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.
[c] STATUTORY BUSINESS
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.
[d] REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF OFFICERS
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
[g] VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS
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.