Motions and Questions Ashbourne MD and Meath County Council Meetings
ASHBOURNE MD MEETINGS
6.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Why did the alarm system not work when there was a malfunction at Millennium pumping station recently (30th September 2015)?”
Response: Any fault in the alarm system would now have been repaired. In relation to any future Water Service issues raised, Councillors are reminded that they should log the matter directly with the Irish Water Local Representatives Support Desk. These would include: Blocked Sewers and other sewerage issues… No Water… Low Water Pressure… Water Leak… Burst Watermain… Water Quality. As Irish Water is now the statutory authority in relation to the delivery of water services this is a procedure that they now require. All calls logged via the Local Representatives Support Desk are then directed by IW to the Council for investigation and the results of same will be reported back to the Councillor by the IW support desk. One of the main purposes of this to ensure that IW have visibility of all calls received by the local representatives. Only queries regarding water service activities such as Well Grants, Group Schemes & Water/ Waste Water applications should be referred to the Water Services Department for a direct response. The response was noted. In response to issues raised by Councillor Tobin, it was agreed to submit a reminder to Water Services in relation to the issue with the overflow.
7.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To ask Meath County Council to consider the introduction of a 'no right turn' when exiting Castle St (North) onto the R135 to aid traffic flow at peak times until the junction has signalled traffic light system.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council proposes to prioritise the installation of the traffic signalisation system in 2016 at the junction of Castle Street North and the R135. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. The motion was adopted.
7.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To ask Meath County Council to consider creating a one-way system on part of the Milltown/Donaghmore Road from the school drop-off point before Milltown Bridge to the Rathbeale Road (R125) - this would have to include public consultation with local residents, the golf club and farmers in the area.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council understands that the purpose of this motion is to stimulate debate at the January Municipal District meeting and a formal response is not required at this time. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. Following a short discussion, it was agreed that safety was a priority at this location and that Nicholas Whyatt should be invited to attend a future meeting to discuss the possible solutions at this location. The motion was noted.
7.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “With regard to the Department of Education & Skills school build in Killegland: 1) Has an agreement been reached for access through Johnswood Road giving access through the campus? 2) When are road safety/traffic calming works scheduled to take place?”
Response: The road from its junction with the R135 is only partially in charge of Meath County Council. Traffic calming works are proposed to be in place to coincide with the opening of the school. The stretch of road immediately adjacent to the school campus is in private ownership. The agreement of the owners will have to be secured to complete the road and the proposed traffic management. Meath County Council intends to meet with the owners to seek agreement. The response was noted.
8.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin "That Meath County Council includes Alderbrook main trunk road in this year’s work programme, as the traffic tables need to be replaced and cycle lanes extended from R135 through to Garden City linking St. Declan's National School.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council regularly receives proposals for new works which are logged on a data base. The cost of the proposed works on the data base far exceeds the funding and resources available. Meath County Council proposes to draft a 3 year works programme in consultation with the members for each MD, commencing in 2016, for works such as these. This programme will be based on the prioritisation of schemes following an engineering screening/evaluation assessment. The number of schemes on the programme will be determined by the funding available. The items raised in your correspondence will be added to the data base and considered for the schedule having regard to available budgets. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. The motion was noted.
8.4 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “That Meath County Council displays information boards with pictorial samples at all public green spaces, parks and playgrounds with information on dangerous dog breeds and clearly display the Control of Dogs Regulations 1998.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: In July 2014, Meath County Council adopted Bye Laws for regulating the use and enjoyment of parks, playgrounds, playing pitches, and multi use games areas owned by controlled or in the charge of the Council. The following are specific conditions in the Bye Laws relating to dogs: Dogs brought into the park must be on a leash and every person bringing a dog into the park shall be responsible for its conduct and shall be liable for any damage or injury which may be caused by it. Any person bringing a dog into the park must remove it from the park if so directed by an authorised person. Every person in charge of a dog in the park shall prevent it from causing annoyance to any person using the park or worrying, chasing, injuring or disturbing any animals, birds or other creatures in the park. If a dog defecates in the park, the person in charge of the dog shall remove the faeces. Guide dogs for the blind are exempt from this Bye- Law. A person shall not cause or allow any dangerous dog, as defined in the Control of Dogs (Restriction of certain dogs) Regulations, 1991 and 1998 or any subsequent amending Regulations or Act, in their charge to enter or remain in the park unless such dog is kept on a strong lead (only up to 2 metres long) by a person over 16 years of age who is capable of controlling them. The dog/s must be securely muzzled and no person shall, in any portion of the park where a notice prohibiting the admission of dogs, (other than guide dogs or dogs used by members of An Garda Síochána in the course of their duties) is exhibited, cause or allow any dog in their charge to enter or remain there. Signs have been ordered and are already in place at some locations to advise dog owners and users of these facilities of the provisions of the Bye Laws and the Council will monitor their effectiveness and the need for the display of additional information on a site by site basis. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. The motion was adopted.
5 Notice of Question 5.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask for an update on the much needed parking bye laws in the Ashbourne area?”
Response: In a previous Notice of Motion, it was advised in the response that to implement such a proposal would require significant capital and operational funding. On further examination of the issue with the Members, it was understood the issues of concern related to infringements (in relation to Road Traffic Act) by motorists. Meath County Council liaised with the Gardaí in relation to these concerns and is now satisfied that the Gardaí can enforce such offences under the Roads Traffic Acts. The response was noted.
6 Notice of Motion 6.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “That Meath County Council considers the planting of 31 native Irish tree species in the following locations and with significance and meaning as outlined: 10 trees from the Pillo hotel to Rath Cross junction; 10 trees from the monument to the site of the old RIC barracks. (Please see upgrade works maps Phase 2 sheets 1 & 2 of 6). The significance of these twenty trees is to remember the 20 Fingal Old IRA men that went to Dublin; On the opposite side of the road, 8 trees to commemorate the RIC officers killed; and 3 trees separately for the civilians killed.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: The drawing referred to by Councillor Tobin is related to the Part 8 scheme for the Ashbourne refurbishment works. There appears to be 25 trees proposed as part of the refurbishment works in the locations indicated by Councillor Tobin. We would suggest that if the Council were disposed to agreeing to Councillor Tobin’s request that the most straight forward approach would be to amend the landscaping design to reflect Councillor Tobin’s suggestions. Please note that the NTA have funded the majority of the works in relation to Ashbourne and therefore further sections are dependent on funding being made available. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. Councillor Alan Tobin pointed out that there were 2 civilians and not 3 as outlined in the motion. The motion was adopted.
6.2 Submitted by Councillors Alan Tobin and Seán Smith “To ask Ashbourne Municipal District Councillors to support a town twinning proposal with Corcubión, Galicia, Spain, the twinning to be based on the following four headings: cultural, musical, linguistic and trade.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council’s Draft Twinning Protocol is still being developed and it is anticipated that it will be brought to the June Protocol Committee for discussion. Once the Twinning Protocol has been finalised, consideration can be given to this request. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. Councillor Alan Tobin circulated a report and confirmed that he and Councillor Smith were due to visit Corcubión in June. The motion was adopted.
6.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Will a bond be released when Killegland Street and Declan Street are taken in charge and are there plans available for those streets which will include improvements which are needed immediately, for example disabled parking spaces, at least 2 are needed at the library and the Prosper centre for adults with special needs and proper pedestrian crossings, at least 4 crossings are needed with correct lighting and signals?”
Response: I refer to the notice of question from Cllr Alan Tobin in respect of additional works sought for Killegland Street and Declan Street. At the outset a developer is required to complete his development in accordance with the plans and particulars submitted when he sought planning permission. In turn the obligation that rests on the developer is no more and no less than the particulars of his development and the design standards and specifications applicable at that time. In this case, the Developer / receiver has completed the development in accordance with his planning permission and Meath Co Council is satisfied that the appropriate standards have been met In accordance with its taking in charge protocol. The details of the development are being examined by Irish Water and a recommendation to take the development in charge will shortly be presented to the members for determination. 75% of the bond has been released and the remaining 25% shall be released on completion of the formal taking in charge function of the Council. Meath Co Council may decide in due course to provide the additional infrastructure depending on the availability of funding as suggested by Cllr Tobin. The Council cannot require these additional works to be undertaken by the developer and the developer has no legal obligations to undertake such additional works. The liability by the surety under the terms of the bond is limited to the plans and particulars as approved by the Council under the terms of the relevant planning permissions. The response was noted.
7.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “I call on all Ashbourne Municipal District Councillors to support the writing of a letter to Bus Eireann, the NTA (Now TII and specifically Michael Warnock)and the Minister for Transport)on behalf of all customers of Bus Eireann from Duleek, Kilmoon X, Ashbourne, Ratoath and The Ward, to immediately revert back to the old timetable due to serious failings in the service promised, untold distress to people with disabilities and special needs and the very real danger of a fatality due to lack of safe bus stops, drop off points at junctions with speed limits of 100km/h and the illumination of pick up/drop off points in rural areas.”
The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. An amended motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal, as follows: “I call on all Ashbourne Municipal District Councillors to support the writing of a letter to Michael Warnock-Smith, Head of Public Transport Regulation Division, National Transport Authority, inviting him to a meeting of Ashbourne Municipal District to raise issues on behalf of all customers of Bus Éireann from Duleek, Kilmoon Cross, Ashbourne, Ratoath and The Ward, and requesting that Bus Éireann immediately revert back to the old timetable due to serious failings in the service promised, untold distress to people with disabilities and special needs and the very real danger of a fatality due to lack of safe bus stops, drop off points at junctions with speed limits of 100km/h and the illumination of pick up/drop off points in rural areas.” The amended motion was adopted.
7.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask Meath County Council to look into and report back on the purchasing of part of Folio MH2645 as part of the Linear Park and as a new works depot for the Ashbourne District .“
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council will look into this. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. The earlier discussion was referred to and it was confirmed that the location of a depot was a matter for Transportation. The motion was noted.
8 Notice of Question 8.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask Meath County Council for an adequate explanation from Irish Water as to why they are delaying the 'taking in charge' of Killegland and Declan streets Ashbourne and can I reiterate that these delays are creating huge problems with implementing basic infrastructure like disability spaces and safe pedestrian crossings.”
Response: Following the establishment of Irish Water all planning authorities were required to complete a Memorandum of Understanding with Irish Water on the procedures to be followed when taking developments in charge. Heretofore, the Planning Authority surveyed each estate or development and arranged for works to be completed prior to the estate being taken in charge. The Planning Department coordinated the survey with external contractors and other department of the Council. Essentially it was an “in house” process where the Local Authority controlled and co-ordinated the full process. The establishment of Irish Water changed the fundamental scope of the taking in charge process for Local Authorities. On completion of the taking in charge process, the Local Authority takes control of roads, footpaths, open spaces, public lighting and surface water drainage infrastructure while piped water and waste water services are vested in Irish Water. The terms of the Memorandum of Understanding require compilation of additional data on piped water services These requirements necessitate input from Irish Water and this has resulted in some delays in progressing applications through the statutory process. You will be aware that the local service teams populated by former Meath County Council staff operate on the basis of service level contracts and are managed by Irish Water. The Taking in charge protocol requires engagement with these local service teams and Irish Water itself. Meath County Council’s Planning Department is in ongoing contact with our colleagues in Irish Water and we will endeavour to impress upon them the urgency of this matter. However it must be acknowledged that Irish Water is a separate utility subject to its own protocols and approvals over which Meath County Council does not have direct control. The response was noted.
9.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “I call on Meath County Council to retrofit LED lighting in all public lights in the town. I would like to see this introduced as a pilot project to see how much the county can save in the area of public lighting in a town centre with a population above 10,000. Following on from this, I ask the Council to consider branding Ashbourne a 'Smart Town' so as to initiate the process of making Ashbourne an economically and environmentally conscious district.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: The Public Lighting Department of the Council has retro fitted approximately 900 LED luminaires into the Council’s public lighting infrastructure since 2011, which consisted of a number of pilot schemes utilising LED technology and industry best practice for external lighting infrastructure. These works have generated on average 50% per electricity savings per annum along with savings on general maintenance costs. The Council continues to undertake energy efficient public lighting upgrades to its existing public lighting stock however these works are restricted due to funding limitations. The Council is currently working in conjunction with a national steering group in relation to a long term national strategy for energy efficient retrofitting and asset management for public lighting. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. A short discussion followed on the national project underway, an update on which is due to be given at the next meeting of the Environment SPC, the adequacy of the lighting on Main Street, the need for a lighting upgrade from the bridge to the community centre and the visibility of the cycle lanes during wet weather. The motion was adopted.
9.4 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “In light of the new pay by weight regime, I call on Meath County Council to immediately consider purchasing a site in the Ashbourne area to facilitate a dedicated public recycling facility.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: The provision of a Civic Amenity / Recycling Centre for Ashbourne was raised on a number of occasions and, most recently, during consideration of the Council’s 5 year Capital programme. As advised in the course of such discussions, the estimated cost of providing such a facility, and excluding site acquisition and operating costs, would be in the region of €1.2m. However, no provision has been made in the said programme for this facility, nor is any departmental funding available. It is understood that, in addition to the use of the Bottle Bank in Ashbourne, many local residents use the 4 Civic Amenity Sites in the County (one private), as well as five such facilities located in the neighbouring counties of Louth & Fingal. It is pointed out that, while Pay by Weight (PBW) is being introduced for kerbside household waste collection from the 1st July 2016, this charging mechanism will, subject to Regulations being introduced, also be extended to Civic Amenity Sites for residual waste (black bin waste) - there will be no obligation on Civic Amenity Site operators to charge on a per kg basis for recycling or organic waste. The Environment Department proposes to closely monitor the usage of the three Council owned Civic Amenity Sites following the introduction of Pay by Weight. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Joe Bonner. An amended motion, as follows, was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Joe Bonner: “In light of the new pay by weight regime, I call on Meath County Council to include the procurement and delivery of a civic amenity site in the Ashbourne area as an objective in the Local Area Plan.” The amended motion was adopted.
6 Notice of Question 6.1 Submitted by Councillors Alan Tobin and Suzanne Jamal “Who is responsible for the inspection of timber boards on balconies in apartments throughout the county?”
Response: Construction standards in Ireland are given effect in the Building regulations and the Building Control regulations. These instruments deal with design standards, methods of construction, fire safety requisites and ancillary matters to construction activity. The 2014 Building regulations introduced a new regulatory regime whereby a person or company proposing to construct a building shall engage the services of a suitably qualified individual to design the building. The developer must the appoint a competent builder to undertake the works and retain the services of a suitably qualified individual ( the assigned certifier) to certify that the building is being constructed in accordance with the design and in line with industry best practice. When all these stages have been completed the developer will submit a completion certificate to the Planning Authority. A building control authority is required to carry out during construction inspections on not less than 15% of the new buildings commenced in each calendar year. Following construction the developer/ owner- occupier as the case may be, is responsible for the maintenance of the structure. The Building Control Authority may request the owner to demonstrate compliance with the relevant building standards, if the complaint is received within 5 years of completion of the building. In summary, the responsibility to demonstrate compliance with Building control standards rests with the owner at all times. The response was noted.
7 Notice of Motion 7.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To introduce a "special 30km speed limit" in the following areas: Castle St, Ashbourne, L-50192-0; Johnswood Rd, Ashbourne; Milltown Rd Ashbourne from Batchelor's Walk to Milltown Bridge; Hunter' Ln Ashbourne; Racehill, Ashbourne.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: The Transport Section of Meath County Council is currently finalising its assessment of the 258 number submissions received regarding the county wide Special Speed Limit review. Castle Street, Johnswood Road and Milltown Road in Ashbourne are already on the schedule of areas for review and it is intended that staff from the Transport Section will meet with the elected members of each Municipal District in the coming weeks to discuss any proposed speed limit changes. It should be noted that any new Special Speed Limit will have to be in accordance with the National Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits in Ireland. Hunter’s Lane and Racehill in Ashbourne are not contained within the current schedule of submissions received and these locations will be added for review as part of a subsequent speed limit review for County Meath. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. Councillor Alan Tobin highlighted his concerns, particularly as they relate to the schools. It was agreed to invite Nicholas Whyatt to the November meeting to discuss this and other relevant issues – Councillors were asked to submit issues of concern in advance. The motion was adopted.
7.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “With increases in illegal dumping reaching crisis point across the district, can I ask Meath County Council Environment section with specific input from Ashbourne District Councillors to produce a document to be distributed to householder explaining rules and regulations on waste, fines that can be imposed, responsible recycling and where waste can be brought and prices charged.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: While there is no specific funding allocation for the provision and dissemination of such a document, it is pointed out that education and awareness are already integral components of the Council’s anti-dumping and litter prevention programmes. The Council’s Education & Awareness Officer, and other staff assigned to the Environment Department, are constantly involved in promoting the anti-dumping message and raising awareness of the economic and environmental costs associated with illegal dumping as well as the personal costs/fines which may be incurred and as provided for in the Waste Management Legislation. As the Members will be aware, many anti litter and dumping initiatives are organised on an ongoing basis and including the schools whereby, through awareness raising, it is hoped to shape the habits of the current and future generations. The Environmental campaigns involve a wide use of social media and other such platforms in promoting anti dumping and littering messages and other mechanisms used include advertisements in cinemas, support for recycling days at local level including Ashbourne and Ratoath, press releases, consultation with particular bodies including the IFA, etc. Such campaigns also highlight the locations in the county where materials can be brought including Civic Amenity Sites, Bottle and Clothes banks etc. It will be appreciated that education and awareness on its own will not serve to deter some of the small number involved in such activity and while the levels of proof in dumping cases required by the Courts is quite high, it is the Council’s policy to vigorously enforce the provisions of the Waste Management legislation to the greatest extent possible and to include seeking orders to have all offending material removed from the site. It is recognised that local Councillors play a very active and hands on role in promoting and supporting environmental groups at local level including in clean ups, etc and any supports possible will be given by the Council in this regard. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal. A short discussion followed on the benefits of circulating such documentation, the costs and effectiveness of enforcement and the role of the local authority in carrying out spot checks in relation to domestic waste disposal. It was agreed to provide Councillors with information on the number and outcome of related court cases. The motion was noted.
8 Notice of Motion 8.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To ask the Transportation/Planning Departments to engage with local taxi firms and businesses to establish a taxi rank on Broadmeadow Street.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Meath County Council is currently in discussions with the National Transport Authority with a view to a county wide outcome. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. The motion was adopted.
8.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Following a RTA in Kilbride Village, can Meath County Council look at the feasibility of putting a roundabout at junction to Wotton Road, Ratoath Road, outside the church (L 1007-13 and L 1009).”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: Transportation Planning & Design section have to discuss the situation with Transportation Operations section before considering the matter. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. The motion was adopted
5.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “Can I ask for the following information on all properties on both sides of the roadside on the R135 south of the 9 mile stone roundabout to the Dublin border and north of the roundabout to Rathfeigh Cross: How many planning applications have been refused? How many retentions have been refused and what action has been taken? Can we be provided with a map detailing what properties are currently paying commercial rates?”
Response: The scope of information sought in the first two parts of this Notice of Question is voluminous and Planning currently do not have the resources to furnish this level of detail for the December Municipal District meeting. It is confirmed that the Planning Enforcement team is liaising with An Garda Síochána in respect of a number of sites on the N2. There is a diverse range of planning non compliances along this road, many of which relate to lands in the ownership of long established residents of the area. While the assistance of An Garda Síochána is required in respect of some sites, the Council is also pursuing other unauthorised developments on the N2. The Planning department will make staff available at the January Municipal District meeting to discuss these matters, if required. It is suggested that this item be discussed “in committee”. Should the Members enquiries relate to particular sites, the Planning Authority will be available to offer advices in the interim. With regard to the third part in this Notice of Question, Members are asked to note that there is no correlation between the payment of commercial rates and the planning status of any particular site or business thereon. Meath County Council cannot give out information on what properties are currently paying rates; this is commercially sensitive information and to do so would have serious data protection implications. However, it is in the public domain to view what properties are rated in the whole country. The can be viewed via an interactive map on the website of the Valuations office. Here you can zoom in on any particular area (or road) and rated properties are signified by a green dot. If you click on the dot information on that property is displayed. Please paste the following into a web browser (do not use Internet Explorer) https://maps.valoff.ie/maps/VO.html, this will bring you to the part of the website that the map is contained. The response was noted. Councillor Alan Tobin proposed that, as per the response, staff from the Planning Department attend the January meeting to discuss, “in committee”, relevant issues and this was seconded by Councillor Suzanne Jamal.
6.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “That two ramps be installed adjacent to the parking area outside the playground gate on Castle Street.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: As part of a planning application opposite this site, Meath County Council will be erecting pedestrian lights and raised crossing at this location next year. This is subject to a special contribution on the developer. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. The motion was adopted.
6.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “That proper pedestrian crossing facilities be provided at the Thomas Ashe roundabout, Castle Street.”
Supporting information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered: There are currently no proposals to upgrade the pedestrian crossing facilities at the Thomas Ashe roundabout. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Seán Smith. The motion was adopted.
MEATH COUNTY COUNCIL MEETINGS
7.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “With reference to the Control of Litter Act and due to increases in illegal dumping of household waste, is the Litter Warden the only member of Meath Co. Council staff that can sift through waste looking for evidence to enable a successful prosecution?”
Response The Litter Pollution Acts 1997 – 2009 imposes an obligation on Local Authorities to take all practicable measures for the prevention, control and disposal of litter in its functional area, including the authorisation of such persons to perform litter related functions on behalf of the local authority. This is the basis for the appointment of Litter Wardens by Meath County Council and all other Local Authorities. In Meath, various Officials have been authorised to carry out Litter Control duties and this includes one full time and one part time (shared with Dog control duties) Litter Wardens who work closely with authorised officers under the Waste Management Acts in investigating litter and illegal dumping complaints. The Litter Wardens, in addition to their investigative duties, also work closely with the Environmental Education Awareness Officers in engaging with various residents’ associations, community groups and schools in promoting co-operation and assistance in dealing with litter related issues at local level as well as increasing awareness and enforcement. The Litter Act allows such authorised persons or the Gardaí to issue on-the-spot fines of €150 and if the case goes to court a maximum fine of €4000 can be imposed. The Courts may also require a person convicted to pay the local authority's costs and expenses in investigating the offence and any costs incurred in bringing the prosecution. Most complaints about incidences of littering come by way of phone calls, e-mails or from other social media channels from members of the public and, in most cases, such complaints come after the offenders have departed the scene. In order not to put members of the public through the inconvenience of having to give evidence in court, complainants are encouraged, should they encounter bags dumped and notice evidence in litter, to leave it in situ for presentation to an authorised officer so that photographic evidence and documents can be removed by litter warden for enforcement proceedings. Where the complainant witnesses littering or dumping first hand, they are asked to give a statement setting out the pertinent details and may be required to go to Court where the charge is contested. Noted by the Councillors.
9.3 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “I call on Meath County Council to introduce a Bye-Law which prohibits Sulky road racing in the interest of road safety and animal welfare.”
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. The Members at the Council meeting held in November 2012 adopted the County Meath Control of Horses Bye-Laws which were made in accordance with the Control of Horses Act 1996. Part 2 Section 4 of the Bye-Laws under the heading “Exclusion of horses from certain public places” provides in particular: “The Council considering that horses are causing a nuisance or danger to persons or damage to property within its functional area, hereby prohibits a person from having, keeping, riding or driving a horse in a public place, other than in the circumstances and places described in column (1) of Schedule A to these Bye-Laws by a person of a class of persons mentioned in column (2) thereof, opposite the description to which it relates. While the bye-laws don’t specifically make reference to “Sulky Road Racing”, the Council’s legal interpretation is that sulky road racing is covered in “driving a horse in a public place”. Under Section 8, any person who contravenes a Bye-Law shall be guilty of an offence the penalties for which are set out under Section 9 (i.e. Summary Convictions and or fixed payment Notice). The Bye Laws also provide that an authorised person or a member of the Gardaí may seize and detain any horse where he has reason to suspect that the horse is being kept, or ridden or driven in the control area under these Bye-Laws. The Council is aware that the Gardaí have an issue with this type of activity and notwithstanding the adoption of the Bye Laws, it is suggested that the risks and dangers associated with such activity on public roads are ones that are best dealt with by the Gardaí as part of their implementation of the Road Traffic Legislation. The Gardaí have asked that there would be consultation with them in considering this matter and in determining the most appropriate mechanism for addressing any irresponsible behaviour associated with this kind of activity, and such consultation will be arranged. The motion, proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Gerry O’ Connor, was unanimously adopted.
9.4 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin "That Meath County Council leads by example in supporting animal welfare and agrees to ban all circuses using wild animals in any capacity for entertainment purposes in any area controlled by Meath County Council. This Council calls on the government to consider a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in Ireland as proposed in other European Countries."
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. In recent years, there has been a significant global shift in attitudes towards the use of wild animals in circus shows, and a growing number of countries have banned the practice. The Netherlands recently became the ninth EU Country to introduce a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses – there is also political commitment in a number of other countries to such a ban. In Ireland and the UK, the practice remains legal and, while the Minister for Agriculture in 2014 stated that he did not intend to ban the use of wild animals in circuses but instead suggested the need to introduce a Code of Practice under the newly-introduced Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, no such code or new measures have been introduced as yet. A number of animal welfare groups including the ISPCA are strongly supporting the need for a complete ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in Ireland and point to the holding of wild animals such as elephants, tigers, lions, zebra and sea lions, in substandard and inadequate conditions for the sole purpose of performing for circus audiences. While the Council can seek to impose conditions as part of any rental or leasing arrangements for Circuses which are being held on its lands including the banning of the use of wild animals in shows, it is suggested that pending the introduction of legislation at National level or the aforementioned Code of Practice, it is not in a position to introduce any restrictions beyond that. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Sharon Tolan. Following a lengthy debate it was noted, as outlined in the supporting information that the Council can only seek to impose conditions as part of any rental or leasing arrangements for Circuses which are being held on its lands. In that context, the motion was adopted.
8.6 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “How many housing units under the Part V obligation are 1) lying idle throughout the county and have not been delivered or transferred 2) why have they not been transferred 3) when do the Council expect them to be delivered?”
Response 1) Throughout the county, there are 11 houses outstanding to be delivered under Part V which have been built to various stages of completion. 2) There is a number of issues as to why these units have not been transferred to the Council, including Developers in Receivership, sites being sold on to new developers, structural guarantees not being submitted to the Council and other legal issues. 3) The Council’s law agents are actively engaged in all cases to try and secure the transfer of these units as quickly as possible. The Council is not in a position to advise as to how long this will take. Noted by the Councillors.
8.7 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “How many disabled drivers are there in Co. Meath? Reason for question: to ascertain how many disability parking spaces should be provided countywide.”
Response Meath County Council does not hold any information with regard to the number of disabled drivers in the County Meath. The EU parking permit is issued on behalf of the Department of Transport by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland. Noted by the Councillors.
9.4 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “In light of the overwhelming success of dog foul bins in Dunboyne, can I ask that Meath County Council changes its policy on the collection of foul from bins to facilitate for the introduction of the bins in all urban areas.”
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. There have been many calls in recent months for the provision of special dog fouling bins at various locations. From an environmental point of view and in promoting responsible dog ownership, these calls are welcome. However, the Council’s response is that the Municipal Districts do not have the resources to empty additional bins, but would consider providing free doggie bags at strategic locations. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Gerry O’ Connor. Following a lengthy debate, the motion was adopted subject to the supporting information.
9.5 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “With the economic confidence increasing, can I ask that a committee from Ashbourne and Ratoath Districts with help, and resources from Meath Co. Council, set up a cross county forum with Fingal Co. Council to encourage cooperation in infrastructural projects, broadband, water and waste water, public amenities and help represent citizens that straddle the border areas with matter including crime, theft, isolation and illegal dumping.”
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. Meath County Council already has formal contact arrangements in place with Fingal County Council with regard to a range of cross county border proposals, including the Council’s Economic Strategy, respective County Development Plan proposals, National Roads Infrastructure etc. The Council can now explore the possibility of setting up other cross county boundary contacts in relation to some of the matters referred to in the Notice of Motion. However, it should be noted that, in some of instances, Meath and Fingal operate in different regional structures and also that some of the matters identified may be the responsibility of national bodies rather than being under the remit of either Local Authority. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Joe Bonner. Following a lengthy debate on the matter it was agreed that the motion would be deferred to the July meeting.
9.15 Submitted Councillor Alan Tobin “Considering the severe impact both immediate and long term that a possible UK exit from the European Union would have, can I ask that Meath County Councillors and Meath County Council, which believes profoundly in the EU model and its principles, ask all citizens from Meath to encourage their families and friends in the UK to consider voting to remain in the EU. We (Councillors) also ask that Meath Co Council write to the Meath Association in London asking for their support as well using social media locally. Can we also request this motion is shared with all City and County councils in the Irish State to send a solid message for Remain across the U.K. It is vital for the future economic and social viability and sustainability of these islands”.
The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Joe Bonner The Cathaoirleach advised that this emergency motion was discussed at the Protocol Committee and that it was agreed that there would be no debate on the issues and, if unanimous agreement was reached the motion would be adopted. As some Councillors felt that the matter should be the subject of debate, it was agreed to consider the holding of a special meeting, since motion could not be deferred as the Brexit referendum was taking place on 23rd June.
9.1 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin (motion deferred from June meeting) “With the economic confidence increasing, can I ask that a committee from Ashbourne and Ratoath Districts with help, and resources from Meath Co. Council, set up a cross county forum with Fingal Co. Council to encourage cooperation in infrastructural projects, broadband, water and waste water, public amenities and help represent citizens that straddle the border areas with matter including crime, theft, isolation and illegal dumping.”
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. Meath County Council already has formal contact arrangements in place with Fingal County Council with regard to a range of cross county border proposals, including the Council’s Economic Strategy, respective County Development Plan proposals, National Roads Infrastructure etc. The Council can now explore the possibility of setting up other cross county boundary contacts in relation to some of the matters referred to in the Notice of Motion. However, it should be noted that, in some of instances, Meath and Fingal operate in different regional structures and also that some of the matters identified may be the responsibility of national bodies rather than being under the remit of either Local Authority. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Joe Bonner. A lengthy debate took place on the matter and the views put forward by the contributors were widely varied. The Chief Executive provided advice to the Councillors and noted areas where the two counties collaborate and work together. It was unanimously agreed that the motion would be referred to the Municipal Districts in question.
8.4 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “In light of previously passed motions. Can I ask for an update and date of implementation in relation to the prohibition of the consumption of alcohol in a public place County Meath.”
Response: This matter was the subject of a Motion considered at the September 2015 Council Meeting and a response issued as follows: (See below)
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.” The motion has since been the subject of discussion with the Gardaí and particularly at Joint Policing Committee meetings. While further discussions are proposed, it has been suggested that sufficient authority is already available to the Gardaí to deal with public order offences often associated with consumption of alcohol in public places through the Criminal Justice Acts, as well as the Council’s own Meath Parks and Playgrounds Bye Laws 2014. Noted by the Councillors.
9.2 Submitted by Councillor Alan Tobin “To call on Meath County Council to review its emergency response protocol when dealing with potential environmental catastrophes including flooding and chemical spills, on land, in rivers and at sea, throughout County Meath”
Supporting Information subject to the motion being proposed, seconded and considered. The Council’s Major Emergency Plan provides for a co-ordinated response by various departments as well as outside agencies in dealing with emergencies, whether it is as a result of severe weather conditions, major transport accidents, serious fires, chemical or other pollution spills. While such emergencies are thankfully not a regular feature, one of the more recurring events is reports of discharges of oil or other liquids to water sources or the serious threat of such discharges. In such cases where there is an environmental risk, protocol dictates that Officials from the Environment Department who have been trained to deal with such instances, initiate thorough investigations as a matter of priority to determine the extent of the problem and tracing the source of the discharge in order that appropriate preventative measures can be put in place. While occasionally companies have to be brought in with specialist equipment to eliminate or minimise the pollution, in most cases the trained officials can resolve the problem with the support of a specialist unit attached to the Meath Fire Service who are trained and fully equipped to tackle Chemical and Oil Spills. The Council’s Civil Defence Units also provide very valuable support where pollution, flooding or other instances occur and all personnel involved respond to emergencies on a 24/7 day basis. In respect of coastal pollution, a pollution response plan has been developed to guide personnel through the process required to manage a spill of oil or HNS (Chemicals) impacting or threatening to impact the shorelines of County Meath. The Major Emergency Plan and other protocols pertaining to emergency situations are subject to constant review and updating where necessary. The motion was proposed by Councillor Alan Tobin and seconded by Councillor Paddy Meade. Following a lengthy debate on the matter, and subject to the supporting information, the motion was adopted. It was also agreed that an updated senior staff contact list would be circulated to all Councillors.