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                                            KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL  

Minutes of Monthly Meetin held at 2.00 p.m. on Monday, 25 February 2008 at Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co Kildare .  

Members Present:             Councillor M Glennon (Mayor); Councillors P Black, F Browne, K Byrne, W Callaghan, G Conway, M Dalton, L Doyle, S Doyle, F Dukes, D Fitzpatrick, S Griffin, R Hendy, G W Hillis, P Kelly, G McDonagh, T McEvoy, J McGinley, P MacNamara, M Miley, M Nolan, F O’Loughlin, K Ridge and B Weld.

Apologies:                   Councillor J J Power

Also Present: Mr M Malone, County Manager, Messrs J Boland, J Lahart, P Minnock, E O’Sullivan and D Page (Directors of Services), C Talbot (Meetings Administrator) and other officials.

_________________________

                                                  Confirmation of Minutes

The council considered the minutes of the monthly meeting held on 28 January 2008 and the special meeting held on 14 January 2008, together with the progress report.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Byrne, seconded by Councillor Ridge, that the minutes of the monthly meeting held on 28 January 2008 be confirmed and taken as read.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McDonagh, seconded by Councillor Nolan, that the minutes of the special meeting held on 14 January 2008 be confirmed and taken as read.

                                                               2/0208

                                                  Committee Minutes

The Council considered the committee minutes which had been circulated with the agenda.

Athy Area – 19 November 2007

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Hillis, that the minutes be noted.

Kildare Area - 5 December 2007

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Nolan, seconded by Councillor Browne, that the minutes be noted.

Clane Area – 8 January 2008

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Weld, seconded by Councillor McEvoy, that the minutes be noted.

Celbridge Area – 11 January 2008

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Ridge, seconded by Councillor Byrne, that the minutes be noted.

                                                            3/0208

Disposal of land

0.0165 acres at 3118 Hillview, Sallins

The council considered statutory notice dated 28 January 2008 which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of Local Government Act 2001 signifying intent to dispose of 0.0165 acres approximately of land at 3118 Hillview, Sallins to Cathal and Mary Bannon in consideration of payment of €15,000 and subject to all legal fees being borne by Cathal and Mary Bannon and a wayleave agreement in respect of services being completed.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Nolan, pursuant to Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001, that the council consent to the disposal of the land in accordance with the terms set out in the statutory notice.

c. 90 sq metres adjacent to 58 Craddockstown Way, Naas

The council considered statutory notice dated 13 February 2008 which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of Local Government Act 2001 signifying intent to dispose 90 sq metres approximately of land adjacent to 58 Craddockstown Way, Naas to Mr James Doherty in consideration of payment of €10,000, and subject to the payment of an administration fee in the sum of €50, payment of valuation fees and all legal fees and under the strict provision that no residential development will be permitted within this area.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Nolan, pursuant to Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001, that the council consent to the disposal of the land in accordance with the terms set out in the statutory notice.

 

31 Sli Bhearu, Cois Bhearu, Athy

The council considered statutory notice dated 12 February 2008 which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of Local Government Act 2001 signifying intent to dispose of premises known as 31 Sli Bhearu, Cois Bhearu, Athy, Co Kildare to Moruf Adebanjo and Funmilayo Adebanjo in consideration of the current value of rented equity (up to date and in line with inflation) at the date of redemption of the shared ownership loan granted in respect of the premises and in accordance with its conditions.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Nolan, pursuant to Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001, that the council consent to the disposal of the land in accordance with the terms set out in the statutory notice.

114 Coill Dubh, Naas

The council considered statutory notice dated 12 February 2008 which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of Local Government Act 2001 signifying intent to dispose of premises known as 114 Coill Dubh, Naas, Co Kildare to Thomas Percival and Jenny O’Rourke in consideration of the current value of rented equity (up to date and in line with inflation) at the date of redemption of the shared ownership loan granted in respect of the premises and in accordance with its conditions.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Nolan, pursuant to Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001, that the council consent to the disposal of the land in accordance with the terms set out in the statutory notice.

 

                                                            4/0208

                           Appointment of Three Members to the Boa

                                        Cill Dara ar Aghaidh Teo

The administrator informed the members that correspondence dated 16 January 2008 had been received from the Chairperson of the Board of Cill Dara ar Aghaidh Teo, inviting the council to nominate three members to its Board.  The members noted the equality provisions of the guidelines circulated.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Dukes, with all members in favour, that Councillor Hillis be nominated to the Board of Cill Dara ar Aghaidh Teo.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Kelly, seconded by Councillor Black, with all members in favour, that Councillor L Doyle be nominated to the Board of Cill Dara ar Aghaidh Teo.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McGinley, seconded by Councillor S Doyle, with all members in favour, that Councillor Glennon be nominated to the Board of Cill Dara ar Aghaidh Teo.

                                                              5/0208

Appointment of Representative to the Social and Environmental Panel

for the Midlands District of Coillte Teoranta

The meetings administrator informed the members that correspondence dated 14 January 2008 had been received from Coillte, inviting the members to nominate a representative to the Social and Environmental Panel for the Midlands District of Coillte Teoranta. 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Griffin, with all members in favour, that Councillor McEvoy be nominated to the Social and Environmental Panel for the Midlands District of Coillte Teoranta.

                                                         6/0208

Strategic Policy Committee Half Yearly Reports

The members considered half-yearly reports from the Environment and Services and Economic Planning and Development Strategic Planning Committees.

Reports noted.

                                                           7/0208

                                        Housing Progress Report  

Mr Minnock presented the housing progress report to the members.  He informed the members that, while confirmation of a budget allocation had not yet been received for 2008, a circular had recently been received from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government indicating that the funding allocation for the next three years would be in the region of €135m to €150m.  He added that a funding allocation such as this would result in a slowdown in delivery of the housing programme.  Representations had been made to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government requesting an adequate funding allocation to meet the Council’s housing programme.  Mr Minnock said that it was now a requirement that project briefs be submitted to the Department for approval.  The Council’s ability to progress past project brief stage would be dependent on adequate funding being available.  He said in relation to the list of vacant houses that a number of vacancies were as a result of tenants being re-housed in alternative accommodation.  He reported that the assessment of housing need would be commencing in the coming weeks and forms would be issued to the 4,000 people currently on the council’s housing list.  Mr Minnock briefed the members in relation to the Central Heating Programme and confirmed that the target start date for the work was 10 March 2008 with an estimated completion by November 2008.  He confirmed that each Area Committee would be briefed further.

The members agreed to deal with item 18 of the agenda in conjunction with the Housing Progress Report.

                                     Motion – Councillor McEvoy

Does the council consider a rise of more than 36% in one year in the rent required of tenants appropriate and justifiable?

Mr Minnock reported that, given the problems which had arisen with the rent review, he was proposing to defer the introduction of new rent charges to 5 April 2008 and, in the interim, would undertake to review all cases where an increase was proposed.  He also recommended that the Differential Rent Scheme be referred to the Housing Strategic Policy Committee for review.

Members raised concerns with regard to the review of rent recently carried out by the Housing Department, referring to cases where rent had significantly increased, and urging a more gradual approach in cases of hardship.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Griffin, seconded by Councillor S Doyle, that a letter be sent to each tenant advising them that a further review of rent is being carried out and confirming that revised rent charges will not come into effect until the 5 April 2008. 

The members raised a number of queries on the content of the housing progress report, which Mr Minnock replied to. 

Resolved that the report be noted.

  8/0208

Invitation for Submissions to the

Electoral Area Boundary Committee

The meetings administrator referred to correspondence dated 25 January 2008 received from the Electoral Area Boundary Committee, which had been circulated to the members.  He informed the meeting that following consideration by the Corporate Policy Group this matter had been referred to the Protocol Committee.  Councillor Ridge said that the Protocol Committee had considered the issue and that it had been agreed that a summary of proposals would be circulated to the Protocol Committee and then to the Corporate Policy Group for consideration. 

Resolved that the Corporate Policy Group make a submission on behalf of the Council.

                                                          9/0208

                        Casual Trading Bye-Laws (Droichead Nua) 2007

The meetings administrator referred to report dated 15 February 2008, which had been circulated to the members, recommending a commencement date for the Casual Trading Bye-Laws (Droichead Nua) 2007 of 1 March 2008.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor O’Loughlin, seconded by Councillor Black, with all members in favour, that the Casual Trading Bye-Laws (Droichead Nua) 2007 come into operation on 1 March 2008.

                                                              10/0208

                                                         Vote of Sympathy  

The Mayor and members expressed votes of sympathy with the following on their recent bereavements:

Bernie Walsh, Water Services, on the death of her mother.

Councillor Paddy MacNamara on the death of his father-in-law.

                                                         11/0208

                                                Mayor’s Business  

Councillor Dalton raised concerns with regard to the haulage of gravel to and from the construction site for the M9/M10 motorway, adding that representations had been made to him with regard to speeding and overloading of lorries travelling to and from the site.  Mr Page acknowledged the concerns raised by Councillor Dalton and said that the National Roads Design Office, National Roads Authority and the council’s Roads Department were anxious to agree a good working arrangement with the contractor, particularly with regard to routes taken and loads being carried.

                                                        12/0208

                                                    Correspondence

The council noted receipt of the following correspondence: 

  Letter from Councillor Pat Black confirming his resignation from the Kildare Twinning Committee and the Burrow Drainage Committee.  The meetings administrator confirmed that the filling of the vacancies on these committees would be listed for consideration at the March meeting of the Council. 

  Letter from Councillor J J Power confirming his resignation from the Protocol Committee, Local Rural Water Monitoring Committee, Finance Committee, Eastern River Basin District Advisory Council and Kildare County Enterprise Board.  The meetings administrator confirmed that the filling of the vacancies on these committees would be listed for consideration at the March meeting of the Council. 

 Letter was received from Offaly County Council advising of a resolution calling on the Minister for Finance, to put adequate funding in place to continue to provide pre-school services.

This resolution was supported by the members.

 Letter from South Tipperary County Council advising of a resolution calling on the Government, to support the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind appeal for an increase in funding.

This resolution was supported by the members. 

    Letter from Wexford Borough Council supporting Kildare County Council’s resolution of September 2007 calling on the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to amend Section 246(b) of the Planning Act 2000 which required public representatives to pay a statutory fee of €20 in respect of a submission made on a planning application.  Councillor Ridge asked that a letter be sent to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government requesting a reply to the council’s correspondence in relation to this matter.  (To date, only a letter of acknowledgement has been received.)

Councillor Ridge asked that a further letter be issued to the Revenue Commissioners requesting a more detailed response to the council’s request that the system for claiming tax relief on service charges be amended to allow customers of our refuse service avail of tax credit at source.

Councillor Ridge noted that no response had been received from the ESB to the invitation to attend that March meeting of the council.  She requested that the ESB be contacted by telephone to establish if a representative would be attending the March monthly meeting.

                                                          13/0208

                                                    Conferences

Notice was received of the following:

6 March 2008

Public Affairs Ireland Conference

The All-Island Economy

Conrad Hotel, Dublin

Cost per delegate: €410.46 approximately

Nominees: Councillors O’Loughlin and L Doyle

6-7 March 2008

Kerry Literary and Cultural Centre

The Role of Local Government in Community and Rural Development

Listowel Arms Hotel, Listowel, Co Kerry

Cost per delegate: €1,190 approximately

Nominees: Councillors L Doyle, Dalton and Browne (Postponed)

6-8 March 2008

Association of County and City Councils

Annual Conference 2008

Roganstown Country Club, Swords, Fingal, Co Dublin

Cost per delegate: €499.00 approximately

Nominees: Councillors Fitzpatrick and Miley

7-9 March 2008

Training Seminar for Councillors

The Annual Energy Seminar

Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Cost per delegate: €713.90 approximately

Nominees: Councillors O’Loughlin, Black, Hendy, Ridge and Byrne

27-28 March 2008

LAMA Annual Spring Seminar 2008

Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim

Cost per delegate: €614.51 approximately

Nominees: Councillors Miley, Fitzpatrick, Hendy, Weld and Byrne

2-6 April 2008

Rattoo Heritage Society

Golf Hotel, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry

Cost per delegate: €1251.07 approximately

Nominees: Councillors Conway, Callaghan, Hendy, Nolan and Browne

4-5 April 2008

Wexford Borough Council Conference

Better Local Government – Is It Working?

Talbot Hotel, Wexford

Cost per delegate: €715.52 approximately

Nominees: Councillors Miley, O’Loughlin, Dukes and Griffin (Postponed)

                                                       14/0208

Draft Scheme of Letting Priorities

Mr Minnock informed the members that the scheme of letting priorities had been considered by the housing strategic policy committee.  He outlined the proposed amendments incorporated in the draft scheme as circulated to the members.  He advised the meeting that the housing strategic policy committee continued to assess the anti-social behaviour policy, with particular reference to how it was being applied and how it was working.  The members welcomed the draft scheme and raised a number of points such as succession to tenancy, income limits for applicants, effects of anti-social behaviour on other tenants, the Rental Accommodation Scheme, contributions from certain categories of people seeking local authority housing.  Mr Minnock addressed the issues raised. 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor S Doyle, seconded by Councillor Griffin, and agreed by all members, that the Draft Scheme of Letting Priorities be adopted.

                                                          15/0208

                                        Motion – Councillor McGinley

This council notes the increase in agency employment throughout the economy. We are aware that many workers from home and abroad are offered agency employment when they are seeking direct and permanent employment. We understand trade unions have raised concerns that many of these workers are retained on minimum conditions and in some instances are not receiving all their entitlements.  Agency employment should not be used as an unnecessary substitute for direct employment or as a mechanism for avoidance of or undermining of fair play and conditions. Noting that legislation will come before the Oireachtas on the issue of Agency Employment, this council believes and will recommend to the Minister that the principle of equal treatment should be included in any such legislation on this issue.

  Councillor McGinley stated that this issue had arisen as a result of a campaign by Unions to secure equal status for agency workers.  He said that there were an estimated 120,000 temporary workers in this country and 520 employment agencies.  Rates of pay for agency workers could be lower than other workers and they have no entitlement to sick pay or other benefits.  He also made reference to an ongoing dispute relating to a construction site in Athy and stated the council should not tolerate unacceptable work practices in sites where it had an interest.

In responding to Councillor McGinley’s motion Mr O’Sullivan made reference to Towards 2016, which had been agreed between the Government and the social partners, and extended legislation to both Irish and migrant workers.  He acknowledged that unions had issues with regard to the speed at which reforms were being introduced.  Mr O’Sullivan said that additional legislation was a matter of national policy, which required primary legislation.

The administrator reported in relation to the dispute on the construction site in Athy.  He said that Respond! Housing Association had entered into a building contract with McInerney Contracting Ltd in respect of the construction of housing units and was the direct employer of the contractor in this case.  Respond! had entered into a separate agency agreement with Kildare County Council and Athy Town Council in respect of the management of the contract.  Alleged breaches of the Registered Employment Agreement for the Construction Industry by McInerney Contracting Ltd, relating to the employment practices of sub-contractors on the Ardrew site, were reported to Kildare County Council by the Building and Allied Trades’ Union (BATU) in October 2007.  Similar concerns were subsequently expressed by the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU).  The alleged breaches were immediately referred by Kildare County Council to Respond! Housing Association for investigation.  As Kildare County Council was not party to the building contract this was considered to be the correct mechanism for dealing with complaints of this nature.  Two reports relating to the complaints had been prepared to date and a meeting between Respond! Housing Association and McInerney Contracting Ltd was scheduled to take place this week.  The county council has sought legal advice in relation to its responsibilities under the registered employment agreement for the construction industry and would continue to make every effort to meet its statutory obligations and to resolve all outstanding issues within the legal relationships and reporting structures outlined.  It was noted that the pickets placed on the Ardrew site and the headquarters of Kildare County Council and Athy Town Council are unofficial.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McGinley, seconded by Councillor MacNamara, and agreed by the members, that the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment be requested to enact legislation to regulate employment agencies as soon as possible.

                                                          16/0208

                               Motion – Councillor MacNamara

That this Council recognizes the need for action on global warming and the need to conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions and also the need to reduce light pollution of our night skies.  That Kildare County Council will support Earth Hour 2008 by turning off all non-essential lights controlled by the Council from 8 to 9  p.m. on 29 March 2008 to support a collective world-wide effort to show the difference that can be made by this initiative and to raise public awareness of the need to use less energy.  This council requests that the County Manager take all possible steps to implement the turning off of all non-essential lights in its control as part of Earth Hour 2008.  This council also requests that the County Manager write to the local Chamber of Commerce and business community to lend their support to this initiative and seek support from general public.

Councillor MacNamara informed the meeting that this initiative had started in Sydney last year and that Naas Town Council had agreed a similar motion.  It was noted that lights relating to the public road networks were essential in the interests of public safety.

The administrator reported that the executive supported this worthwhile initiative and would ensure that the lights at Áras Chill Dara, and any other premises owned by the local authority which were open, would be switched off for Earth Hour, with the exception of some lighting which was necessary for security and safety reasons.  He referred to a report from the transportation department which outlined its commitment to achieving greater efficiency in energy use, particularly in the context of the government white paper on sustainable energy.  The report also noted the intention of the transportation department to optimise the use of energy at traffic signals by the installation of a low voltage traffic signalling system on a pilot basis.

The members confirmed their support for Councillor McNamara’s motion.

                                                              17/0208

Motion – Councillor McEvoy  

That the council should, as a matter of urgency, consider putting in place a strategy, backed up by whatever practical measures are necessary to overcome the rising tide of graffiti.

The administrator reported on legislation in this area.  The report outlined the requirements for owners of private property where graffiti had occurred.  The council's litter wardens would take appropriate action against anyone found to be in breach of the Litter Act.   It was recommended also that the general public, residents associations, etc. help bring an end to the vandalism of their areas by contacting the Gardaí and/or the litter wardens if they observe individuals carrying out this anti-social behaviour.  Graffiti removal was, he said, a specialised activity and sufficient funds/resources must be allocated and procedures put in place for the efficient removal of graffiti on public property.  Notwithstanding these difficulties, the Environment Department was reviewing policy in this area in the context of the Litter Management Plan 2008, which would be discussed further with the members. 

A national programme to support local communities in work to combat graffiti was planned for 2008.  This programme was supported by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Department of Environment Heritage and Local Government and the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and would be managed and delivered through Pobal.  Under this programme funding would be available for a range of initiatives to assist local communities to remove graffiti in their areas.  The first set of funds to be allocated would be ring-fenced to RAPID communities, with application forms being issued within the next month. All areas of the country were eligible to apply for subsequent sets of funds with applications being accepted from May 2008.

Councillor McEvoy welcomed the report and the initiatives outlined.  He stated that early intervention was very important in the prevention of graffiti and he called for the introduction of an age limit for the purchase of spray paint.  He suggested that the use of CCTV may also be useful in discouraging graffiti.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McEvoy, seconded by Councillor Glennon, with all members agreed, that a letter be sent to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government calling for the introduction of an age limit for the purchase of spray paint in an effort to combat the rising tide of graffiti.

                                                       18/0208

                                            Any Other Business

Councillor Griffin referred to correspondence received from the Finance Department setting out the reduction in water charges available to organisations with charitable status.  He pointed out that in this context some schools would qualify for a reduction in water charges as they had charitable status.  Mr Boland outlined the details of the reduction in water charges for charitable organisations who were a registered charity or could provide documentation to support their charitable status.  He added that a circular had already been received setting out the requirements for schools to pay water charges and that the proposal for charitable organisations did not, therefore, relate to schools.  The County Manager stated that he concurred with Mr Boland’s interpretation of the circulars relating to reduction in water charges for organisations with charitable status, but agreed that the matter should be clarified with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

 

Councillor Nolan argued for the introduction of speed cameras on the R445 road in Newbridge.  This was a 50 kph zone, but motorists were not adhering to the speed limit, resulting in dangerous driving conditions.  He referred to the fact that an accident had occurred on the road today resulting in the road having to be closed.  The meetings administrator stated that the council would liaise with the Gardai in relation to this matter.

The meeting then concluded.