[a] CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES
1. Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 13th October, 2014.
Agreed and seconded.
Tenders for Cork Harbour Maritime Heritage Project were opened.
[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) expressed sympathy for a recent bereavement.
[c] STATUTORY BUSINESS
3. Disposal of Property – Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001:
(a). Disposal of land at Barrett’s Hill, Ballinhassig, Co. Cork
(b). Amendment to Disposal of Land at Broomfield West, Midleton, Co. Cork, to the Department of Education & Skills, by the substitution of “2.2467 hectares/5.551 acres” in lieu of “c. 2.29 hectares/c. 5.66 acres”, being the area of said property and “€416,325 (€75,000 per acre)” in lieu of €424,500.00 (€75,000.00 per acre) being the consideration for said property.
Cllr R McCarthy (SF) asked about the Ballinhassig site. Is the money from its disposal ringfenced for a particular project?
SOC: Not really. If it is a social house, the money is ringfenced for housing purposes but otherwise the money goes into the general coffers of the Council. Would have to look up data on site in question.
Cllr Buckley (SF) asked about Midleton lands.
DCE: These lands have been in the Council’s possession for some time. They were intended for maybe the development of industrial units. They are now being sold for a new school.
Cllr Lombard (FG): Disposal of land for new schools in the Western area was discussed at the Southern Committee meeting. Makes no sense. How the south side of Carrigaline is being serviced needs to be addressed.
Mayor: Issue of disposals is up for discussion at the next CPG.
DCE: Apologises. This land in the Western division should not have come to the Southern Committee. Disposals generally go to the relevant Divisional Committee for information purposes and then to full Council for confirmation. Will not make this mistake with regard to South Carrigaline again.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): South Carrigaline – we don’t know where we’re going with regard to road repairs, etc. Seems crazy that materials need to travel all the way from Bandon and Kinsale to be used in Crosshaven. Could someone make up their minds and see how issues are going to be dealt with in South Carrigaline. We’re 5 months after the election and this issue hasn’t been dealt with yet.
[d] REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEES
4. West Cork Municipal District:
Nomination of the following Members to the West Cork Island Interagency:
Cllr. Joe Carroll
Cllr. Michael Collins
Cllr. Patrick Gerard Murphy
Cllr G Murphy (FG): If this is coming to full Council for ratification, election should be done in accordance with full Council procedures. It should not have to come to full Council.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): Agrees with Cllr Murphy.
SOC: CPG should decide this.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): Then it should have been put to full Council to see that full Council agreed with CPG’s decision.
Mayor: We will defer the matter. And get the procedure checked out.
[e] CORRESPONDENCE FROM GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS
5. Department of Social Protection:
Letter dated 17th October, 2014, in response to Council’s motion of 13th October, 2014, regarding the Gateway Scheme.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): Seems from this letter that customers may express an interest in taking part in Gateway by applying to their social welfare office. So it seems that there is a voluntary aspect to it. Cork County Council has been allocated 215 positions under the scheme. How many have been filled already?
DCE: Had figures with me at the last Council meeting but do not have them today. But can clarify them for Cllr O’Grady. It is part of the national scheme and we have to accept the rules.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Response from the Department is totally unsatisfactory. Answers a question which wasn’t asked. Propose that we tell the Department that this is not a satisfactory response.
[f] NOTICES OF MOTION
6. Councillor Bernard Moynihan:
“That Cork County Council fully supports and endorses Cork’s bid to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016.”
Cllr Moynihan not present.
7. Councillor Marcia D’Alton:
“That Irish Water would:
i) produce a protocol for the taking in charge of water/wastewater infrastructure within residential estates
ii) set targets by which the taking in charge of water/wastewater infrastructure within residential estates would be completed
iii) not exclude residential estates with pumping stations/wastewater treatment plants from inclusion in those targets.
Should Irish Water not address this issue, Cork County Council cannot advance the taking in charge of residential estates throughout Cork County.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on 13/10/14]
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Text of my introduction to this motion is presented separately.
Cllr A Moynihan (FF): Seconds the motion. This is a wide-ranging motion. Grave concern to many residents all around the county. Especially for residents where wastewater treatment plants are causing huge problems. These residents don’t know how they are going to get these plants repaired in the longer term. The County Council will do emergency works under health and safety. Understands that there are background meetings between the Department and Irish Water to advance this protocol. But it needs to happen sooner rather than later. Its an ill wind that is blowing no good because at the moment, these wastewater treatment plants are still in private ownership and people living in those places have only 50% of the water charges. But the longer term question mark hangs over them. Because it is not a uniquely Cork situation, thinks we should direct this motion to the AILG. Need other local authorities to also press this issue.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Supports this motion. Has been a long-term critic of Cork County Council’s slowness in taking estates in charge. Move last year to take many estates in charge meant a lot to residents in those estates. Unfair on residents in most recently published list of 15 estates who were not taken in charge. They were left behind. As a Council, we have to be active in trying to extract the protocol from Irish Water.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): Welcomes the motion. Don’t have a problem with the first three parts. Has a problem with the last sentence. Reads that as being a blockage to the taking in charge of these estates. Procedures such as this should all have been set in place before Irish Water was set up. Would like to propose as an amendment that the last sentence should be changed.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Agrees totally with Cllr O’Grady’s proposal. In fact, the introduction to the motion indicates that the fact that Irish Water does not have this protocol in place should be no hindrance to the County Council at all in taking estates in charge.
Cllr Forde (FG): Generally supports the motion. Big issue with pumping stations. Over the summer had some meetings with Director of Planning with residents who were waiting many years for their estates to be taken in charge. He agreed at the time that agreement with Irish Water was forthcoming. Thinks we should further this issue with Irish Water on Thursday. Suggests that we also write to PAC committee to have head of Irish Water in before them to answer specific questions such as this.
Cllr T Collins (Ind): Supports motion. Has query – person living in a house in a ghost estate which has not been taken in charge and there is a smell of sewerage coming into her house. Is she expected to pay both property tax and water charges? What is going to happen to the likes of that person? It is not fair to charge this person.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): Very important motion. In the past there were 185 estates in front of the County Council. 15 were left out in the cold. These had problems primarily with wastewater and management committees. For the future, what will Cork County Council do with the old applications for taking in charge and with the new ones? What is the procedure from now on for both existing and new applications for taking in charge?
County Engineer: Not sure if there is a whole lot to add to this. The Members are very up to date. Irish Water says they are currently in the process of formulating the policy. They have a draft circular from the Department that they are incorporating this into. The principle that Irish Water was adopting was that if there wasn’t a financial implication, they would take the estates in charge immediately. If there was, the and the County Councils proceeded with taking in charge, liability might lie with the Councils. This suggests that there may be a question of money should the County Council proceed with taking in charge in the absence of Irish Water policy. But Irish Water does say that policy will be out in a week or two.
DCE: As a County Council, we continue to deal with bondsmen, banks, etc. who were associated with the building of estates. We are advancing discussion with them in order to bring infrastructure up to standard in advance of taking in charge. This infrastructure most definitely includes water and wastewater infrastructure – that is the responsibility of the bond. (In response to question from Cllr D’Alton.)
Cllr T Collins (Ind): If the bond is not paid down, the estate stays as it is. Sewerage situation in the case already mentioned is so bad that it is actually backing up. This should not be happening. So her problem will not be answered. Can we get bonds to be paid down some other way? Can we force bond-holders through in a legal way?
Cllr K Murphy (FG): Heretofore bonds were the last resort for financing any deficient development. This process in itself will be a long haul. So is there anything we can do to speed this up?
DCE: The bonds are a last resort. Because we have the power to call in those bonds, the banks and insurance companies will largely deal with us to finance necessary outstanding works. Ultimately at the end of the day we have the power to call in the money and do it. Our approach has been to talk to them and to encourage them to engage. It appears to work in most cases.
County Engineer: Refers to letter from Irish Water.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Thanks the Members for their support. Evident that this is an issue that is effecting people across the entire county. Agrees with Cllr Moynihan’s suggestion that this motion should be forwarded to the AILG for a unified approach to bringing this protocol forward. Agrees with Cllr Forde’s suggestion that we should write to the PAC asking that they question the head of Irish Water on issues such as this. Glad that we will be writing to both Irish Water and the Department on the urgent need for this protocol. But cannot see why Cork County Council should not continue with taking estates in charge. Cannot see why, if water and wastewater infrastructure are not listed as services taken in charge, any liability with regard to these services should accrue to us. Continues to believe Cork County Council should take responsibility for doing this.
Cllr Forde (FG): Proposes that we write to the minister and propose a referendum that Irish Water is not privatised.
Mayor: This is not relevant to the motion.
8. Councillor Aindrias Moynihan:
“Cáineann Comhairle Contea Chorcaí go gear an rialtas toisc gur thógadar 20% don cáin maoine áitiúil gur bhailiodh sa chontea seo, agus lorgaimid go chuirfaoi an táirgead ar fáil don Comhairle ar mhaithe le seirbhisí áitiúl.
That Cork County Council condemns the government for taking 20% of the Local Property Tax which was raised in County Cork for local services and demands it be made available for services in County Cork.”
[Deferred from Council Meeting on 13/10/14]
Cllr Moynihan (FF): This motion is a follow up from the recent LPT discussion. €8.4m collected from Cork households is retained by the government and is not available in Cork. When the government introduced LPT it was promised for local services. So local people should expect to have local services for LPT. Is this going to be another broken promise? Each Municipal District could expect to have at least €1m to deliver local services if this retained 20% was given back. Local government fund switched off
€1.157b – the Department has this. It is much more than last year. The Department doesn’t need to hang on to our €8.4m to ensure that each local authority can fund its services. They do not need to take LPT. They have other ways of doing that. This is a county-wide issue and we should be pushing it for the sake of the county. We need to seek this money back.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Seconds and fully supports. Important to remember that when LPT was first introduced as the Household Charge, the line was put out by the government that this was to fund local services. There was no mention that the money would go back into the central fund. Wants to comment on FF’s supporting a 10% reduction in LPT. Some Councillors have said that this lost 10% of the €42m that will be collected next year would have resulted in improved services. But this is ridiculous because it suggests that 90% of the €42m will not. LPT has replaced other forms of funding.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): SF believes that LPT should never have been introduced. It was used to replace the Local Government Fund. FF has short memories. There was €57.4m in the Local Government Fund in 2007. It was reduced then by 25%. In the end, €32.6m was left in it in 2014. This is a reduction of 40%. That is where the problem lies. LGF needs to be increased and LPT abolished. There are people in rural areas and counties who cannot afford to have their services paid for by the LPT. We think that the LPT should be used to support those people. All people have equal rights. But SF is saying that it will abolish the LPT when we get into government, so we cannot support the motion.
Cllr Lombard (FG): This Chamber had a bruising debate on LPT. We made our views clear in FG. We were against the cut in services which the 10% reduction in LPT would bring about. FF trying to relive it now. If we are to follow from this, some local authorities would have no services. If you live in places like Douglas and Carrigaline, do you deserve all the money? Whereas someone living in an area like Coolea would get none? No roads, no services? FF trying to leave places in West Cork with no money. They are trying to take our LPT and crucify people who live in rural Ireland.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): Have to support the principle of equalisation. Rural areas will suffer if we don’t equalise. We were told at the LPT debate that if we left the property tax as it was, considerable advantage would accrue to the Council. These figures were laid out to us. (Read the figures out.) We were also told that there would be €4.5m available to reduce our dependence on using Council surpluses. So doesn’t know where Cllr McGrath’s argument is coming from. Also fearful of what is upcoming in FF’s intention to look at the rates situation. They will affect programmes like the Economic Development Fund which have been hugely successful in Cork over the last number of years. The key point here is do councillors agree with equalisation? We cannot pick and choose as to whether equalisation happens county wide or nationally.
Cllr N O’Donovan (FG): Is indeed a follow up motion to LPT debate. FF just looking for headlines again. As a West Cork Councillor, is very supportive of equalisation. This is an example of FF economics. It is indeed an attack on rural Ireland.
Cllr A Moynihan (FF): When LPT was being introduced, it was for local services. There should be no issue with funds from one part of the county being available for spending in other parts of the county. But from Cork to Castlebar? The government has other money available to it if it wants to equalise. They don’t need to take Cork money.
Cllr McCarthy (FG): FF voted to reduce LPT. The strategy of retaining 20% for equalisation was known then. So it is a moot point that they are arguing now.
Cllr Moynihan: Goal posts have moved.
Vote taken. In favour – 22; Against – 27. Motion was not passed.
9. Councillor Seamus McGrath:
“To seek clarification on the procedure involved in establishing Bye Laws to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h within residential estates. The response should indicate whether these Bye Laws can, or must, be introduced at Municipal District level. Also, to seek a resolution of support from Council members for this proposal.”
10. Councillor Deirdre Forde:
“That this Council welcomes Circular RSD 01/2014 on the control of Vehicle Speeds in Housing Estates, issued by Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, to all Local Authorities.”
Motions 9 and 10 taken together.
Cllr McGrath (FF): All recognise that speed in estates is a major issue. Traffic calming is the single biggest issue that comes up regularly. Referred to Cllr D’Alton’s motion of a few weeks ago. Supports and said that it is still important but thinks funding may become an issue. Knows many residents are struggling to pay the grass money, etc. Thinks adjustment of speed limit is a tool we should use effectively as a Council. Not the first time a speed limit review in estates has come up in the Chamber. But the issue never seems to go anywhere. There is a campaign building now. Minister seems to be broadly supportive of speed limits being reduced in residential estates and it has happened in some residential estates in Dublin. Speed control is all about improving quality of life. Knows it is difficult to enforce. But there are many other roads in the county where it is not enforced but there are still speed limits.
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): Very big issue. Seconds motion. It is time that we review the speed limits. What is the time frame and what is the procedure? It is quite a long tedious procedure and should be started. A lot of estates have schools adjacent or in them. There should be special speed limit in the vicinity of these.
Cllr Forde (FG): Many people can propose but it takes someone with heart to do something about this. The Minister has this heart. It is very sad that most of the speeding is done by the residents themselves and all the newsletters in the world don’t make a difference. This needs to be taken account of at the planning stage. For years it was not. It also is an issue of enforcement. Simply reducing speed limits is not enough. Bonds should be used to help residents install bumps urgently. How fast can the manager go through with this review?
Cllr Canty (FG): Fully supports both motions. This issue has been brought through the County Council many times. At the end of the day, a lot depends on the people who are driving. You can put in all the bumps, flashing lights you like but at the end of the day, it’s the residents themselves who are responsible. An awful lot is due to legislation. We have been told there are no guidelines in relation to the height of the ramps, etc. Also have to get consensus from the residents. You also have to go to the gardai. But agrees that something has to be done. Desperate that there are accidents in etstates that have brought this to the fore. Through roads through estates are also a problem. Coming off a road at speed and turning into a residential area, it is hard to slow down. The speed limit at the top of Carrigrohane is the same as the speed limits in our residential estates. That is crazy. It will come to a point where residents are afraid of their children playing on the road. I live on a road where we have 3 speed ramps and they are making no difference at all. So need properly funded legislation and properly funded gardai.
Cllr O’Grady (FF): Supports motion especially McGrath’s motion. Have some questions about procedure. These estates have to be identified. How are they to be identified? Hopes it won’t just be an ad in the paper as it was for LPT. You can ask the residents what they want. You can ask the members here. Cork County Council will need to make up a list of these estates. Estates which have not been taken in charge is another issue. After the public consultation, bye laws will have to be adopted. Will that be at municipal level or Council level? The erection of the new signs – who will do and pay for this? How are local authorities to check whether the speed limits are being observed? The Departmental document says that local authorities should have flexibility to take account of local conditions. It is a worry to me that speed ramps can be an option only after going through a whole load of other procedures.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): Agrees with both motions. We have to work on this from the ground up. Speed limit would be worthy. The issue with planning is of paramount importance and it is up to us as a Council to adopt procedures which our planners must observe to slow traffic from the outset. Enforcement – have problem with this. Who is going to enforce it? Council cannot. So we either have speed cameras on board or the gardai do speed checks. Would see the Planning SPC as being a good place to start policy on traffic calming.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Supports both motions, especially that to reduce speed limit in residential estates. But thinks there will be a real issue with enforcement. Lives in a 400 house estate which used have the gardai drive around it regularly. Has not seen a garda car now in months. Nonetheless, to have a new speed limit sign at the entrance to an estate would be a visible reminder of the need to slow down. Despite supporting these motions, does not want them to divert from the need to provide ramps and other forms of traffic calming in estates where it is necessary.
DCE: Special speed limit bye laws are a reserved function of the local authority and not the municipal district. Reads Circular from the Department. Speaks about procedures. Will provide Circular to all Members who are interested.
As part of planning considerations, Cork County Council already takes account of geometric design, etc that might impact on speed in proposed new estates. Cork County Council was one of the first local authorities to produce guidelines on the design of housing estates. It is still in place. In relation to the second notice of motion in particular, we were promised that the Department would issue revised guidleines in relation to controlling speeds in residential estates before the end of the year. We have 1031 estates throughout the County and excluding Town Council areas. We have to identify estates where issues may arise. Have to respond to the Department in November. We might identify real priorities at Municipal District level and commuincate these to the Department as a first-off. In order to get the most pressing areas moving on, maybe identify 5 estates in each Municipal District and submit these to the Department for funding. Asks members to come forward with some suggestsions at next Municipal District meetings.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Must estates be taken in charge to qualify for consideration?
DCE: Imagines that they must.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Not ok that residents in these estates should be left behind again.
DCE: Will seek clarification.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Welcomes that there is progress. Has problems with identifying certain estates. His motion was an across the board protection for all residential estates. There would be plenty of estate candidates which would fit the bill. Cannot give precedence to one over another. Proposes that we support the 30km speed limit in all estates in principle, however it is implemented. Proposes that we send this support in principle back to the Department.
Cllr Forde (FG): Would like the DCE to give the name of the scheme which will be able to fund such works.
DCE: Low Cost Safety Scheme
DCE: Is reluctant to commit to an across the board bye law. Would have to produce drawings and assessments to support the case. Would be happier to deal with the estates which we know are causing problems.
Cllr T Collins (Ind): Discuss this at JPC? Would that help?
Cllr Forde (FG): The signal needs to go out to the public, not to the department. It is the public who is reponsible for the speed.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Thinks we need to send a message in principle to the Department.
DCE: We’re not going to get funds for additional facilities in >1000 estates. Wants the Members to be clear that the CCC will not be able to fund this.
11. Councillor Des O’Grady:
“To request a written report on the financial contributions made by developers to a special fund towards expenditure that was to be incurred by Cork County Council in respect of improvement works, including roads, footpaths and public lighting, to remedy infrastructural deficiencies in the Killumney, Ovens area.
The report to include
- The total amount contributed to this fund.
- A list of developers who contributed to this fund.
- The amount of funding each developer contributed.
- The amount already used for improvement works in the Killumney Ovens area.
- The amount now remaining in the fund.
Mayor: Suggests that detail like this would come through the Municipal District in future.
Cllr O’Grady (FF): Will relay this message to the 300 houses in Grangemanor. Was carried away by the fact that Lehenaghmore was discussed at our last full Council meeting!!!
(I left the Chamber for a few minutes.)
DCE: Last year Council put aside €1m for urgent footpath works. This was an acknowledgement that not all areas got the funding they should.
The money was spent on Capital road works in Ballincollig area, road improvement works between Jim Bobs Cross and Killumney and the Ballincollig Green Route. This was how the money was spent.
12. Councillor Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire:
“Go naontaíonn Chomhairle Chontae Chorcaí go mba chóir go mbeadh maolú sealadach ar an córas Pairceáil íoctha, ag ceadú do dhá uair sa lae pairceála saor in aisce, don tréibhse ón 21ú Mí na Samhna, go dtí an 24ú lá Mí na Nollag, leis an cuspóir gnó a spreagadh inár bailte agus ceantaireacha fo-uirbeach, le linn an tréibhse riachtanach Nollaig.
That Cork County Council agrees to a special temporary relaxation of Pay Parking, allowing for 2 hours free Parking each day in all the major towns and suburban areas for the period from the 21st November, to the 24th December, with a view to promoting business in our towns and suburban areas in the vital Christmas Period.”
Cllr K Murphy (FG): Sick waiting for a response on the pay parking issue. Waiting 6 – 8 months now.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Thanks for the support in advance! Making a specific proposal and am open to amendments. Cork City Council has had a number of promotional schemes in the City Council area. High time Cork County Council examined this issue. Small and medium businesses are the backbone of our economy. Hard to do business against the city centre and the shopping centres who have their own parking facilities. Thinks we need to support commercial activities in our own towns and surburbs. Thinks 2 hours free is about right to allow people substantial time in the area whilst keeping long-terme parkers moving on.
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): Seconds this motion. Thinks very timely. Had a similar motion at his own Municipal District meeting. We are talking about the survival of our towns. Fermoy has pay parking. Midleton, Mitchelstown and Charleville have free parking. We should have relaxation of the rules especially for the Christmas period. Knows people in Fermoy who are not coming into the town for shopping because they can go to Mitchelstown, Charleville or Midelton and not pay anything. Our towns are dying. Especially Fermoy. Please give 1 hour free parking in general but at Christmas period, please give 2 hours free parking.
DCE: Conscious that Members have raised the issue of parking at the Christmas period before. We have 8 towns including Douglas with pay parking. Historically arrangements have been made for the Christmas period; because most of these were arranged through Town Councils, none of the arrangements have been the same. Conscious that we need across-the-board rules. Proposing that we would come back to each Municipal District with proposals for the Christmas period. Obviously the whole pay parking issue will come back before us anyway. The starting point for the Christmas relaxation proposals will be whatever there was last there last year.
Cllr Forde (FG): The issue is speed. How fast can a change in the bye-laws be enacted?
Cllr McGrath (FF): At our Municipal District meeting last week, we were told the announcement in relation to the Christmas parking proposals was imminent. Doesn’t want to wait till 20th November at our next Municipal District meeting.
DCE: There is no provision for enactment of this. Is a temporary relaxation of bye-laws approved by the Executive. We had hoped to come back to Members first. We don’t really have to wait to the Municipal District meetings. Can circulate proposals to Members and seek comments. Can do this in the next couple of days.
Cllr Murphy-O’Mahony (FF): Not happy with the arrangements Bandon has had to this in the past. Wants parking to be available on the public street, not just in a designated car park.
Cllr Dawson (FG): Populist politicial footballing will come out of this. Our budgets did not allow us to relax the bye-laws in Fermoy in the past because the budget depended on it
Cllr McCarthy (Lab): We had to do a 12 month budget in Fermoy Town Council even though we were being dissolved in May. We did our best but we had no choice.
Cllr R McCarthy (SF): Thinks we need to discuss the issue of pay parking today. The Bandon-Kinsale municipal district meeting isn’t until very late in the month.
DCE: We’ll make sure that our proposals are circulated in advance of the next meeting. Can’t see any logic in trying to agree 8 different areas here today.
Cllr Sheppard (FG): We were told in Cobh Municipal District that the money raised from parking in our town would have to go to the budget of the Municipal District. Yet East Cork Municipal District was told that Youghal could keep the money raised from pay parking in Youghal. We need to be clear on how this policy will put in place across the County because we will never agree policy on pay parking if we are arguing over issues like this.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Agrees with the sentiment that on-street parking is preferable. Concerned that there might be any possible delay in this. As 2 Municipal Districts have already resolved to amend their general parking bye-laws and these amendments had to go to CPG, does this proposal to relax the bye-laws for Christmas have to go to CPG too?
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): High time we stood up for the businesses and shoppers in towns like Fermoy. These are new arrangements, new Municipal Districts and we need to show responsibility for their success.
Mayor: It is a decision for the Municipal District if the money raised from pay parking is to stay within the town or to go to the area generally.
Cllrs Cullinane/Barry/Sheppard: We were told that this is not the case.
Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind): We were told that pay parking money raised in Youghal stays in Youghal. We were told this quite clearly and up front. So this issue needs to be sorted out.
Mayor: In the past, we were told it was up to the members of the Municipal Districts to decide where the money raised from pay parking would be spent.
DCE: This is really a matter for the budget. Income from pay parking really needs to form part of the Budgetary plan. Things have changed over time. We have to be cognisant of all of that now. There will be a special CPG meeting on the budget next week.
Mayor: None of that aspect of pay parking will impact on the Christmas relaxation of the bye-laws.
13. Councillor Noel Collins:
“That this Council request the relevant Government Departments to make more funding available for the provision of additional juvenile hostels, whether through statutory agencies or the voluntary sector, to deal with homelessness, which is becoming a major concern, resulting in juvenile crime.”
Cllr Collins (Ind): Fragmentation of services is a major problem in dealing with homeless young people. Not enough hostels are provided, either statutorily or voluntarily. Congratulates Fr. Peter McVerry for his work in this area in Dublin. Sport is hugely recognised as a way of keeping children out of this kind of trouble. Sport raises self-esteem. Communities which lack support in providing sporting facilities should be given that support. Every effort should be given to supporting these amateur organisations. Anyone involved in group sport is unlikely to end up as a juvenile offender. Homelessness is another aspect of this problem. Often young people are left to fend for themselves when it comes to accommodation. Locking juvenile offenders up with adult criminals is a major problem. Not appropriate.
14. Councillor Kevin O’Keeffe:
“That this Council call on the Government to take back control of Irish Water until a proper management and operational structure is put in place.”
O’Keeffe (FF): Paying for water was one of the first things on the agenda of the incoming government. They rushed legislation through the Dail for the formation of Irish Water. It was against the advice of some of the best consultants. Only 3 hours were given to its discussion at Dail level. Many issues have come in up in the last 10 months. People are alarmed and confused. Asking the government to rejig the set up of Irish Water. Issues have arisen since day 1. Why does Irish Water need PPSN numbers? Charges for leaks? Childrens’ allowances? Reductions for contaminated water supplies? Bonuses being given out? We went through this with the HSE not being accountable properly. Asks that the government would take back Irish Water until these issues are sorted out. Tomorrow morning if I went into my solicitor and said I wanted to set up a company, he would take a company name off a shelf and I would use it for that company. It would have more accountability than Irish Water does. It’s gone so bad now that some politicians are looking for constitutional amendments that it stay in private ownership.
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Phil Hogan claimed he was appointed EU Commissioner because of his ability to deliver. The only thing he delivered for many families was abolition of Town Councils, LPT, water charges and buckets of controversy. Supports and seconds the motion. The people deserve better. The people pay the piper and should be allowed to call the tune. Monstrosity guided by the bonus brigade. Abolish Irish Water and let the status quo remain. If the government fails to act now, when the flood gates open there will be no holding back of the tide.
15. Councillor Pat Buckley:
That Cork County Council calls on the Government to;
- Immediately reverse domestic water charges which are an unfair and unjust double charge being forced on already struggling households.
- Stop the roll out of metering and redirect the €539m loan finance from the National Pension Reserve Fund towards fixing the massive leakage problems and interruption to supply.
- Recognise that Irish Water is not fit for purpose since it is unaccountable to the Minister and therefore to the Oireachtas and the citizens of this State.
- Prevent Irish Water from any further excessive spending of taxpayer’s money, including the proposed further €35m on the use of external consultants in 2015.
- Ensure that there is no duplication of services being delivered by Irish Water and Local authorities
- Guarantee that water services will remain within full public ownership now, and in the future.
- Listen to the widespread public anger that exists towards this Government and Irish Water by the Irish people, who are now rightly organising and mobilising in protest and opposition to these water charges through the Right2Water public campaign which includes activists, citizens, community groups, political parties and trade unions.
Cllr Mullane (SF): Seconds the motion and proposes an amendment for Motion 14: to add to immediately reverse the legislation that has introduced water charges. SF is against water charges and has been since they were imposed. This service should remain in public ownership. Also where does FF stand on water charges? Wants clarification on that. FF proposed the idea for water charges in their last programme for government. Thinks this is opportunistic today on the part of FF.
Cllr G Murphy (FG): No intention of defending Irish Water or the way they have managed the system since they took it over. Like SF, we consider it necessary to broaden the tax net and charge for water. From a FF point of view, one of the reasons for establishing Irish Water was that funding for water would need billions of euro to fix the pipes that were left in such bad condition by FF. That amount of borrowing had to be taken off national exchequer accounts. Not only to ensure good domestic supply but also a good industrial supply. Has no problem with SF’s position on this because SF has told us where they would raise the extra money – inheritance tax, tax on higher earners, etc. The argument I have with SF is that their tax principles would hamper economic development. But at least they are explaining where they would get their money. But would like to hear FF’s position on how the alternative budget that they are proposing would be dealt with if this motion were passed here today.
Cllr J O’Donovan (FG): Asks people to look at need for Irish Water and for a high quality infrastructure. Thinks people would march because of poor delivery of water if there wasn’t a plan to improve it. What about listening to people who are in favour of water charges and who welcome plans to improve it? Read between the lines of what SF is asking people to do. They are asking people not to pay water charges. That will result in water being cut off. Then people will have to go back to SF and ask what to do next.
Cllr O’Flynn (FF): Irish Water is not working. Especially in relation to cost. €680m down the swanny on management, perk, bonuses and consultants. Asks whether there is any scheme in relation to improving the infrastructure in North Cork going ahead now. Knows about Kildorrery. Is sure Cork County Council is still in control. Irish Water – the present government is swinging from crisis to crisis and it is making it up as it goes along. Spent 39 minutes on the phone last Friday before I was told they had no answer. What about outlandish costs in relation to repairs? Irish Water doesn’t even know what part of Ireland we are from.
Cllr O’Laoghaire (SF): Lots of discussion about the way Irish Water is being run. Right to a point because they seem to be all over the place as a entity. But water charges are the issue here, not Irish Water. Doesn’t matter how efficient or otherwise Irish Water is. Doesn’t think Cork County Council should pass a motion without referring to this. It is correct that water/wastewater infrastructure was underfunded over many years. Metering money would have been far better spent in remediation of our mains and water system.
Cllr N O’Donovan (FG): This is the second motion today where FF is talking with both sides of their mouth. Not here to defend Irish Water. Defends need for proper utility and water system. Agrees with SF quite a bit. 40 – 45% of our investment in water infrastructure has gone down the drain, literally. 20,000 people on boil water notices. We do need change. 55 – 60 schemes are needed for West Cork. These schemes have been on lists for years and nothing was ever done about it. The real test of Irish Water will be in 3 – 4 years time to see if these schemes are tackled. What FF is doing here is pure headline grabbing.
Cllr Hayes (SF): The Irish Water issue has been discussed ad nauseum. Irish Water is just a very expensive call centre. Cork County Council is carrying out the work on behalf of Irish Water anyway.
Cllr O’Shea (Ind): Hugely frustrating to try to contact Irish Water. Supports this debate in the Chamber. Irish Water doesn’t say what the issue was or whether the issue was dealt with. They give no correspondence. They do not address issues. Irish Water is a mess and it should be put to bed immediately.
Cllr R McCarthy (SF): SF has never advocated a do not pay campaign. Very serious accusation that needs to be retracted. Public meeting in Bandon tomorrow at 8pm. Invites Cllr J O’Donovan to come along and to the forthcoming public rally.
Cllr K Murphy (FG): We are where we are – another FF cliché. Do you really think that whatever we pass here today is going to be seriously looked at? Put down a motion that we can seriously debate. There’s no question about taking Irish Water back. Let’s deal with it as best we can. There’s no doubt that there are problems there. It is frustrating and Irish Water is not up to speed. But improving that is up to us – the Council staff must back them up. No privatisation. This should be clarified. Privatisation happened to Eircom under FF watch. Mary O’Rourke, look what happened to her. Let’s deal with the issue seriously. This is a very serious issue and is not worthy of rubbishy motions. If we try to take it back, we would make things way worse and more confusing.
Cllr McCarthy (FG): Finds it disingenuous that FF is bringing this to the table again. It would have been dealt with under the FF agreement with the Troika. Disagrees with some things that were said here today. Cllr O’Laoghaire said that the problem here is that people do not want to pay for water. Last Red Sea poll said that 65% of people have no objection to paying water charges. The problem is the bonus culture in Irish Water. There are myriad problems with Irish Water. But will refute that people don’t want to pay for water – they do. We are the only country in the OECD that do not pay for water.
Cllr M Collins (Ind): We do need accountability. It is taxpayers’ money. Is a long-term opponent of Irish Water. It was clear where it was going. Response has been appalling from the start. Irish Water has angered the public from the outset. These are the very people who’s co-operation it needs. If we had accountability in this government, Phil Hogan would be called back to answer for the mess he left.
Cllr O’Grady (SF): People do pay for water through general taxation. Is indeed a very serious issue. Would like to see where Irish Water is going with this down the line. Privatisation not been mentioned here today. Irish Water is sending packs to people who are not even on the public system. This indicates that down the line there will be changes to the system. Irish Water cannot deal with problems. Rang Irish Water last Saturday because of the 16th breakdown of the year on the water system in Rylane. Girl on the phone said to ring Cork County Council – she was not aware of a problem in Rylane. The Cork County Council out of hours number responded and said that it was being fixed but that there could be no timescale on it. Irish Water was set up as a vehicle to transfer money into the exchequer. We are involved in a campaign against water charges at present.
Cllr McGrath (FF): Obviously very important issue. Disappointed the debate has descended into political sniping. Firstly, laughable that SF is accusing FF as being opportunistic. SF is a party that changed its opinion during the Dublin By-Election. Somewhat of an obsession here this morning about FF’s position. Makes no apologies that FF as a party has tried to respond. We cannot stand idly by and let the Irish Water fiasco continue without comment. 500 people on payroll, huge salaries, bonus culture. We have the same right to respond to that as any other political party. During the national budget, FF proposed the most prudent budget a few weeks ago. SF proposed a neutral budget (fair enough) and FG proposed an expansory budget.
Cllr Conway (Ind): Sitting here for an hour listening to this. Disappointed that it has descended into political argument. How genuine are these people? Knows people who are terribly concerned about Irish Water. Politics don’t matter to these people. There are going to be major problems with water infrastructure in this country no matter how you look at it.
Cllr Fitzgerald (FF): I do not accept what is there now. We have created a situation which is not acceptable. Will continue to go through Cork County Council to solve his problems although he knows we’re not supposed to. But Irish Water cannot deliver. We cannot operate without the local authority and Irish Water is not fit for purpose.
Cllr Linehan-Foley (Ind): People I am dealing with simply cannot pay water rates. Cannot pay so many of the charges – water, LPT, etc. We are letting these people down as we politically point score. This is my take on the motion. What about those who cannot pay?
Cllr O’Keeffe (FF): Thanks the Members for the support. The public has no confidence in this utility set up by the government. The government has acknowledged mistakes have been made. PWC was asked to prepare a report on the establishment of Irish Water. The government totally ignored that report. Thinks the government needs to go back to the drawing board again.
Cllr Buckley (SF): We’re not going to get a better quality of water. Irish Water is basically lying to us. People are being intimated by packs coming through the doors. The biggest fear is that of privatisation. They told us Bord Gais would not be sold off. It was. Privatisation of water is being pushed by World Banks, etc. Thinks absolute disgrace. There has never been honesty in Irish Water.
Cllr Mullane (SF): Still has no clarity on her initial questions. What is FF’s position on Irish Water? Also amendment to Cllr O’Keeffe’s motion: add in “and to immediately reverse legislation that has introduced water charges”.
McGrath (FF): What is the obsession with FF’s position?
Amendment has been seconded.
14 – 24 in favour of the amendment. So the motion stands.
Both motions passed.
[g] CORRESPONDENCE FROM OTHER BODIES
16. National Roads Authority:
Letter dated 4th September, 2014, regarding funding for improvement works on N71 from Owenahincha Cross to Bohonagh.
17. Deirdre Clune, MEP:
Letter dated 6th October, 2014, in response to Council’s letter of 25th September, 2014, regarding the fluoridation of water
Cllr N Collins (Ind): Notes that Deirdre Clune was the only MEP to respond, thanks her for doing so and has no doubt but that she will be successful in her new position as an MEP.
[h] VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS
18. VOTES OF CONGRATULATIONS (if any)
Congratulations given by Cllr McCarthy (FG), Cllr O’Flynn (FF), Cllr Forde (FG), Cllr Hayes (SF) and others.
19. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Cllr O’Grady (SF): The Lord Mayor of Cork City was in China recently. Her trip garnered a lot of publicity. Heard that our Mayor was in China recently also. But we heard nothing about this. Can we have a report or something on the trip?
Mayor: CE will be giving a report.