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.