is increasing and houses are failing on the basics. Have seen houses failing for leaking roofs, no insulation, broken piping. In one case an energy company refused to install a pay as you go electricity metre because the house wiring was not good enough. The Council inspectors are diligent but are losing ground because of the staff embargo. The loss in funding for inspections from the Department went from €319k in 2010 to €82k in 2014. At the current rate of inspection it will take 50 years to inspect the rest of private rented acommodation. In the meantime, the government is pouring money into the private rented sector, often to landlords whose houses do not meet standards. The government model is to make more companies dependent on the private rented sector. This is based on the Fianna Fail model. The HAP scheme is a case in point. It takes over 8 months for an inspection to be casrried out on a HAP house even though the government may be paying public money for an inadequate house. Large scale construction and purchase of social housing is the only way forward, not subsidisation of the private rental sector. Asks that a proper inspection programme be put in place and that strong action be taken against landlords who do not comply with the inspection programme. Action as, for example, refusing to allow them to take tenants from government schemes again.
Agreed that we will write to the Minister.
- Councillor Paul Hayes:
“I call on the Council executive to immediately initiate the Public Lighting instalment scheme as allowed for in this year’s budget. Each Municipal District or Division should be directed to provide their list of priority public lighting projects so that these works can commence without further delay and be completed before late Autumn/early Winter’s dark evenings.”
Cllr Hayes (SF): We allocated an extra €400k in last year’s budget to be made available for new additional lighting in certain locations. This was to have been progressed through the Municipal Districts. We have had no public lighting scheme in the county for over 5 years. Very difficult especially at the outskirts of towns and villages. Wondering where we are at with rolling out the projects?
CE: Details should be available at Municipal District level. We have been having meetings with Airtricity for projects that need capital works. There is no slowness. We have to work with the system and the engineers will get to it. We are upgrading to LED lights in some places. There is a 12 week lead period between ordering and delivering these.
- Councillor Noel Collins:
“That this Council call on the Minister for the Environment & Local Government to introduce the necessary legislation to help eliminate the surge in the number renting and disputes between landlords and tenants, resulting in evictions and financial hardship for many families.”
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Very serious housing crisis in the East Cork region resulting from the scarcity of social housing and rental accommodation becoming available only to the rich. Many landlords are not accepting rent supplement and shoo tenants out saying the property is for sale. Once the property is vacated, the property is relet at a higher rent. The decision to leave RAS limits unchallenged is causing homelessness and will continue unless the limits are raised. Disputes between landlords and tenants have risen 15% year on year. Almost 6100 disputes were dealt with by the PRTB last year as rents rise amid the crisis. Most difficulties relate to tenants being given inadequate notice to quit. Disputes over deposits and non-payment of rent are also issues. 185 cases involved rent hikes beyond market norms. Rents have fallen all over the country except in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Families are unable to meet the exorbitant increase in rent in so many cases. The Minister must act to protect families from these rent racketeers.
Agreed that we will write to the Minister.
- Councillor Pat Buckley:
“This Council calls on the Minister for Environment Community and Local Government, and the Government to give a guarantee that Irish water will not be privatised , nor that Irish Water will be broken up in to separate entities to be privatised in future.”
Cllr Buckley (SF): Has recently been bombarded by people both on housing lists, tenants of Cork County Council and others who are asking whether Irish Water will be privatised. People have asked me who is working for who. The new tenancy letting agreement in Cork County Council threw up a red flag. To pay all gas and electricity and other charges whether metered or billed … (p6). Also p 15 – the tenant must not erect or display any posters, signs, etc. without prior written consent from the council. The tenants want to know who is pulling the strings.
Cllr K McCarthy (Ind): The only way for this is to have a referendum for people to decide themselves whether they want Irish Water to be privatised. People should be entitled to display what they want on their homes in a democracy.
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Privatisation is a curse in this country. The natives are fast becoming a trespassers in their own country. Supports the motion.
CE: Reference was made to the housing tenancy agreement. This has nothing to do with Irish Water and the charges. It is standard tenancy legislation.
Agreed that we will write to the Minister.
Cllr Buckley (SF): There have been different tenancy agreements where this was never referred to. Are new tenants going to be treated differently to those who went before?
CE: All our tenancy agreements have something to say in relation to all outgoings should being paid. They also have a clause in relation to postering.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Have there been recent changes to the tenancy agreement? Because it should have come through the housing SPC if there were.
CE: Will clarify.
Cllr Harris (Ind): Has looked at a lot of letting agreements as a former auctioneer and have never seen clauses like this in a letting agreement.
- Councillor Rachel McCarthy:
“This Council calls on the Government to fully restore the Respite Care Grant in the forthcoming budget.”
Cllr McCarthy (SF): Carers are the unsung heros in our community. Their care is worth €4.5-5 billion each year to the State. Calling for the government to fully restore the grant to give them a break in their role.
We will write to the department.
- Councillor Ian Doyle:
“Now that the N20 bypass has been put on hold, that Cork County Council, in conjunction with the NRA, would look into the possibility of providing underpasses for the three County Cork farmers crossing this road on a daily basis.”
- Councillor Seamus McGrath:
“This Council strongly urges the Government to immediately accept applications under the ‘Strategic Regional & Local Roads Grants’ and that funding allocations would be made under this grant heading in the next round of funding from The Department of Transport. ”
Cllr McGrath (FF): Many roads projects have been held up because this fund has not been availed of by government. Examples in his own Municipal District are the Carrigaline Relief Road – CPOs virtually complete but funding needed to build, the Lehenaghbeg/Lehanaghmore upgrade – consultants working on the design, Curraheen – in the pipeline for a long time. We need to ask the Minister to open this scheme again and stop overlooking it when funding for roads is being sought.
Seconded by Cllr N O’Donovan (FG) who says he knows the government is providing good funding but there are some corners, etc. in West Cork which this funding stream would be very useful in ironing out.
We will write to the Department about this.
- Councillor Kevin O’Keeffe:
“That a report be given to this Council in relation to the current status of the Casual Trading Bye-Laws in the County at large.”
Council report: Response to KO’Keeffe’s motion on casual trading
Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): Businesses who are paying rates are getting angry that casual traders are springing up everywhere. Wants clarity on where the trading bye-laws are at.
Cllr K Dawson (FG): Seconds the motion. It is actually dangerous in the square in Mitchelstown now because of the traders.
This motion to be taken with the next one.
- Councillor Marcia D’Alton:
“That Cork County Council would encourage all roadside traders to observe the requirements of SI 191 of 2004 with regard to the selling of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries, loganberries, tayberries, currants and new potatoes during May to September inclusive. Equally, that Cork County Council would encourage the selling of a greater range of fruit and vegetable produce than those specified in the Regulations in designated market areas and in accordance with a Casual Trading Licence. All opportunities for genuine growers to maximise the sale of their produce are welcome insofar as they do not place rate-paying shopkeepers at unfair disadvantage.”
Text of my motion posted separately.
Cllr Canty (FG): Seconds the motion. This has been debated over and over again in the Chamber. Was always kicked to touch heretofore because of Bantry. We have country markets on a Wednesday in Ballincollig. On a Friday, we have other traders coming into Ballincollig. Although they have been coming forever, it is becoming an issue now because colliding with disabled parking. These traders are just coming out with their own produce. But agrees that there are too many on the side of the road. Thinks it needs to be taken up at national level.
Cllr Mullane (SF): What are the trading rights in Mallow at the moment? They belong to a private company but it will become an issue coming up to Christmas with those who are paying rates.
Cllr Hayes (SF): Lots of work done on this in West Cork over the last while. It was badly needed that there were rules and regulations put on the casual trading. Welcomes farmers markets, etc. and brings people to town but we do need to find the right balance between those who are paying their rates all year round. The bye-laws will be welcomed.
Cllr Conway (Ind): We have no clarity, no regulation or control of casual trading of any kind. Also in support of farmers markets. In Blarney now, there are traders on every corner and there is a problem with people who pay taxes and rates in their own premises. Agrees that we need the issue addressed now before legislation is developed. There are so many aspects involved in it.
Cllr Sheppard (FG): Supports. Welcomes the bye-laws across the county but in Cobh, they are dealingwith issues of traders that are selling more than is exempted under the Act. In Glanmire alone, a greengrocer has a van parked outside his shop selling produce who is paying no rates. How do we police this? We need to look at this before we draft the bye-laws.
Cllr Lombard (FG): Implementation is the important thing. Who will police the bye-laws? Presumes the districts will take responsibility. Need to decide who will trade where. The districts have to be proactive in this. We need to look at a staffing proposal too.
Cllr Cullinane (Ind): Supports. MacDara has been in Cobh and she can see the work that has been done. Cobh is hugely busy with traders when liners are in. Have to lift the embargo on staff because there is no point in having the bye-laws if we cannot police correctly.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): Concerned about the pace at which these bye-laws are being passed. The Bantry resolution has been in for some time and we still don’t have bye-laws. Designated areas are very important. Traffic warden in each town needs to be involved. It does need a lot of policing.
Mayor: Clarifies that the Bantry resolution is only very recently in place.
Cllr Collins (FG): Supports. Understands that we will have the draft bye-laws come to each Municipal District. If we want to trade, we will have to go to specialised areas. Have issues to H&S, signage, hygiene. Before we introduce the bye-laws, clarity needs to be got on whether we can prohibit roadside selling and put these people into areas that are designated.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): No matter what bye-laws we bring in it does not cover the sale of locally produced produce. Fish, berries, etc. can be sold outside of the bye-laws. If there is going to be a change from that point of view, there needs national legislation.
CE: Purpose of the motion is to raise awareness. Staff members are to bring this to the Municipal District meetings for October. We can have detailed consultation then. Comments will be taken on board in finalising the draft bye laws.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): No matter what bye-laws we introduce, they will not cover the sale of agricultural produce. We don’t want to give out the idea that sale on the side of the road will stop.
Cllr O’Keeffe: We just want a level playing pitch.
Cllr D’Alton: Thanks all for comments and reinforces that the motion is to initiate discussion on the issue before the bye-laws come before us. Welcomes that the bye-laws will come to Municipal District level.
- Councillor Mary Linehan Foley
“Calling on Cork Co Council to appoint a liaison / housing Officer to each municipal District , as I feel that Local Knowledge is Paramount in the Distribution of Social Housing in each area.”
Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind): Feels with the Town Councils having been abolished, the local areas know their local areas inside out. Not saying Cork County Council isn’t doing their job properly but does think that it would work better if they had more local knowledge when distributing social housing. Youghal is hilly, so lots of transfers from up the hill down for medical needs. Sometimes people are on lists for so long that maybe they’re not looked into before houses are distributed. Has seen some cases in the last 12 months that makes her think that Cork County Council isn’t aware how poorly matched the tenants are to the houses. Aware of financial constraints and the embargo. In her Municipal District area, there are girls working in an office who would be very happy to work with Cork County Council in this way.
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Seconds the motion.
Cllr K Murphy (FG) agrees also.
CE: We have housing officers who have been working in the area for many years and who have built up local knowledge which does drill down to the Municipal District. There isn’t a question of being able to appoint new staff in the districts but hears what the members are saying in relation to engagement. Cllr Murphy would like to see letting addressed and encourages that this would be raised at an SPC.
Cllr Linehan-Foley: Not saying it is not working, not hitting on anyone. But unfortunately has seen in the last 18 months that allocations do not always work. In certain estates in certain areas, things change. Sometimes people who have been on the housing list for 7 – 8 years, kids have grown up, things change. Our lists are so long and we have so few houses to give out, it has to be paramount that tenants get the houses that meet their needs.
CE: Housing letting scheme allocates the houses. We assess people based on their needs. If they have medical or social needs that is taken into account. Doesn’t want this local thing to get too important. The housing officers have reasonable knowledge of what is happening on the ground.
- Councillor Deirdre Forde:
“The CE give a written comprehensive report on why the Roundabout entrance to Maryborough Ridge Maryborough Hill has not yet been commissioned. What is the current status of the planning, the date of the original planning for this site, outline any discussions between Nama or its agents in relation to the current situation, and any potential School site, or through road. Further clarify which agency has recently carried out investigations on the site and on whose behalf.”
Cllr Forde absent.
- Councillor Michael Collins:
“I call on the Minister and the Department of Agriculture to immediately stop the spraying regulations to be implemented by the 25th November from going ahead. These new regulations are way over the top where we will be seeing ordinary householders and farmers having to do courses to spray their driveway or a small field of potatoes.”
Cllr Collins (Ind): The new regulations bring health and safety to a crazy new level. It costs €250 per course. They are just a money racket. A farmer who takes FETAC level 5 course for a tractor sprayer still has to do a course to use a knapsack sprayer. This is over-regulation in the extreme. Asks that we ask the Minister to exempt those who have been using sprayers for years.
Cllr Conway (Ind): Seconds. Wants to know what the regulations are based on. Fully supports the motion. Now the limitation on the buying of sprays is going to push up the price to a huge price which there is no need for if there is no evidence there. Common sense has to prevail. To put common sense into a regulation will not work.
Cllr T Collins (Ind): For years people have been spraying and the only thing that is being damaged are the weeds that are being sprayed. Bluestone washing soda is completely harmless. Does this come under the regulations as well? Anyone who wants to spray a bit of grass around their yard cannot go into a shop without first doing a course. Crazy, moneymaking racket.
Cllr Carroll (FF): Health and safety in this country is over-regulated. It is going a long way towards breaking this country. 40% of the money for West Cork is being lost in health and safety – engineer in W Cork said this. There must be a line drawn somewhere. People are making fortunes out of this. We have to go further than the spraying. These Ministers have a licence to do what they like. Supports the motion.
Cllr Barry (FG): Has been using pesticides since 1975. Has seen huge changes since then. Ireland has a very proud record of green foods and we hve to protect this. As many as 14,000 people are already qualified under FETAC level 5 to use these sprays. Doesn’t think that it will apply to those spraying their back gardens. Appreciates that those who may have large gardens may find it difficult to qualify. Understands that it affects professional growers only. These pesticides have a huge impact on human health and the environment. We have to achieve balance.
Cllr Harris (Ind): Doesn’t spray much except deodorant. The thrust is the regulation and the health and safety aspect. Far more important is the chronic lack of housing and the Central Bank. We are regulating things we have no need to regulate and we don’t regulate things like our chronic housing problems. We need to focus on this.
Cllr T Collins (Ind): It is a fact that you cannot purchase the spray to do your paths, etc. wtihout producing a certificate.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): You can purchase a max of a litre of Roundup without certification.
Cllr M Collins (Ind): Feedback from the community is that they are very frustrated. It is common sense gone out the window. To have to do a knapsack sprayer course after doing a tractor spraying course is crazy. Minister is failing to protect the people of rural Ireland.
- Councillor Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire
“To ask whether the Department of Education has been in contact with Cork County Council, in connection with the forthcoming development of the new Cork Educate Together Secondary school, which the Department has indicated is intended to be located in the ‘Cork South Surburbs’ (within the functional area of Cork County Council), whether the Council can confirm whether they are aware through any discussions if there is any site identified, whether permanent or temporary, and whether the Council can make the school aware of whether this is the case, and if so if it is possible to make the School aware of such a location.”
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): The Minister identified a number of locations which were in need of new secondary schools. The South City suburbs is one of those locations. They were hoping to open enrolment in the new Educate Together secondary school this autumn but the fact that there isn’t any location either temporary or permanent means that it is very difficult to plan. Educate Together nationally are now wondering whether the school will go ahead at all. The Department is responsible for the funding and development of the school. But wonders whether the Department has had any discussions with the Council with regard to identifying a site? It might bring comfort to those who are waiting for the school.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Certainty is important for this project. There is also an issue in relation to the primary school in Rochestown. There is a complete lack of certainty in relation to the primary school’s ultimate location. Was an issue earlier in the year with planning permission.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Went to the open night for the school some months ago. Attended not merely because of interest in the project but also because wanted to enrol a child. Work has been ongoing on the ground on this for months. The enthusiasm of all those present was palpable. The room was packed out to the door. Questions were being asked on the night as to the location of the school but neither the national nor the local committee could answer. It is only fair to those who have put in so much work for so long that the location of the new school would be identified.
Cllr Collins (FG): Nationalities from 47 different countries are attending one school. Those parents of those children need certainty. There is also an issue of flooding on the existing site in Moneygourney. It is time the department settled on a site.
CE: There is an agreement in place where we act as agents for the Department to examine sites that may be suitable and negotiate on their behalf. It is a very effective relationship with the department. It is not our job to keep the school authorities informed. This is the Department’s job. Our relationship is with the Department.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Fair enough but the executive’s relationship is with the councillors. All we are looking for is “we are in discussion and we have identified a site”. Appreciate that there may be commercial issues involved. What might be the procedure from here on in? When will councillors be informed of a site identification?
CE: The local authority’s relationship is with the department. Recognises the representational role councillors are playing but cannot advise members in advance of any negotiation being concluded. We’re not hiding anything. It is the department’s job to make these communications, not the Council’s.
Cllr D’Alton: In view of the CE’s response, suggests that we write to the department and ask them these questions.
Agreed that we would do this.
- Councillor Declan Hurley.
“That this Council calls on the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphrey’s to finalise the Departments review of the hedge-cutting laws as a matter of urgency as the cutting season has now re-opened.”
Cllr Cllr Hurley (Ind): 188 submissions were lodged to the Department’s consultation. Any changes the Minister may put forward will require legislation but in the interim, Cork County Council is being taken to task for cutting dangerous crossroads in the nesting season. We need clarity to get the landowners to cut their hedges before the season closes next year.
Cllr Conway (Ind): Seconds and agrees. By the time the legislation is enacted we will be back to the restrictions again in February. We need clarity on this issue and we need to be able to enforce it. We need to be able to go to the landowner and say “this needs to be done by that day”.
Cllr Coleman (Ind): Supports. Welcomes the fact that the review has been undertaken. Fraught topic. Agrees with the proposal – we need clarity quickly. Hopes comes forward with practical solutions. As a local authority, we need to be able to cut our roads at appropriate times and we also need to be able to deal with junctions from a safety point of view.
Cllr Carroll (FF): Supports. Every year this discussion crops up. We want to put it to bed once and for all. This has to be implemented pretty fast. Council has an obligation where there is a safety issue at junctions. Wants to see them act on that.
Cllr Hayes (SF): Supports and wants clarity.
Cllr Barry (FG): Got it in the neck again recently about the Council not cutting hedges. The message that the landowner is responsible has not got out there.
Cllr Collins (FG): Buses carrying children on country roads have to go out in the middle of the road because of overhang. If the Council cannot force landowners to do this, then we are culpable also. Also need to get the message out there that cutting because of health and safety is not against the green agenda.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): What means do we have at our disposal to ensure that landowners should cut overhanging trees, etc?
Cllr Hurley (Ind): Have a roads and transport SPC in the afternoon. We need to get the message out to the landowners. It is happening up the country but not in Cork. There is an education process needed and the Council has to take the lead on that.
Cllr Collins (FG): Burning is something that must be completely stamped out. There must also be clarity on that.
Mayor: We clearly adopted a hedge cutting policy at the last meeting. It was approved by Council.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): We have responsibility as well to ensure that landowners are informed of their responsibility.
27. Councillor Frank O’Flynn.
“That Cork County Council give an up to date progress report and break down details on the implementation of the Social Housing Strategy 2020 for each division of Cork County, the breakdown for the regions in relation to number of houses offered, purchased, progress since the announcement of the strategy on the Voids Programme and the strategy going forward for the implementation of the Social Housing 2020 and the expected impact it will have on the Housing Waiting list and those who are homeless up to 2017, and how it will impact on families on the housing waiting list in Fermoy, Mitchelstown, Charleville and the surrounding areas.”
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): It is taking far too long for vacant houses to come back into the system. You are losing funds from rents. Turnaround should be much quicker. Too much red tape and health and safety. We looked for funding for 113 voids and were granted funding for 71. But the number of vacant housing out there is a disgrace. North Cork is as big as Limerick City and County together. Think we should send the entire lot back to the Minster and say that we want funding for the lot. On acquisition, how many families have been housed since this policy on purchase was initiated? On building, 157 planned in the county, 10 of which are in north cork is simply not good enough. Wants a report on this either month or bimonthly. Housing is a challenge. It is about homes and families.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Welcomes the detailed report we got and supports the motion. The failure in relation to dealing with the void issue is a disgrace. 42 units short in funding. We have now applied for 135 units. We’ll have to see how we do. How can we take the government seriously when they cannot allocate funding to do up houses that are empty? Minister Kelly over the last few weeks has been blaming the local authorities for the problem. This is passing the buck of the worst kind. He is responsible.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Supports. Thanks the Director of Service for the detailed report. Not the fault of the Council, but HAP is falling way short of its potential. 650 houses transferred. Very few as of April in the area around Metropolitan Cork. Caps are unrealistic and so it is not workable. At the last SPC meeting, I understood from the Director of Service, she did not think the Council would be pursuing public-private partnerships. Would have huge concerns in relation to the Council using this method of funding for housing. Represent very poor value for money and very rarely satisfy the needs of the community. Flags that within the South City environs, it is one of the biggest urban centres in the county. To put Douglas, Togher or Rochestown on a housing list, you could be waiting for an allocation forever. We need house acquisition there.
Cllr Desmond (FF): Can we have a breakdown on what current funding from Council is and what additional funding from the Minister to roll this out is? Hiring additional staff with the approval of the department is mentioned. This is one thing but is very anxious to know about the funding.
Cllr Doyle (FF): Vacancy and turn around is a major issue. The buoyancy of the market means that many people are on notice to quit so their properties can be sold. Many of these people are on rent allowance and this will be a major issue for the Council in due course.
CE: Well over 1000 units in capital works in various different stages of development. We want approval for funding for 135 extra voids. We are really pushing on these at the moment. Lots of work going on. We have to see from the Department how much of LPT we will get. €80m is allocated for Cork County and what is described in this report is a large part of that. We have moved on as fast as we can. We’ve gone ahead of national procurement programmes. We do need further approval from the Department to go further. We have no and in the South City but we did go to the market in relation to turnkey schemes. We got 20 or so proposals. Some of these are in the South City and we are discussing this with the Department at the moment. Some are in Douglas. We are also looking at acquisition in these areas also.
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): Could we have a more frequent report in relation to housing? Would we write to the Minister as a Council and ask him will he fund all 135 voids?
Cllr N O’Donovan: Suspension of standing orders to discuss flooding in West Cork.
Cllr Hurley: We cannot face into another winter this early, fearful that we don’t have resources or money. The patching on roads has already washed way. There is an incredible volume of silt in our flood water.
Cllr M Collins (Ind): Supports strongly. The Beara peninsula got a really severe beating. Roads were washed away from under us. Area engineer stood right out there in the middle of it trying to save people’s properties. Thanks. Worry and upset to people is dreadful. We need serious discussions with the Minister in relation to extra funding to alleviate this problem.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): We have to make provision for times during the year when we can expect huge volumes of water doing incredible damage. Drainage is a very serious issue. There has to be a level of drainage being done in each area every year to ensure that water that falls will not pond and do damage. Need emergency funding to ensure the repair works start immediately.
Cllr PG Murphy (FF): We spend lots of money on roads but we do not allocate funds to maintain them. Our climate has changed. The day of the soft drizzle is gone. We have to expect these things coming every so often. So whether it is the Department who needs to put a buffer fund in place for times like these, thinks we also need to put aside funds in our budget.
Cllr A Moynihan (FF): There is an OPW flood defence plan being advanced but all the volumes of paper that were in it would not have held back the flood of the last day. But we need walls and embankments. It hit again last Friday and very upsetting for many people. We need to make direct contact with the OPW to ensure that those flood defences are advanced.
Cllr Hayes (SF): We spoke about the drainage issue at the Western Committee meeting also. Much good money spent on road rehabilitation and now they are washed away. Have spoken with the Area Engineer about installing drainage at the same time as the road works are being done. But need money to remediate the effects of last week.
Cllr Carroll (FF): If we can get hold of emergency funding, we will have to look after the drainage. Drains in West Cork are blocked all over the place. Macroom – Dunmanway floods regularly. There will be a motion coming before the Council to seek funding to upgrade the road network.
Cllr Creed (FG): Recognises emergency funding is needed. Sympathises with people whose houses have been flooded. Ballingeary wasn’t as bad as before because of the river being cleaned. There was no flooding at all in Ballyvourney. Shows how effective river cleaning is for very small money.
Cllr O’Mahony (FF): Backs the call for the Minister to provide emergency funding to get the roads back up to working standard. Calls on the Minister to get the main drainage and flood relief schemes underway in Bandon and Skibbereen.
Cllr McCarthy (SF): Supports. In 2009 in Bandon, we were told the level of rainfall was unpredictable. Every year since the rainfall has got heavier if anything. We are still unprepared for this type of weather. Adds support to call for extra funding. We are in the largest county in the country. The raw materials that we use – tar, etc. – its down a day and is then washed out. Would the velocity patchers make things more permanent. We need to make sure that what we put down has staying power.
Cllr Coleman (Ind): Agrees there should be a national find for this type of work. We need a programme of maintaining our waterways because they are silting up. The emphasis on preserving the ecosystems in our waterways has gone out of balance. They need to take the water.
Mayor: Saw the amount of water first hand on Friday evening. Huge volumes of water. Sympathies go to all those who were affected.
CE: Extent of damage and likely cause. We are still at an early stage. On Friday, 85 mm of rain fell in 22 – 24 hours. Was on a par with the level of damage that was caused by storms in Feb 2014. Listed some of the areas damaged. Early estimate is that we will be looking at €2 – 3m worth of damage. Not taking into account any damage that took place in South or North Cork. SW Cork was probably one of the worst affected in the country. We most certainly will be making an application to the Department. County Council staff worked in very difficult conditions over the weekend. Also concerned that emergency repairs will impact on planned programme of works. Major challenge in this. We will be looking for flexibility to ensure that if planned works are not completed, we can keep the money into next year.
(5 FF in Chamber, 10 FG, 9 Ind, 6 SF, 1 Lab at this point.)
Cllr Cullinane: Suspension of standing orders to discuss Syrian refugees
Cllr Cullinane (Ind): Cannot even imagine the deprivation and fear that had to be endured by the people of Syria to put their families at risk looking for safety. Now that Germany is closing its borders, this could just be the beginning. The success of integrating these people into our country and culture rests on all of us. We are being contacted by media to ask how is Cork County Council is managing the refugees to County Cork. What sort of analysis have we done yet? There are 450 possession cases in court in Ireland today alone. Half of the funding will come from the EU, but where will the rest come from? The calculated figure is that the financial burden will be <€8person/capita if the load is spread.
Also asks for an update on the civic reception for our navy.
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Ireland has done more than its fair share when it comes to migrants. We cannot take an unlimited number. It is easy for politicians abroad to suggest Ireland should do more. What about Algeria, Morocco, US, etc.? We can hold our heads up high for all the contributions we have raised in the past. By all means, help out. But lets not forget the 95,000 families on housing lists living in overcrowded and atrocious conditions. Let us put our own house in order first.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Had always said that Ireland as a state could do more. The public solidarity has led to significant improvement in what the government is doing. There are approx. 2.1m refugees in Egypt and Lebanon. Gives an idea of the scale of the problem although true that Saudia Arabia and Libya could do much more. We don’t want to see a position where people are housed in direct provision for years after coming here.
Cllr Coleman (Ind): It is a bit galling that one of the countries which has caused this issue by interfering in North Africa is talking down to neutral Ireland but we do need to play our part.
CE: The County Council works with the Office for Promotion of Migrant Integration. Nearly 1,400 people have been resettled in this way. They are mostly the most vulnerable refugees from N Africa and middle Asia. This year, 100 were to come in and 50 were earmarked for Cork. This has clearly changed in the light of the events over the last few weeks. This is ongoing. OPMI leads this. Council’s main function is to source housing. There are a number of Departments involved in this to organise schooling, social welfare payments, community welfare services, department of health to ensure medical cards, etc. Families have been housed across the country over the years under that resettlement programme. As regards Syria, we are awaiting news from government as to what level of refugees will be housed, what role we are to play, etc. We again expect our primary role will be to secure housing.
Sean O’Callaghan : LE Samuel Beckett will be back in November and this is the best time to organise a civic reception.
[i] CORRESPONDENCE FROM OTHER BODIES
- Irish Water:
Letter dated 6th July, 2015, in response to Council’s letter of 25th June, 2015, regarding water issues in the Kildorrery Area.
- Health Service Executive:
Letter dated 9th July, 2015, in response to Council’s letter of 13th May, 2015, regarding Home Help Hours in the South Lee Area.
Both letters can be viewed here: Correspondence from other Bodies
[j] VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS
- VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS (if any)
Cllr O’Flynn (FF), Cllr Carroll (FF), Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind), Cllr Rachel McCarthy (SF), Cllr Michael Collins (Ind), Cllr D’Alton (Ind), Cllr M Murphy (SF), Cllr G Keohane (SF) and Cllr P Hayes (SF) all had votes of congratulation.
- ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Cllr Coleman: The Allihies community has entered the fibre to the home competition. Getting fibre to Allihies is a big deal. Is asking for support for them.
Cllr O’Grady: Asks that the development committee meeting would be deferred until the following Friday because of the Thomas Kent funeral.