Motions and Questions Ashbourne MD and Meath County Council Meetings
ASHBOURNE MD MEETINGS
6 Notice of Question 6.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “With regard to the Meath County Council website content, are there plans to revamp the website as I note that over the Christmas period a Shop Local Campaign on the website only mentioned Kells, Trim and Navan in their information regarding free parking? Can I inform the Council that there was also free parking in Ashbourne, Ratoath, Dunshaughlin, Dunboyne and Bettystown. The website should be more "district friendly" and be all inclusive and not selective especially around the retail sectors busiest trading period.”
A response was provided by the Corporate Services Section, as follows: The Christmas ‘Shop Local’ campaign is countywide and begins in early December with the Council working in partnership with businesses and the media to promote the local experience when it comes to shopping and entertainment. It is noted that there is free parking all year round in Ashbourne, Ratoath, Dunshaughlin Dunboyne and Bettystown and that pay parking operates only in Navan, Trim and Kells. It is acknowledged that pay parking is a disincentive to shopping locally and for many years the former Town Councils provided a period of free parking, at Christmas, to encourage shoppers into the towns. As part of their budgetary process in 2013, the former Town Councils provided for free parking in the towns during the 2014 Christmas period and this was highlighted as part of the ‘Shop Local’ campaign. As Meath County Council is now the Authority for the entire County, it is intended that an all-inclusive approach will be taken with regard to any future business promotion in the County. With regard to the Council’s website, the IT Department is progressing the development of a new platform and it is anticipated that this will be live in the near future.
6.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “What development levies and other monies have been received or can be expected from Archerstown Demesne (Archerstown Phase 2) and the circa 100 houses on the Milltown Road opposite the golf club and the new planning applications of circa 46 houses on the Archerstown Road?”
A response was provided by the Planning Section, as follows: Please note the potential yield of Development contributions for the requested housing schemes: Archerstown Phase 2 DA130316 – Mullen Developments – Total potential yield € 609,294 which include roads, amenities, water and sewage contributions 99 Houses on Milltown Road DA101259 – Shane Doherty now Aspect Developments Ltd – Total potential yield €1,548,702 which include roads, amenities, water and sewage contributions New planning application 46 houses on Archerstown Road AA150025 – Targeted Investments Opportunities Plc – current application, due for decision on 10th March, 2015, Development contributions not yet imposed. The response was noted. Councillor Tobin sought clarification on whether these contributions can be ring-fenced to develop a plan for the Milltown Road to the rugby club.
7.4 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “That Meath County Council applies for funding through the NTA to carry out upgrade works including footpaths and cycle lanes for the Milltown Road and the Archerstown Road L-50191-0 to the Ashbourne Rugby Club and Ashbourne Utd playing and training grounds. The road is only accessible by car, is poorly lit and has no pedestrian or cycling facilities to either club ground. I am also calling on this council to write to the NRA and request for a written response from the National Transport Authority on this matter.”
Supporting information was provided by the Transportation Section, as follows: As mentioned in the response to the Notice of Motion from Councillor Sean Smith at the January Municipal District meeting, Meath County Council has included related objectives in the Ashbourne LAP in relation to improvements in this area. The Transportation Section consider that this is not the appropriate time to seek funding from the NTA as our applications for funding for 2015 have been made and the announcement of our allocations is imminent. We anticipate that the NTA will again provide a substantial allocation for Phase 1 of Ashbourne Main Street Refurbishment works and that the next priority for funding in Ashbourne will be to fund phase 2 of the Main Street works. The Transportation Section will seek to progress the design and construction of further improvements on the Milltown Road in line with our objectives when resources and the work programme allows. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. A discussion followed on the timeframe for the submission of funding applications to the NTA and agreement that an application for these works would be submitted in 2015. It was agreed that a design was being worked on and would be presented to councillors when available. The motion was unanimously adopted.
7.5 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “That Meath County Council provides adequate public lighting on the Ballybin Road from the junction with the R135 to the public lighting already provided for adjacent to Ashbourne Business Centre. The lighting is totally ineffective, pedestrians cannot be seen at night and the various junctions are not lit and are poorly marked.”
Supporting information was provided by the Transportation Section, as follows: Meath County Council’s Public Lighting Engineer has examined the location and has estimated the cost of the works at €20,000 plus VAT. No specific funding is currently allocated to these works. These works could be included on a list of proposed works should funding become available at a later date. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Darren O’Rourke. A discussion followed on the constraints on public lighting provision. It was agreed that a separate presentation would be made at a future meeting. The motion was unanimously adopted.
6.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask for verification from the Finance Department if a contribution of €608,000 was paid towards infrastructure including the Linear park/ access road in Killegland and if there were payments made by the other landowners (at the time)in the area namely Brady's, Giltenan's and Gallagher's to the Linear Pk / access road?”
A response was provided by the Planning Department, as follows: I refer to the notice of question submitted by Councillor Tobin and the earlier responses from this Council to Notices of Question submitted by Councillor Sean Smith. I append an extract from the response to Cllr Smiths question for your information. “The Killegland area of Ashbourne was identified previously for the purpose of developing a park along the Broadmeadow and for the development of active playing pitches. The Killegland / West Ashbourne Action Area Plan 2003 was a non-statutory plan which was prepared to guide development in this newly developing area of Ashbourne. This included a Masterplan for the development of new residential communities, the reservation of sites for national and second level schools, new playing pitches / facilities to be developed by the GAA, infrastructural and community infrastructure provision, etc. A specific objective of the Action Area Plan (S.O. 06 refers) seeks that “Linear parks are to be developed throughout the site as amenity areas incorporating the Broadmeadow River and associated waterways running through the site”. A further specific objective (S.O. 10) seeks “that existing river walks are to be provided within the site and there is to be the provision of more walks and cycle routes, with pedestrian walkways to be created throughout the overall development”. A joint venture agreement was set up between the four landowners involved in the Killegland Action Area Plan in 2005 / 2006. This joint venture agreement specified the works to be carried out by each party. The objects of the joint venture agreement are as follows: obtaining planning permission for the development works; the funding of the development works; the carrying out of the development works in accordance with planning permission and the Action Area Plan 2003 and in compliance with the Building Regulations under the Building Control Act, 1990, and; the doing of such other acts, matters and things as may be consistent with necessary for or incidental to the attainment of any of the foregoing objects. A company was established by them for the purpose of implementing the objects of the joint venture agreement. The agreement has specific details in relation to the funding of the initial development works i.e. the distributor road, foul sewer, waste water treatment plant and pumping station, surface water sewer and water main. Development works expenditure was agreed taking into account the number of residential units within the combined landholdings which were identified in the planning applications made by the joint venturers and in the Action Area Plan or anticipated by the parties as being the number of residential units which each of the parties requires to avail of capacity within the treatment plant. The joint venture agreement specifically deals with the provision of the public park (paragraph 3.3.1 and 3.3.2 of the agreement refer). The parties to the agreement committed to the creation and landscaping of a public park in accordance with the requirements of the Planning Authority and that the cost associated with the public park formed part of the development works the cost of which would be shared between the parties on a pro rata basis. To date the consortium of developers in this area have provided the lands for the GAA club which have been successfully developed. However with the downturn in the economy over the past number of years and the obvious impact of same on residential development, the provision of any works in relation to the proposed park has yet to commence. In more recent applications seeking to extend the duration of existing planning permissions, it has been stated by the developers in their applications that the completion of the linear public park is dependent on the completion of their residential developments. Whilst details of the legal agreement have been and continue to be submitted with planning applications, it does not appear to date that the provision of the public park is required to be provided in tandem with any particular phase of a development. No part of the park was to be provided within the Millbourne development whilst it does not appear to have been required to be provided within a specific phase of the Churchfields development noting that only phase I has been substantially completed to date. The majority of the park was to be provided within the former Ashbourne Development Ltd. site, the permission for which has now expired and the site transferred to public ownership. Furthermore, the Planning Authority is not party to the legal agreement which is between landowners and developers which may affect our ability to give effect to same. This is further compounded in more recent times as parties to the original agreement having been placed in receivership and lands within the Action Area Plan boundary having been sold e.g. the lands owned by Ashbourne Development Ltd. have been sold to the Department of Education and Skills. The Planning Department is in the process of establishing the obligation or otherwise on new landowners within these lands to be bound to the terms of the existing agreement. “ I would reiterate that the Council was not party to the commercial agreements entered into by the developers in this case, nor did it receive a contribution of €608,000 from a developer in respect of the roads and open spaces provision. The Council understands that a financial contribution was made to the construction costs of roads and water/ wastewater infrastructure, most probably placing the joint venture vehicle in funds to that end. The roads and water waste water capacity are in place and the delivery of open space in the form of a linear park will be delivered through the development management process. I would point out that the Department of Education and Skills lands will be the subject of a future planning application and the former Giltenane lands are the subject of a current planning application. Meath County Council has sought further information on the provision of a linear park within the first phase of the development under the applicants control and await their response. The response was noted.
7.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “In light of flooding last November, can I ask Meath County Council to set up a mailing list of all land owners either agricultural or developmental so as an annual reminder / information can be sent out to those responsible for maintenance of hedgerows and drain.”
Supporting information was provided by the Transportation Department, as follows: It is the legal responsibility of the owner or occupier of lands to take all reasonable steps to ensure that trees, hedges and other structures are not a hazard or potential hazard to persons using public roads. It is however Meath County Council’s opinion that the setting up and maintenance of a mailing list of all landowners would be too onerous. Meath County Council does publish a notice twice a year in local newspapers advising landowners/occupiers of their responsibilities in relation to hedge cutting. The Council will also consider extending these notices to include a reference to the responsibility of landowners for maintenance of drainage. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. Councillor Alan Tobin referred to the responsibility of landowners in preventing flooding and the related costs to homeowners. He emphasised the need for such a mailing list and he also urged that all local newspapers be used, covering all parts of the county. The motion was adopted.
6 Notice of Question 6.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I request the draft schedule for the road sweeper in Ashbourne so Councillors can inform the citizens of Ashbourne as to when the road sweeper will be in the town as this is an eagerly awaited event? Can I also request the schedule of areas that are likely to be swept and on what dates, so we can make provisions to ensure that there are few restrictions in and around housing estates? We would also like to enshrine the date of its arrival and celebrate, as we herald a new era in the Ashbourne Municipal District.”
Response: Ashbourne Street Sweeping has gone out to tender. The tender return date is Thursday the 2nd of April 2015. Ashbourne is to be swept once weekly, each Monday morning beginning at 1am. The street sweeping will extend from St John’s Wood junction through the main street to the Community Centre, Castle St to Broadmeadow St and part of the Milltown Road. We have provided a degree of flexibility in the contract to allow for additional sweeping if necessary. Currently the contractor involved in the town enhancement works employs a street sweeper each Friday. The response was noted.
7.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “I call on this Council to introduce, with the support and input of all Councillors, "Byelaws" in the Ashbourne Municipal District to help manage on street parking in the centre of villages and towns and outside schools and playgrounds.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: The proposal as outlined would require substantial resources (financial & human) to implement. There are considerable capital costs (in terms of lines, signs, handhelds, back end systems, etc ) & operational costs (Traffic Wardens, software licences, administrative overheads to deal with complaints, appeals, Court & legal issues, etc.) associated with implementation of this proposal. The proposal could be examined in further detail once funding has been allocated. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Claire O’Driscoll. A discussion followed on the resources needed to implement this motion, the introduction of parking charges, the need for enforcement, and the impact on other towns and villages within the Municipal District An amended motion was proposed by Councillor Claire O’Driscoll and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith as follows: “I call on this Council to introduce, with the support and input of all Councillors, "Byelaws" in Ashbourne to help manage on street parking in the centre of villages and towns and outside schools and playgrounds.” The amended motion was adopted
7.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “I call on Meath County Council to devise a system specifically for the payment of bonds for small developments, i.e. under 20 units, as insurance companies will no longer insure bonds and this is causing delays in the supply of housing. This motion will help small businesses to grow and increase housing stock throughout the county.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: The provision of securities for the completion of residential developments is a long established practice. The merits of applying sufficient securities became apparent during the economic downturn, with many residents querying the availability of sufficient security deposits to address incomplete infrastructural works. The Council is aware of the difficulty many developers are encountering in obtaining bonds from financial institutions and would point out that the members of the Council resolved to request 33% of any security amount in cash, to prevent full exposure of the local authority in the event of bond facilities being withdrawn. The Council accepts that Councillor Tobin’s motion seeks to assist in the timely delivery of additional housing units. However there are substantial risks to the local authority in adopting a phased payment procedure for securities. Risks associated with the piecemeal payment of cash securities are most clearly seen where a small part of an estate is built, typically facing the public road and where no open space or estate infrastructure is provided for residents. If the Council were to accept a piecemeal payment of contributions in such circumstances, it would never have sufficient funds to provide the estate infrastructure as originally envisaged when planning permission was granted. This Council seeks to pro-actively work with developers in the delivery of distinct fully integrated phases of developments. The Council has accepted phased payments in limited circumstances. However its focus is the protection of the resident’s investment and the minimisation of financial risk to the Local Authority. The Council is also rolling out a proactive concurrent inspection regime using its planning and building control powers to monitor estates throughout all phases of their construction. In such circumstances, where a competent professional certifies construction in compliance with building regulations and where planning enforcement staff is satisfied with the completion of a phase of development, opportunity may exist for the roll over of securities from one phase to another. That said the payment of sufficient security at the commencement of development will always be a prerequisite. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Darren O’Rourke. A discussion followed and the motion was subsequently defeated.
6.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Does Meath County Council intend to erect street signs and / or wall plates within the main thoroughfares of Ashbourne?”
Response: The Council, in principle, is amenable to providing street signs and / or wall plates on the main thoroughfares of Ashbourne. This question is not unrelated to a previous Notice of Motion adopted at the Ashbourne Municipal District May monthly meeting to rename one of the streets in the town. Accordingly if there are proposals to change street names in Ashbourne then any changes will have to be formalised before any works are carried out and signs erected. The actual process of changing place names and the legal authority to do so is a complex one and the Council is currently seeking clarity on these issues from its law agent. Pending receipt of this advice, it is our understanding that a resolution to change a name, street or otherwise, is a function of the Full Council and not the Municipal District members. This does not prevent Municipal District members making recommendations to the Full Council. An update on the matter will be provided as soon as possible. The response was noted. However Councillor Tobin requested confirmation as to when the signs would be erected. It was confirmed that no budget allocation had been made in 2015 but that it could proceed if funding were available later in the year; otherwise, an allocation would have to be made in the 2016 budget. The need for consistency was noted. It was agreed to look at this issue separately.
7.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “I call on Meath County Council to put in a footpath, be it with a cheap temporary surface on the right of way from Milltown Estate to the Rugby club to allow young people to travel safely to training instead of relying on lifts or walking on a dangerous country road.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council can confirm that a new tarmacadam footpath has been requested from a utility provider as part of their finishing works to ducting in that area. We anticipate it should be in place over the summer months. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. The motion was noted.
7.4 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “That Meath County Council provides a scheduled works programme for roadside grass cutting on public roads for the Summer/Autumn period.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: We are in the process of tendering for verge cutting to verges at major/busy junctions and we anticipate that this process will be complete within the next week. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. The motion was adopted.
5.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “In light of the management company/bank that owns the playground in Ashbourne town giving notice that they will no longer be maintaining the facility, can I ask that Meath County Council give their assurances that they will take on the responsibility to maintain the upkeep of the park?”
Response: Meath County Council confirms that the “NAUS development” open space, abutting Castle Street, forms part of the land and services requested to be taken in charge by that development. The Council will publish notice of its intention to take that area in charge together with elements of the roads infrastructure serving the town centre development in the 3rd Quarter of 2015. When the lands are in charge, the responsibility for their maintenance will rest with the Local Authority. It is the Planning Authority’s understanding that the Council is currently responsible for the maintenance of the playground at this location. The response was noted.
6.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “I ask Meath County Council to rename the Public Participation Network (PPN) to the District Community Forum, for example: Ashbourne District Community Forum, Ratoath District Community Forum, etc. “
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Section 46 of the Local Government Act 2014 replaced section 127 of the 2001 Local Government Act with a new section which enables local authorities to take all appropriate steps to consult with and promote effective participation of local communities in local government. One of the principal provisions of achieving same is the establishment by each local authority of a Public Participation Network (PPN). In summary, the PPNs replace the former Community Fora (established under the auspices of the County Development Board), as set out in the aforementioned legislation and accordingly, it is not possible, nor appropriate to rename same. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Claire O’Driscoll. A short discussion followed on the operation of the PPN and its benefit to community groups. It was agreed that the success of the PPN would depend on resources allocated to it. The motion was adopted.
7.5 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask that Meath County Council writes a letter to Alan Kelly, the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government on behalf of all Ashbourne Municipal District Councillors requesting that with immediate effect, Irish Water continue the level of customer service that was previously carried out by Meath County Council, specifically with regard to waste water blockages in common public drains and shared public sewers on private lands, until infrastructural defects are surveyed and rectified. Can I also request this motion is shared with all local authorities if adopted.”
The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. An amended motion was proposed by Councillor Joe Bonner and seconded by Councillor Darren O’Rourke as follows: “That Meath County Council writes a letter to Alan Kelly, the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government on behalf of all Ashbourne Municipal District Councillors requesting that Irish Water, or the local authority, accepts responsibility for all sewerage mains and infrastructure maintenance, including those running through non-public property and that appropriate funding be made available and that this motion is shared with all local authorities if adopted.” It was agreed to hold a roll call vote on the amended motion and the result was as follows: Councillor For Against Abstain Absent Cllr. Bonner, Joseph FOR Cllr. Jamal, Suzanne AGAINST Cllr. O’Driscoll, Claire FOR Cllr. O’Rourke, Darren FOR Cllr. Smith, Seán FOR Cllr. Tobin, Alan AGAINST RESULT 4 2 0 0 The amended motion was therefore adopted.
7.6 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask that Ashbourne Municipal District Councillors support a motion calling on all roads classified as local roads or "L" roads have their speed limits reduced from 80km/h to 60km/h.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: In February 2012 the Minister for Transport announced plans for a nationwide review of speed limits to ensure that all speed restrictions are both safe and sensible. This review was driven by an inconsistency in approach between different counties in deciding appropriate limits. Part of this review included an evaluation of a proposal to change the default speed limit of the Local Road network to 60 km/h from the current 80 km/h. Following on from the review the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has decided that the application of a default 60 km/h speed limit to all Local roads is not appropriate and in March 2015 the Department published the new Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits in Ireland. These Guidelines, having regard to Section 9(9) of the 2004 Road Traffic Act, constitute a direction of the Minister for Transport and state that “the use of these Guidelines, a statutory document, is mandatory when setting and managing speed limits.” These Guidelines contain a speed assessment framework for rural single carriageway roads to take into account a number of factors to be considered in assessing a potential change to the default speed limit for a road and notes that “If a speed limit is being raised or lowered whereby the new limit may be inappropriate for the section then appropriate engineering measures should be adopted.” The automatic application therefore of a 60 km/h Special Speed Limit on all Local Roads would not be considered to be in accordance with national Guidelines. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Joe Bonner. The motion was adopted.
Notice of Question 5.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask Meath County Council for an update to a motion from July 2014 regarding Municipal District flags and the installation of flag poles at Ashbourne Civic Offices?”
Response: Fiona Lawless provided a response to the meeting confirming that the area in front of the Civic Offices was not in charge and therefore flag poles could not be erected at that location. Furthermore, the resources to comply with the guidelines in relation to the national flag were not available. It was also pointed out that the County flag could be used as required. Councillor Alan Tobin referred to the motion previously adopted in July 2014 and the need for a Municipal District flag for use at 1916 commemorative events. He also suggested that the national flag be raised at certain times only and suggested that flag poles could be erected on the building. It was agreed that this suggestion would be looked at and an update sought from the Protocol Committee on the original motion adopted.
Notice of Motion 6.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To call on Meath County Council to include the L1007 from Ratoath, through Kilbride to the Dublin border at Mulhuddart and the Rathfeigh Cross to Skryne section of the L1002 /L1005 in the Winter gritting programme.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council salts over 580kms of roads across 10 routes in the county each time icy roads are predicted. All National Primary (120km/h – Priority 1), all National Secondary (80km/h – Priority 1) and approx. 80% of all Regional Routes (80km/h – Priority 1/2) are salted. Approximately 15% (by length) of all roads in the county are treated. The M1 (Dublin - Belfast), M2 (Ashbourne By-Pass), M3 (Clonee - Kells) and M4 (Dublin - Sligo - Galway) are taken care of by private entities. The NRA provides full funding to the Council for the salting of the National Road network. There is however no central funding for the Non-National (Regional & Local) Road Network. The Council makes limited resources available from its maintenance funds towards the salting of the regional routes. The Council’s resources are fully utilised at present and the only way to add a new route to the Winter Maintenance Plan is to drop an existing route. Meath County Council are not in a position to increase resources or to drop an existing route. However Meath County Council carries out full reviews during and at the end of each season for the preparation of the following season’s Network. The Salting Network is agreed with the Members and represents the best prioritised extent of coverage based on road classification, historic weather data, available funding and resources. A map of the salting routes is available on the Council’s website www.meath.ie. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Claire O’Driscoll. A discussion followed on the current Winter Maintenance Plan, how it was developed and the changes required to include the two locations identified in the motion. It was agreed that signage would be erected at the location identified indicating that salting was discontinued beyond that point. The motion was adopted.
6 Notice of Question 6.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask when the wire safety mesh will be replaced at the bridge on Castle Street? I have asked for this to be replaced since June 2014; the mesh is the same specification as the mesh on all the motorway overpasses and is available.”
Response: Meath County Council has received a quotation for these works. However, no funding source has yet been established for the works. The response was noted. It was pointed out that the Transportation Department had assessed the bridge and that structural issues had been identified, which were on the list for repair. Councillor Tobin sought clarification as to whether the mesh could be replaced in the meantime and it was agreed to refer this to Transportation.
7 Notice of Motion 7.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To call on Meath County Council to engage with the NRA and have the sign on the Meath border on the M2 motorway updated with "Make it Meath."
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council will make a preliminary enquiry with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) formerly the NRA regarding having the sign in question updated. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. Councillor Tobin pointed out that the signage referring to the 2011 Solheim Cup needed to be removed and that signage was also needed on the M3 and M1. The motion was adopted.
MEATH COUNTY COUNCIL MEETINGS
9.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To ask Meath County Council to provide emergency provisions including salt, grit, grit bins, sand, sand bags and adequate road closure/diversion/flood signage in all districts including Ashbourne with immediate effect.”
Supporting Information: Following the recent exceptional rainfall event, contingency requirements in the Municipal Districts have being reviewed in the context of the Council’s Emergency Plan arrangements. Following a short discussion, the motion was unanimously adopted.
8.5 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin "I ask that Meath Co. Council and Meath Tourism with the help of all Councillors declare County Meath as Ireland's first "Cycle Friendly County". This would include putting together a group to coordinate a plan which would include links between all principal municipal towns, heritage sites, Boyne Valley and Navan‐Kingscourt greenway. I also call on the Council to install proper signage to increase safety of cyclists so as to attract cycle tourism into the county from all of our surrounding counties. "
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. Fáilte Ireland has produced a National Strategy for the Development of Irish Cycle Tourism in 2007 and Market Research in 2013 which informs how we market Ireland for cycling tourism. The NTA has defined a coherent cycle network for the GDA. Significant progress in Meath to date has opened up the Boyne Greenway as an important cycling connection to the Battle of the Boyne, while work continues to connect with Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre and eventually to Slane and beyond. There are also proposals to develop the Boyneside Trail to link the Boyne Greenway to the coast. The Navan to Kingscourt Project, having completed the feasibility stage, will in the future be a valuable project while cycle lanes throughout the county have significantly added to the cycling amenity. We are well underway to developing the cycling infrastructure of the county as another tourism and local activity and it would be opportune at this point to invite Fáilte Ireland to meet with the Council, perhaps through an SPC, to advise on whether there may be a designation available which would assist in the promotion and marketing of cycling tourism for Meath. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Paddy Meade. The motion was unanimously adopted.
8.11 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “This Council calls on Minister Alex White TD and the Department of Communications Energy & Natural Resources to scrap the controversial and dangerous Eircode postcode design. Furthermore it asks that a free and open tender be held for the design of a modern smart postcode with integrated geolocation data, that is simple & inexpensive to adopt & maintain and that offers emergency services a single code format for both dwelling and non‐dwelling incidents.”
The motion was withdrawn.
7.10 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “This Council calls on Minister Alex White T.D. and the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources to scrap the controversial and confusing Eircode design, and asks that a free and open tender, that does not exclude small business, be held for the design of a modern, smart, structured postcode with integrated geolocation (GPS) data.”
9.7 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin (deferred from April meeting) “This Council calls on Minister Alex White T.D. and the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources to scrap the controversial and confusing Eircode design, and asks that a free and open tender, that does not exclude small business, be held for the design of a modern, smart, structured postcode with integrated geolocation (GPS) data.”
The motion, proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Paddy Meade, was unanimously adopted.
9.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To ask Meath County Council to ringfence all monies collected for dog licences and fines etc. to be used exclusively for supporting initiatives including dog foul bins, signage including dangerous breeds and education services. This money should also be used to support the pound as well as control measures including neutering.”
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. While the merits of this motion are fully accepted in trying to promote responsible dog ownership, it is pointed out that the Council each year spends in the region of €150,000 from its own resources in the running of the Dog Control Service i.e. expenditure exceeds income by this amount. There are now two Dog Wardens, but one recruited in 2014 also combines Litter Warden Duties. In 2014, a total of 4676 Dog Licences were issued either from the Post Offices or directly from the Council Offices. The Wardens dealt with 583 stray and unwanted dogs in 2014, the vast majority of which ended up in the Council’s Dog Pound at Greenpark Dunshaughlin, which is operated under contract with Kanine Management Services Ltd. Only 22 dogs were put to sleep in 2014 with the remainder either re‐homed, reclaimed by their owners or transferred to Dog Welfare Groups. In addition to their duties associated with stray and unwanted dogs, the Wardens also engage in enforcement activities particularly with regard to licensing requirements and dog fouling. With the benefit of the second Dog Warden, it is now proposed to intensify activity in this area and it is intended to work on a blitz basis with regard to dog licences which should lead to an increase in the number of licences purchased, and a greater presence at amenity areas such as public parks, beaches etc. in respect of the menace of dog fouling. The need for and efficiency of special dog fouling bins will be examined on a case by case basis. Pooper Scooper bags are already in place at a number of locations throughout the County. The Council has in recent years been involved in a number of Education and Awareness campaigns which seek to promote responsible dog ownership. This includes the installation of signage and audio devices highlighting the need to clean up after your dog, as well as support for the Green Dog Walkers programme. Funding for such measures is provided for in the Environment Department’s education and awareness budget. The Council has participated in the Limited Neutering and Microchipping Programme 2015 which is supported by Dogs Trust – new Regulations have been introduced providing for the microchipping and registration of all dogs by the 31st March 2016. Further enhancements of responsible dog ownership are provided for in the Parks and Playgrounds Bye Laws adopted in 2014, which includes responsibilities for control of dangerous dog, as defined in the Control of Dogs Regulations. Dog fouling will also be addressed in the proposed Laytown/ Bettystown Beach Management Plan. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Sarah Reilly. Councillor Sarah Reilly proposed, seconded by Councillor Maria Murphy that a letter should be written to the DoECLG seeking a review of S.22 of the Litter Pollution Act, 1997/2003 Following a lengthy debate, the motion was adopted and it was agreed that the matter would be referred to the Environmental SPC for consideration.
9.4 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “I ask that Meath County Council undertake a further review of the website meath.ie in order to include new features like detailed district maps and introduce a mobile enabled design so that the website can be used on the go and in particular by visitors to our county”
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. Meath County Council has recently extended its use of social media to include Facebook. In addition, a review of content and services on meath.ie is underway as part of a planned redesign of the website. All Departments in the Council will review additional information that could be published via the website and other channels. Members can then provide links via Facebook etc. to content of interest. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Gerry O’ Connor. Following a debate, the motion was noted.
8.5 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “In light of Meath Co. Council sending out reminder letters for dog licence renewals, was there an increase in licences purchased as a result.”
Response: In the course of discussion on previous Notices of Motions / Question relating to Dog Control and including dog licensing, indications were given that various measures were to be initiated to increase the number of Dog Licences being purchased and with the resulting increased income stream being re-invested in promoting responsible dog ownership. A number of measures has been initiated in recent months including an increase in visits by the Dog Wardens into housing estates on an area by area basis, the carrying out of licence checks, the issuing of 10 day notices as well as renewal notices where licences are nearing expiry, and enforcement action in a number of cases for non-payment of fines etc. This action has seen a circa 24% increase in the number of licences purchased in the first six months of 2015 (636) compared to the same period in 2014 (492). As resources and workloads permit in the Environment Department, it is proposed to continue and intensify this level of activity to further increase the number of licences being purchased. A Business Case has been prepared at National level for the automation of the dog licensing system into a single national database, which it is suggested will lead to greater efficiencies in the licensing system as well as both savings and potential revenue increases for Local Authorities. A number of working groups have been established to progress this system. Noted by the Councillors.
9.6 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “In response to previous motions regarding anti-social behaviour, I call on Meath Co. Council to follow other Councils and introduce "bye laws on the prohibition of consumption of intoxicating liquor on roads and public places."
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. Where it is seen fit in the interest of the common good of a local community to introduce Bye Laws prohibiting the consumption of intoxicating liquor in public places, the statutory powers are provided for in Part 19 of the Local Government Act 2001 and the 2006 Bye Law Regulations and with adoption being a reserved function of the Elected Members of the Council. Navan Town Council was one of a number of Local Authorities who adopted such Bye Laws in 2011 following the prescribed public consultation process and including extensive consultation with An Garda Síochána – following the abolition of the Town Councils these Bye Laws are now deemed to be Bye Laws under the control of Meath County Council. While all such Bye Laws provide for implementation by “authorised persons”, the practical enforcement of them predominantly rests with the Gardaí having regard to anti-social behaviour often associated with the consumption of alcohol in public places late at night and on weekends. For this reason it is suggested that any proposal to introduce such Bye Laws to other Towns in the County should first be the subject of discussion with the Gardaí and it is considered that the appropriate forum for this would be the Joint Policing Committee, the first meeting of which is scheduled for the 17th September. It is pointed out that the Meath Parks and Playgrounds Bye Laws adopted in 2014 makes it an offence for persons to: “Have in their possession, in a park, for the purpose of supply or consumption any alcohol, save with the permission in writing of the Council and subject to such conditions as the Council may prescribe. No person shall have in their possession, for the purpose of consumption any alcohol except in an area designated by the Council for that purpose.” Following a debate on the matter, the motion, proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Paddy Meade was unanimously adopted.
8.5 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask Meath Co. Council if Eircode or company working on behalf of Eircode (Autoaddress) has asked to access or is accessing the Electoral Register in order to obtain information to assign an Eircode and if so what implications will this have on citizens data protection rights?”
Response The Electoral Register is put on public display in draft form in November each year and the live Electoral Register is published in February each year. The Register may be inspected at Council offices, libraries, post offices and Garda Stations. An edited version of the Electoral Register may be purchased by companies or organisations who wish to undertake market research or publicity campaigns. With regard to the inclusion of eircodes on the Register, the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) met with the DoECLG to determine its requirements for Eircodes from the iReg and CheckTheRegister applications. All Local authorities were requested to provide the LGMA with a copy of their iReg databases in March 2014. A full amalgamated address database for the entire Country was then forwarded to the Postcode Management Licence Holder to apply Eircodes to all the dwellings from the perspective of iReg and Check the Register the LGMA has modified the database so that the Eircodes field can be added to each dwelling. The Eircode is part of the printed Draft Register alongside each matched electors. Eircodes will print onto the Polling Cards for the general election (if after 15th February). It is also now a search field on the www.checktheregister.ie which is fed from the Meath database. Response noted by the Councillors – Councillor Tobin sought clarification on the matter, which was duly provided.