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KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL

Minutes of Monthly Meeting

held at 2.00 p.m. on Monday, 30 November 2009 at

Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co Kildare

 

Members Present: Councillor C Purcell (Mayor); Councillors F Browne, K Byrne,

W Callaghan, R Daly, L Doyle, S Doyle, S Griffin, M Heydon,

P Kennedy, P Kelly, S Langan, A Lawlor, P McEvoy, J McGinley,

P MacNamara, M Miley, C Murphy, M Nolan, T O’Donnell,

F O’Loughlin, D. Scully, M Wall and B Weld.

 

Apologies:               Councillor S Moore

 

Also Present:           Mr M Malone, County Manager, Messrs J Boland, J Lahart, P Minnock and E O’Sullivan (Directors of Services), Mr T Hunter McGowan (Head of Finance),  Ms S Kavanagh (Acting Director of Services),

C Talbot (Meetings Administrator) and other officials.

 

_________________________

 

 

 

 

1/1109

Confirmation of Minutes

 

The council considered the minutes of the special meeting and monthly meeting held on 19 October 2009, together with the progress report. 

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McGinley, seconded by Councillor Langan, that the minutes of the special meeting and monthly meeting held on 19 October 2009 be confirmed and taken as read, subject to the following amendments to the minutes of the special meeting proposed by Councillor Murphy and seconded by Councillor Purcell:

Collinstown:               Number of car parking spaces to be reserved agreed as 300.

Liffey Valley:              Remove reference to the River Barrow.

Footpath on

Ardclough Road:       Area of reference to be specified in the minute.

 

 


 

2/1109

Committee Minutes

 

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

 

Celbridge Area – 9 October 2009

Clane Area – 8 September 2009 and 13 October 2009 

Kildare Area – 7 October 2009

Naas Area – 15 September 2009 and 27 October 2009

Protocol Committee – 28 September 2009

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

 

3/1109

Overdraft Accommodation

 

Mr Hunter McGowan recommended to the members that an overdraft accommodation in the sum of €5 million on the council’s revenue account with the council’s treasurer be approved for the coming half year ending 30 June 2010.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor S Doyle, seconded by Councillor Griffin, that sanction be sought for an overdraft accommodation as recommended.

 

 

 

4/1109

Fix Date for Budget Meeting

 

The members agreed to hold the budget meeting on Monday, 7 December 2009 at 10.00 am.  If necessary the meeting will continue on other days to be agreed.

 

 

5/1109

Meetings Calendar 2010

 

The meetings administrator informed the members that the calendar of meetings for 2010 had been circulated.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McGinley, seconded by Councillor Daly, that the calendar be approved, subject to any amendments agreed by the Kildare Area Committee at their meeting on 2 December 2009.

 

6/1109

Planning and Development Act 2000,

 Planning and Development Regulations 2001-2007 – Part VIII

To consider proposed Flood Relief Works at Johnstown

 

This item was deferred for consideration at the budget meeting on 7 December 2009.

 

 

7/1109

Mayor’s Business

 

The Mayor referred to the recent instances of flooding in the county and acknowledged the work of Kildare County Council staff, the Civil Defence from Kildare, Dublin and Laois, the Army and the Gardai in alleviating the problems which had arisen.  He noted that there had been unprecedented rainfall in recent days which had fallen in a short period of time resulting in a number of areas being affected by flooding.

 

The County Manager stated that significant flooding problems had been encountered on the River Barrow last week and, in addition, there had been significant rainfall over the past weekend resulting in very high water levels on the River Liffey.  The Emergency Centre at the Central Fire Station in Newbridge handled over 4,000 calls at a rate of 600 calls per hour during the height of the flooding.  There had been a significant call on emergency services during this time and there had been an integrated comprehensive response from all agencies.  The Manager acknowledged communications between the ESB and the council.  He also acknowledged assistance provided by all agencies involved in the evacuation of residents from The Waterways in Sallins and Hazelhall Nursing Home in Clane. 

 

The members acknowledged the assistance provided by all agencies involved in the response to the instances of flooding in the county in recent times, making particular reference to Kildare County Council staff, Fire Services staff, Civil Defence members from Kildare, Laois and Dublin, the Army and the Gardai.  They noted the assistance provided by individual communities in assisting with localised instances of flooding.  In discussing this matter the members raised a number of issues including instances of illegal dumping in drains and culverts and land drains not properly cleaned which added to flooding problems, need to map and record flooded areas for future reference, sewerage problems at the pumping station at Castletown and Leixlip Castle gates, need to open up water cuts along roadways, review lines of communication with the ESB, improve information with regard to availability and access to sandbags.  The members also requested that a debriefing session be held and that local communities be asked to submit information in relation to flooding in their areas in order to record local knowledge which would be of assistance in the future.  They also noted that works carried out under the Flood Relief Programme in recent years had assisted greatly in reducing instances of flooding and requested that this programme of works be continued.  The members requested that more funding be provided by central government to assist with flood relief works and they called for a single agency approach to deal with this issue.  Specific queries were raised in relation to the development at The Waterways in Sallins, where there had been a serious incident of flooding, as this development has not been taken in charge by the council and is now in the hands of a Receiver.  Councillor Kelly stated that funding may be available through the EU Solidarity Fund and the Manager confirmed that he had spoken to Mr Liam Aylward MEP in relation to this matter.

 

Councillor Nolan raised an issue with regard to incidents of illegal dumping and called for mobile phones to be returned to Litter Wardens in order that they would be easily contactable by members.

 

Councillor O’Donnell raised concerns with regard to the future of Community Development Projects as a result of recommendations in the McCarthy Report.  He called on members to contact their local project to offer support and to use their influence with central government to ensure that the good work of the CDP’s does not come to an end.

 

 

8/1109

Votes of Sympathy

 

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

 

Family of the late John A Murphy, former Kildare Area Engineer.

Michael O’Leary, Water Services, on the death of his mother.

Ann Cully, Water Services, on the death of her sister.

Helen Walsh, Canteen, on the death of her brother.

 

 

9/1109

Correspondence

 

The council noted receipt of the following correspondence:

 

·        Letter from Dublin City Council acknowledging correspondence from this Council relating to resolution passed at the September meeting concerning the proposed transfer of control over the allocation of roads funding for local authorities away from the Minister for Transport.  Noted.

·        Letter from the Department of Social and Family Affairs dated 30 October 2009 in rely to our correspondence concerning the National Carers’ Strategy.  Noted.

 

·        Letter from Donegal County Council advising of a resolution condemning the decision of the Minister for Agriculture and the Government for their decision to close the REPS 4 Scheme for new applicants. Noted.

 

 

10/1109

Local Area Plan for Kildare Town

 

The council considered the following motion from the Kildare Area Committee:

That the local area plan for Kildare Town be put on the priority agenda in Planning with a view to publishing a draft within the next 5 months.

 

Councillor S Doyle stated that she was reasonably happy with the report from the Planning Department which stated that the Local Area Plan programme will re-commence in April once the Draft County Development Plan and Naas Development Plan have gone on display.  Mr Lahart stated that he would have no difficulty in prioritising the Kildare Local Area Plan at that time, subject to the agreement of the members.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor S Doyle, seconded by Councillor O’Donnell, that preparation of the Kildare Local Area Plan be given priority in the Local Area Plan programme.

 

 

11/1109

Local Area Plan for Johnstown

 

The council considered the following motion from the Naas Area Committee:

That the Johnstown Local Area Plan be varied or amended to re-zone the Old Johnstown Garden Centre site to amenity open space.

 

Mr Lahart stated that the Johnstown Village Plan is being considered as part of the new County Development Plan and a draft for public consultation will be published in April 2010.  He added that new zonings could be considered at that time.  In proposing the motion, Councillor MacNamara stated that the response was not satisfactory as the local community wanted this land protected from future development.  Councillor Lawlor seconded the motion and asked for clarification as to whether the Johnstown Local Area Plan was being considered as part of the County Development Plan process.  Following a discussion Councillor Callaghan proposed that the wording of the motion be amended to allow for commencement of the process for variation of the Johnstown Local Area Plan.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Callaghan, seconded by Councillor MacNamara, and agreed by the members, that the process for variation of the Johnstown Local Area Plan be commenced.

 

12/1109

Recommendation of Protocol Committee

 

The council considered the recommendation of the Protocol Committee as set out in minutes of its meeting of 28 September 2009 in relation to attendance of members at conferences as follows:

a)     The budget available for conferences should be so assigned that each member of the council would have access to one twenty-fifth of the total amount in order to meet the cost of his or her travelling expenses and conference fees;

b)     Amounts assigned under a) above would not be transferable between members;

c)      The group leaders should decide at which conferences attendance was justified for the purposes of Section 142(5)(d) of the Local Government Act 2001;

d)     Claims for expenses and or conference fees should be made within two months from the date of the relevant conference, failing which they would not be paid;

e)     Claims made under d) above not be paid unless accompanied by a summary of the proceedings at the relevant conference;

f)        That a list of forthcoming conferences be circulated by e-mail to group leaders on the fifth day preceding each monthly council meeting.

g)  Details of payments made to members in respect of expenses be posted on the
    
council’s website every quarter.

 

The members also considered the following motion from Councillor O’Donnell in conjunction with this item:

The Council resolves that members’ conference expenses claims and reports should be circulated to members at the next ordinary meeting of the Council following their submission and that these expenses and reports should be published to the Council website thereafter.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor O’Donnell, seconded by Council Murphy, that the recommendations of the Protocol Committee and the content of the motion from Councillor O’Donnell be implemented.

 

Councillor Griffin reported that the committee had resolved to recommend the adoption of a voluntary code of practice, pending amendment of standing orders, to the effect that questions at meetings be replied to but that there be no discussion or debate on them.

Resolved that the code of practice be adopted.

 

 

13/1109

Taking in charge of Ballyhagen Group Water Scheme

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McEvoy, seconded by Councillor Langan, that the Ballyhagen Group Water Scheme be taken in charge.


 

14/1109

Review of Development Contribution Scheme

 

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor S Doyle:

In deference to the increased costs of developing protected and listed structures and acknowledging the benefits of having these buildings restored for living use, that Kildare County Council review the current levies scheme to provide for a discounted levy to act as incentive for the regeneration of our valuable built environment.

 

Mr Lahart stated that Councillor S Doyle’s request would be considered as part of the overall review of the Development Contribution Scheme due to commence in 2010.  Councillor Doyle stated that she was anxious that this matter be addressed at the earliest opportunity and proposed that this element of the current scheme be reviewed in advance of the full review of the Development Contribution Scheme.  This proposal was seconded by Councillor O’Loughlin.  Mr Lahart stated that the review process was underway and that background work had been completed and agreed that the Development Contribution Scheme would be reviewed early in 2010.  Councillor Doyle requested that the review be carried out in consultation with the relevant Strategic Policy Committee.

 

Resolved that the Development Contribution Scheme review commence early in 2010.

 

 

15/1109

Penalty Points

 

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor Murphy:

Given that Kildare motorists top the list with 14.7% of the counties motorists having penalty points yet the county has one of the lowest rates of serious injury in Ireland, we seek a report from the Roads Department on the relationship between accident locations that have been mapped and, if known, the locations where penalty points have been applied.  Otherwise we seek an explanation as to why the penalty points are so high.

 

The meetings administrator read a report advising that the Transportation Department does not have information relating to penalty points available, however, the Gardai have confirmed that they are prepared to make this information available to the council and could give a briefing on the matter if required.

 

Councillor Murphy stated that research she had carried out into this subject raised concerns that the penalty points system was being used not as a safety measure but to generate income.  Councillor McGinley stated that clarification as to where Kildare drivers were receiving their penalties points was needed.  Councillor Scully suggested that this was a matter for the Transport Strategic Policy Committee. 

 

Councillor Murphy requested that the Road Safety Authority be contacted in relation to this matter to ensure that the penalty points system is applied fairly.

 

Resolved that this matter be referred to the Transport Strategic Policy Committee for further consideration and that the issue be raised with the Road Safety Authority.

 

 

16/1109

Taking in Charge of Estates with Management Companies

 

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor Murphy:

Given that Kildare County Council has a policy of not taking an estate in charge until the management company has been disposed of, the Council commits to developing an information pack, which may be based on practical experience, as to how residents and the management company can best achieve this outcome.

 

Mr Lahart stated that the current policy was that the council would not take an estate in charge where a management company was still in existence.  The dissolution of a management company is a matter for company law.  He referred to draft legislation which is currently before the Dail relating to multi-unit developments which could provide for an improved taking in charge process.  While there would be no difficulty in assisting residents groups with the taking in charge process, he did not consider it possible for the council to prepare an information pack.  Councillor Murphy acknowledged the difficulties the council could encounter were it to get involved in adjudicating between developers and residents, however, residents in such developments needed information and assistance in relation to this complicated procedure.  She saw the role of the local authority as being a facilitator rather than an adjudicator in this matter.  Mr Lahart referred to publications which may be of assistance to residents groups.

 

Resolved that the report be noted.

 

 

17/1109

Amendment of County Development Plan and Local Area Plans

to prohibit “Head Shops”

 

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor S Doyle:

That the Council notes with concern the opening of a number of what are colloquially known as “Head Shops” around the county and that this council determines that our County Development Plan and our Local Area Plans be amended to ensure that these type of outlets be prohibited and the council investigate what avenues are open to it to require those that have already been established to seek planning permission.

 

In conjunction with this item the members considered the following motion from Councillor Kennedy:

 

In view of the experience that has been gained over recent years in relation to late night opening of commercial units, that this council includes a policy in the County Development Plan restricting hours of opening, where it has been shown that particular types of establishments contribute to anti-social behaviour.

 

The meetings administrator read a report from the Planning Department, which outlined the definition of a shop in the Planning and Development Regulations 2001.  The report further noted that the regulations do not preclude the use as a “Head Shop” in a premises where the existing use is a shop as defined in the 2001 Regulations and consequently there is no requirement to seek planning permission in such circumstances.  In relation to restrictions on opening hours, the meetings administrator read a report from the Planning Department, which stated that this matter may be considered further during the course of preparation of the County Development Plan.

 

Councillor S Doyle requested clarification as to whether the members could restrict the use of a premises by way of the matrix incorporated in the County Development Plan.  Following a discussion Mr Lahart suggested that this matter be considered further by the Retail Working Group.  He added that issues raised with regard to signage would be followed up by the Development Control Section and that the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government could be requested to incorporate provisions into the Planning Bill and/or issue guidelines which may assist in restricting the use of premises.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor S Doyle, seconded by Councillor Kennedy, that the matter relating to precluding the use of a premises as a “Head Shop” be referred to the Retail Working Group for further consideration, that the Development Control Section follow up on any instances of unauthorised development and that the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government be asked to include a provision to restrict such a use in the Planning Bill.  The issue with regard to restricting open hours be considered further during the review of the County Development Plan.

 

 

18/1109

Extradition of Sean Garland

 

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor McGinley:

That this Council calls on President Obama’s administration to withdraw the request for the extradition of Sean Garland.

 

In setting out the background to this case Councillor McGinley informed the members that a similar motion had been passed by a number of County Council’s. 

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McGinley, seconded by Councillor MacNamara, and agreed by the members, that a letter be sent to the American Embassy calling on President Obama’s administration to withdraw the request for the extradition of Sean Garland.

 

 

19/1109

Welcome to Kildare Signs

 

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor O’Donnell:

That the Council erect/re-erect the “welcome” signs on the main entry routes into the county, e.g. on the N7.

 

The meetings administrator read a report from the Transportation Department stating that if the Councilllor’s request related to the M7 then this matter could be referred to the NRA for appropriate action, however, if the request related to a regional road they would be in a position to consider the request, subject to the availability of funding.

 

Councillor O’Donnell stated that the welcome signs on the N7 from Dublin had not been re-instated following road improvement works. 

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor O’Donnell, seconded by Councillor Nolan, that the NRA be requested to reinstate the welcome signs on the N7.

 

 

20/1109

Historic Monuments Advisory Committee

 

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor McEvoy:

That in light of specific legislative provisions for historic monuments advisory committees, and the exceptional record of the local experts who remain available to serve a committee in Kildare, the council considers whether to reconvene the HMAC outside the strategic policy committee system.

 

Resolved that this matter be deferred for consideration at the December Council meeting.

 

 

 

____

 

The meeting concluded.