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KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL 

Minutes of Monthly Meeting

held at 2.00 p.m. on Monday, 27 April 2009 at

Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co Kildare

 

Members Present: Councillor S Griffin (Mayor); Councillors P Black, F Browne, K Byrne,

W Callaghan, G Conway, M Dalton, L Doyle, S Doyle, F Dukes,

D Fitzpatrick, M Glennon, R Hendy, G W Hillis, P Kelly, T McEvoy,

J McGinley, P MacNamara, M Miley, C Murphy, M Nolan, F O’Loughlin, J J Power, K Ridge and B Weld.

 

Also Present:           Mr M Malone, County Manager, Messrs J Boland, E O’Sullivan and T Skehan (Directors of Services), Mr T Hunter McGowan (Head of Finance), Ms S Kavanagh, Mr G Perry, Ms A Rowan (Acting Directors of Services), C Talbot (Meetings Administrator) and other officials.

 

_________________________

 

1/0409

Confirmation of Minutes

 

The council considered the minutes of the monthly meeting held on 30 March 2009, together with the progress report. 

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Byrne, seconded by Councillor Callaghan, that the minutes of the monthly meeting held on 30 March 2009 be confirmed and taken as read.

 

 

2/0409

Committee Minutes

 

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

 

Clane Area – 10 March 2009

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

 

Celbridge Area – 13 March 2009

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

 

Leixlip Area – 20 February 2009

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

 

Naas Area – 17 February 2009

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

 

 

3/0409

Disposal of land

 

7 The Court, Hazelhatch, Celbridge

The council considered statutory notice dated 8 April 2009 which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001 signifying intent to dispose of 7 The Court, Hazelhatch, Celbridge, Co Kildare to Alan Kellcher under the Affordable Housing Scheme (to include clawback) in consideration of €190,713 and subject to each the terms of the Affordable Housing Scheme.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Ridge, seconded by Councillor Byrne, 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.

 

18 The Court, Hazelhatch, Celbridge

The council considered statutory notice dated 8 April 2009 which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001 signifying intent to dispose of 18 The Court, Hazelhatch, Celbridge, Co Kildare to Michelle Blessing under the Affordable Housing Scheme (to include clawback) in consideration of €190,713 and subject to each the terms of the Affordable Housing Scheme.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Ridge, seconded by Councillor Byrne, 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.

 

26 The Close, Hazelhatch, Celbridge

The council considered statutory notice dated 8 April 2009 which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of the Local Government Act, 2001 signifying intent to dispose of 26 The Close, Hazelhatch, Celbridge, Co Kildare to Aine Walsh under the Affordable Housing Scheme (to include clawback) in consideration of €216,386 and subject to each the terms of the Affordable Housing Scheme.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Ridge, seconded by Councillor Byrne, 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.

 

 

4/0409

Strategic Policy Committee Half Yearly Reports

 

The members considered half-yearly report from the Transportation Strategic Policy Committee.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Byrne, seconded by Councillor Hillis, that the half-yearly report from the Transportation Strategic Policy Committee be noted.

 

 

05/0409

To consider the Manager’s Report on the proposed amendments to the

Draft Kilcock Local Area Plan 2009 and to adopt or vary the Plan

 

The Manager’s report dated 18 March 2009 had been circulated to the members, noting that nine submissions had been received during the display period of the amendments to the Kilcock Local Area Plan.  The amendments were on display from 22 January 2009 to 18 February 2009 in accordance with Section 20 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).  The report outlined a summary of the issues raised in the submissions received as follows:

 

Multi-Functional Community Centre

Submission numbers 2, 5 and 9 generally support objective C10 (Part B, Section 4, Community, Educational, Childcare and Cultural Facilities) for the provision of a multi-purpose community centre.  The submissions requests that such a facility has indoor and outdoor amenity areas and also that a specific site to be identified, with the Bawnogues and the Monastery site mentioned.  Examples of the uses this facility should be designed to accommodate are given, including a multifunctional theatre space.

 

Manager’s Response

The provision of such a facility is a general objective under the Draft Local Area Plan in order to allow for site flexibility.  The proposed facility is permissible/open for consideration within a number of the land uses set out in the zoning matrix and can therefore be achieved on more than one site.  To include a site-specific objective for such a facility would restrict the potential to facilitate an important piece of social infrastructure on other suitable locations that may become available during the 6-year plan period.  The proposed amendments to policy C10 to include both outdoor and indoor amenity areas and a multifunctional theatre space would encourage a suitable mix of amenity space.

 

Manager’s Recommendation

To amend objective C10 in Part B, Section 4 (Community, Educational, Childcare and Cultural Facilities) to read as follows: “C10 - To support the provision of a multi-purpose community facility in Kilcock, with both indoor and outdoor amenity areas, which shall consider the possibility of incorporating a multi-functional theatre space”.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor L Doyle, seconded by Councillor Weld, with all members present in favour, that the Manager’s recommendation be accepted.

 

One-way system for Meath Bridge

Submission number 3 states a general concern regarding the one-way traffic layout proposed for the town square with no access from the Meath side and subsequent negative impacts on the business in the town centre.

 

Submission numbers 6 and 9 question the timing of the proposed one-way system.  Both submissions state that making Meath Bridge a one-way system should not happen until such a time as the proposed inner distributor road is delivered and state that land acquisition issues may impede the delivery of the distributor road in the short term and that implementing the one-way system in the absence of the distributor road would not optimise traffic management.  Intermediate temporary road improvement works in this area are being discussed between the client and the Council’s Roads Design Office.  In light of these issues they request the following wording be adopted for policy PT11:

 

“It is proposed to make Meath Bridge one-way northbound for vehicular traffic.  A local distributor road will be provided, as illustrated on Map 3(a), 3(b) and 3(c), to facilitate a vehicular circulation route from the Dunshaughlin Road and adjoining development lands to the Maynooth Road.  A cyclepath shall also be provided on the bridge.  Pending the completion of this Local Distributor Road, alternative means of providing cycle/pedestrian connectivity across Meath Bridge will be considered by Kildare County Council, in consultation with Meath County Council. The detailed alignment and design of this route will be agreed in consultation with Meath County Council.”  (Note: The proposed changes to the existing policy PT11 are highlighted)

 

Manager’s response

Following consultation with the Roads Design Office, policy PT11 shall be amended to state that the implementation of a one-way system over Meath Bridge shall be developed following further traffic studies in the area.

 

Manager’s Recommendation

To amend objective PT11 in Part B, Section 6.2 (Public Transport) to read as follows: ”It is proposed to make Meath Bridge one-way northbound for vehicular traffic. This proposal shall be developed following further traffic studies in the area.  A local distributor road will be provided, as illustrated on Map 3(a), 3(b) and 3(c), to facilitate a vehicular circulation route from the Dunshaughlin Road and adjoining development lands to the Maynooth Road.  A cycle path shall also be provided on the bridge. The detailed alignment and design of this route will be agreed in consultation with Meath County Council.”

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor L Doyle, seconded by Councillor Weld, with all members present in favour, that the Manager’s recommendation be accepted.

 

Masterplan Zoning Objective XY

Submission number 2 strongly opposes the additional zoning of residential lands as part of the masterplan site.  Submission number 4 from Kildare County Council’s Parks Superintendent requests that additional amenity lands/playing facilities be provided as part of area X of the masterplan site, and be made available for community use, rather than just associated with the proposed school. 

 

Manager’s Response

The lands proposed for the Masterplan were considered appropriate for development due to the strategic location of the lands close to the town centre, the railway station and the amenity lands of the Bawnogues.  The primary purpose for proposing the Masterplan lands was to achieve the delivery of 15 acres of educational lands, lands for public car parking for the train station and the town centre, to facilitate the roads objective through the site while also permitting residential development at a strategic location that consolidates this “Moderate Growth Town”.  It should be noted that the masterplan already requires the provision of a linear pedestrian amenity park beside the canal.  It is therefore considered that given these primary requirements, an additional requirement for the facilitation of significant amenity lands within the site, is not considered appropriate at this location.  It is however considered that an amendment should be made to the masterplan objective which requires the public open spaces within the site to create a green corridor linking the Bawnogues with the Master Plan Site X, allowing for the creation of looped walking routes.  An amendment should also be made to the Land Use Zoning Matrix to allow the following uses to be ‘O’ Open for Consideration under ‘X: Masterplan’; Community hall & Sports halls, Recreational Buildings; Cultural uses, Library.

 

Manager’s Recommendation

Amend Table 14 (Specific Land Use Objective) X, Y Masterplan Objective, to add the following as part of the requirement of the masterplan: “The Public open spaces to be provided within the site shall include the creation of a green corridor linking the Bawnogues with the Master Plan Site X, allowing for the creation of looped walking routes.”

 

Amend Table 16 (Land Use Zoning Matrix) to allow the following uses to be ‘O’ open for consideration under Land Use ‘X: Masterplan’; Community hall & Sports halls, Recreational Buildings; Cultural uses, Library.

 

The members requested clarification in relation to the status of a Masterplan within the framework of a Local Area Plan, particularly with regard to the consideration of any planning application prior to agreement on a masterplan.  Mr Kenny, Senior Planner, advised the members that any developer/landowner can apply for planning permission at any time, however, in this instance, the masterplan must be agreed before development can proceed.  Ms Shinners added that specific requirements of the masterplan must be considered by Kildare County Council and the Clane Area Committee before planning permission would be granted.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Weld, seconded by Councillor McEvoy, with all members present in favour, that the Manager’s recommendation be accepted.

 

Zoning of site on the Enfield Road at Pitchfordstown as “H: Office/Light Industry and Warehousing (Salmon Group)

Submission number 1 from the Salmon Group, welcomes the rezoning of the site on the Old Galway Road for ‘H: Office/Light industry and Warehousing’.  Submission number 2 objects to the rezoning of subject site, stating it is a piecemeal rezoning that could negatively impact on the development pattern of the area.

 

Manager’s Response

Given the location of the subject lands the proposed re-zoning would be contrary to national guidance and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. The zoning of these lands would constitute ‘leapfrogging’ as the lands are not contiguous to existing zoned development lands. To zone these lands would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of this area. It is also noted that a considerable amount of land is currently zoned in the Draft Kilcock Local Area Plan to the northwest of the town for ‘Industry and Warehousing’, which provides the town with significant opportunities for the creation of employment opportunities.

 

Manager’s Recommendation

In accordance with the Manager’s report on submissions/observations for the Draft Local Area Plan (dated 26 November 2008), the Managers recommendation is not to zone the subject lands.

 

Councillor Doyle stated that, in the interest of protecting the jobs currently associated with the Salmon Group in the town centre, Kilcock, he was proposing that 5 acres of land on the Enfield Road, at Pitchfordstown, be zoned for Office/Light Industry, specifically to facilitate the relocation of the Salmon Group operation.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Doyle, seconded by Councillor Fitzpatrick, with all members present in favour, that the Manager’s recommendation be rejected and the 5 acre site be zoned “H” Office/Light Industry”, specifically to accommodate the relocation of existing town centre facility in the ownership of the Salmon Group.

 

Submission No. 8 – John Spain Associates

Submission refers to proposed amendments number 40, proposed map amendment M10 and Appendix A.  The zoning of their clients land as “R1: Retail/Commercial” is welcomed.  An amendment to proposed zoning matrix (Appendix A) is requested to allow for a number of ancillary uses as follows:

·               Permitted in Principle (Y): Restaurant, medical and related consultant, health centre, garages, panel beating and car repairs, petrol station, tourist related facilities and hot food take-away.

·               Open for Consideration (O): guest house/hotel/hostel, pub and crèche/playschool.

Submission states that planning permission has already been granted for light industrial and petrol station on the site and the zoning matrix needs to be corrected to take account of this permission.  Inclusion of a new land use category in the matrix is also requested and be permissible in principle for the R1 zoning category – “Coffee Shop and Shop (local – up to 500 sq m).

 

Manager’s Response

The purpose of this zoning is to provide a retail park for the sale of bulky goods and office development only.  Zoning ‘R1’ is therefore not a general retail/commercial zoning but more specific in order to accommodate certain appropriate type of land uses.  It is considered that the majority of the additional uses referred to are not ancillary to a bulky retail/office park and such uses are more compatible to a town centre site.  The subject site is removed from the town centre and permitting such uses would encourage the displacement of these uses from the existing town centre.  However, the grant of permission for light industrial units and a petrol station on the site (KCC ref. no. 06/2152, ABP ref. no. 09.226889) is noted, and the zoning objective ‘R1’ should be amended to take account of these permitted uses.

 

Manager’s Recommendation

Amend Table 16 (Land Use Zoning Matrix) to allow petrol stations to be “O” Open for consideration under Land Use “R1: Retail/Commercial”.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor L Doyle, seconded by Councillor Weld, with all members present in favour, that the Manager’s recommendation be accepted.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor L Doyle, seconded by Councillor Weld, with all 23 members present voting in favour, that the Kilcock Local Area Plan 2009 is hereby made, pursuant to Section 20 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), to incorporate the amendments proposed in the Manager’s Report and to amend those amendments as proposed by the members of Kildare County Council at their meeting of 27 April 2009. 

 


 

Councillor Fitzpatrick requested that attendance by members at Local Area Plan and Development Plan meetings be incorporated in the annual quota for attendance at meetings.  The meetings administrator stated that it had been agreed that such meetings would be incorporated in the annual quota as and from the beginning of 2009 and undertook to ensure that attendance of members at such meetings was being properly recorded.

 

 

06/0409

To consider the Manager’s Report on the proposed amendments to the

Draft Castledermot Local Area Plan 2009 and to adopt or vary the Plan

 

The Manager’s report dated 18 March 2009 had been circulated to the members, noting that one submission had been received during the display period of the amendments to the Castledermot Local Area Plan.  The amendments were on display from 22 January 2009 to 18 February 2009 in accordance with Section 20 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).  The report outlined a summary of the issues raised in the submissions received as follows:

 

Support for the zoning of lands Community and Educational to facilitate nursing/retirement home developments.  Map amendments M2, M5 and proposed changes No 5 and 6 also apply.

Submission number 1 supports the zoning of lands for Community and Educational purposes to facilitate nursing/retirement home developments.

 

Manager’s Response

The zoning of these lands for Community and Educational uses is not in the interests of proper planning and sustainable development of the Castledermot area as the site is approximately 1.25 km from the town centre.  The zoning of these lands would result in a considerable leapfroging over other undeveloped lands.  A development of this nature would be more appropriate on lands in Castledermot currently zoned for “General Development” that have not yet been developed or on lands contiguous to the built up area.  An Bord Pleanala state in their 2007 Annual Report that “a number of large scale nursing homes have been proposed in isolated greenfield sites remote from towns or villages, shops or services of any description.  Invariably, these have been refused by the Board as it is considered that such facilities are best located within existing settlements where public services are available and where the occupants have some degree of access to shops and other amenities or can walk up the street and encounter members of the local community”.

 

Manager’s Recommendation

No change. The lands shall remain outside the Castledermot LAP boundary and as a result deemed primarily for agricultural use.

 

 

Councillor Miley proposed that these lands be incorporated inside the Castledermot Local Area Plan boundary.  This proposal was seconded by Councillor Dalton.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Miley, seconded by Councillor Dalton, with all members present in favour, that the Manager’s recommendation be rejected and that the subject lands be incorporated inside the Castledermot Local Area Plan boundary.

 

Support for the zoning of the new sewerage treatment plant “U” Utilities/Services.  Map amendment M1 applies.

Submission number 1 states that they are pleased that the new sewerage treatment plant appears on the zoning map.

 

Manager’s response

Noted

 

Manager’s Recommendation

To include the location of the Castledermot Sewerage treatment plant on Map 3 (Land Use Zoning Objectives Map) and to zone it “U” Utilities / Services.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Miley, with all members present in favour, that the Manager’s recommendation be accepted.

 

Support for the objective to provide a children’s playground on the Fairgreen.

Submission number 1 supports the objective to provide a Children’s playground on the Fair Green.

 

Manager’s Response

Noted.

 

Manager’s Recommendation

No change.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hendy, seconded by Councillor Miley, with all members present in favour, that the Manager’s recommendation be accepted.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Dalton, seconded by Councillor Hendy, with all 19 members present voting in favour, that the Castledermot Local Area Plan 2009 is hereby made, pursuant to Section 20 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), to incorporate the amendment proposed and agreed by the members of Kildare County Council at their meeting of 27 April 2009. 

 

 

07/0409

Taking-in-Charge of Roseberry Hill, Newbridge

 

The members considered a report from Mr Hannigan, Senior Executive Engineer, recommending the taking-in-charge of The Grange, Brannockstown.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Hillis, seconded by Councillor Miley, that the estate be taken-in-charge.

 

 

08/0409

Report on Private Residential Developments (2006-2008)

 

Mr Hannigan presented a report dated April 2009 to the members, reviewing activaty in the area of taking residential developments in charge during the period 2006 to 2008.  The report also sets out the strategy for taking estates in charge over the period 2009 to 2011.  Mr Hannigan referred to Appendix A of the report, which consists of a brief description of all 296 estates that the Building Control Section is currently dealing with.  He also clarified the new system now being used for categorising estates.  The report deals in detail with the progress made in taking a number of older estates in charge (referred to as Category A estates) during this period.  Mr Hannigan informed the members that resources would be focussed on dealing with estates that fall into the A1 category.  He anticipated that the rate of taking-in-charge may slow down over the coming years, due mainly to the possibility of having to deal with unfinished estates and calling in bonds to complete estates.  He highlighted the financial implications for the local authority in relation to the maintenance of estates which have been taken in charge.

 

In noting the report on taking in charge of private residential developments the members raised a number of issues including the need for the members to have access to legal advice particularly with regard to the operation of management companies and the taking-in-charge of such developments, the adequacy of budget allocation of €50,000, clarification requested in relation to estates in Maynooth (particularly Castledawson, Griffinrath and Leinster Park), clarification requested in relation to procedure for residents requesting that an estate be taken-in-charge,  has the local authority used the provisions of Section 35 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, sufficiency of bonds to complete estates where necessary, clarification requested in relation to estates in the Clane Area (particularly The Cloisters, Clane and The Close, Tirmoghan).  The members requested that this report, together with the policy document on taking estates in charge, be made available on Kildare County Council’s website and in the libraries and that a copy be e-mailed to the members for reference.  The Mayor and members commended the work undertaken by Mr Hannigan and the staff in the Building Control Section.

 

Mr Hannigan replied to the issues raised confirming that the €50,000 budget allocation is adequate at present as the responsibility for finishing estates lies with the developers.  He confirmed that the policy document on taking estates in charge is available on Kildare County Council’s website and agreed that the report would also be published and made available in the libraries. 

 

The County Manager replied to the issue raised regarding access to legal advise for members and agreed that he would give this matter further consideration to see how it might be addressed and will bring forward suggestions to the Corporate Policy Group.

 

Resolved that the report be noted.

 

 

09/0409

Drehid Community Grant Scheme 2008

 

The members noted a report from the Planning Department dated 7 April 2009 setting out details of grants totalling €148,000 to be distributed to community groups in the area of the Drehid Waste Management Facility, in accordance with conditions 16 and 17 of planning permission reference PL 09.212059.  The grant funding was welcomed and the members requested that payments be made to the community groups at the earliest opportunity.

 

Ms Rowan, Acting Director of Services, confirmed that the monies had been received by the local authority and would be paid to the community groups as soon as possible.  She added that the grants had been considered and approved by the Clane Area Committee.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Weld, seconded by Councillor Fitzpatrick, that grants totalling €148,000 be paid to community groups as set out in report from the Planning Department dated 7 April 2009, in accordance with conditions 16 and 17 of planning permission reference PL 09.212059.

 

 

10/0409

Extinguishment of Right of Way on Section of the old

R413 at the Curragh Racecourse

 

The members noted a report from the Transportation Department dated 15 April 2009 recommending the extinguishment of a right of way on a section of the old R413 at the Curragh Racecourse, in accordance with Section 73 of the Roads Act 1993.  No objections or submissions were received during the prescribed period.  The proposed extinguishment has been noted by the members of the Kildare Area Committee.

 

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor S Doyle, seconded by Councillor JJ Power, that, in accordance with Section 73 of the Roads Act 1993, the public right of way on a section of the old R413 at the Curragh Racecourse be extinguished.

 

 

11/0409

Taking in Charge of R413 new Standhouse Road, The Curragh

 

The members considered a report dated 15 April 2009 from the Transportation Department recommending that the R413 new Standhouse Road, at The Curragh, be declared a public road, in accordance with Section 11 of the Roads Act 1993.  The report noted that the R413 new Standhouse Road is of general public utility and has been designed and constructed in accordance with current guidelines.  No objections or representations were received during the prescribed period.  The proposal to take the road in charge has been noted by the members of the Kildare Area Committee.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor S Doyle, seconded by Councillor Black, that the R413 new Standhouse Road, The Curragh, be taken in charge of the Council, in accordance with Section 11 of the Roads Act 1993.

 

 

12/0409

Celbridge Traffic Management Plan

 

The members considered a report dated 24 April 2009 from the Transportation Department recommending the adoption of the Celbridge Traffic Management Plan.  It was noted that the non-statutory public consultation process has been completed and the Plan has been noted by the Celbridge Area Committee.

 

In response to a query regarding the funding of the Management Plan, Ms Kavanagh, Acting Director of Services, stated that an application for funding has been made to the DTO and approval is awaited.  She added that it was envisaged that smaller works would be undertaken by the Area Office staff, subject to the availability of funding.

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Ridge, seconded by Councillor Conway, that the Celbridge Traffic Management Plan be adopted.

 

 

 

13/0409

Housing Progress Report

 

Mr Perry, Acting Director of Services, presented the bi-monthly housing progress report.  He informed the members that confirmation of funding allocation for the capital programme was still awaited from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. 

 

Members raised a number of issues including vacant houses in Old Greenfield, Maynooth, delivery of Teach Tearmain project, occurrences of chimney fires in Ballitore, request for continuation of work of Community Development Officer in Ballitore, concerns in relation to number of people now on the housing list, RAS Scheme.  Mr Perry replied to the questions raised.

 

 

14/0409

Current Financial Report

 

The Manager advised the members that the financial report would incorporate details in relation to the revised funding allocation for Regional and Local Roads Grants and, in this regard, a report dated 24 April 2009 from the Transportation Department was circulated to the members.  He added that Mr Hunter McGowan would set out how monies must be spent and clarify the position regarding compliance with Government policy.  He stated that confirmation of the revised Regional and Local Roads grant allocation had been received on 14 April 2009, showing a reduction of approximately €9m over the allocation originally advised early in 2009, the budget now being just in excess of €16m.  This allocation is substantially less than had been anticipated and has an obvious effect on the roads programme.  The Manager stated that the priority for the remainder of the year would be to secure employment and, in this regard, every effort would be made to identify projects that can be done from our own resources.  He asked the members to review, in conjunction with the Area Engineer’s, any projects proposed to be carried out from discretionary funding.  He informed the members that the Unions and staff had been appraised of the position through the Partnership process. 

 

Mr Hunter McGowan advised the members that, in accordance with Government policy, the local authority could only spend on capital projects monies received in development levies in 2009.  To date in the region of €1m has been received in 2009.   In order to comply with this directive it is necessary to stall a lot of internally funded projects.  In relation to the Roads Grants he informed the members that it had not been possible for the local authority to spend any monies to date in 2009 pending the confirmation of the revised allocation.  He added that confirmation of the housing allocation was still awaited.

 

The members raised a number of concerns including the funding of works on Ballycore Bridge, clarification of position with regard to spending of discretionary funds, Disabled Persons Grant funding, works on Easton Road, Leixlip, position in relation to projects where lottery funding has been allocated and where matching funding is required, position in relation to Sports Capital Grants, condition of roads in the Clane area, allocation of funding for Athgarvan Road, Newbridge, position in relation to new library in Kildare Town, playgrounds in Kilcullen and Clane

 

Councillor McGinley stated that the financial difficulties currently being faced by the country and, in turn, this local authority, were a direct result of Fianna Fail policies and the dire situation we are in was a comment on the governance of the country.  He added that the actions of the Government had wrecked the country and it would be a major job to restore our international reputation.  Commenting on the reduction in road grant allocations he stated that it would not be possible for the Council to give a proper service to our citizens.  He stated that the morale of staff was at an all time low and he said it was a great tribute to the Manager and staff that they have continued to give a high level of service to citizens to date.

 

Councillor Murphy requested that a report be prepared setting out the position in relation to the amount of development contributions currently outstanding.  She added that given the position being outlined in relation to the financial position it was now necessary to review Kildare County Council’s Budget for 2009, which had been adopted in good faith by the members at the end of 2008.

 

Councillor Black stated that while there was a major defect in the budgets and there would be difficult times ahead we needed to focus on our strengths, adding that the position was not as bad as was being painted.  He made reference to the average GDP per capita of Ireland as compared to other European countries and stated that this was still a wealthy country.  He also made reference to current position with regard to exports as compared to other EU countries.  He said that Ireland had modern industries and the economy was resilient.  He stated that public finances were a problem that needed to be addressed and that the budget deficit must be reduced.

 

Councillor Kelly stated that, while the international reputation of the country might be damaged by the current financial climate, he refuted that it was in tatters, adding that we should not be talking down the economy.  He said that, while we do not have enough money to provide the level of service we want, the Government had to take action to prevent the situation from getting worse.  He stated that further borrowing at this stage was unsustainable.  In relation to the road grants he said that the funding allocation was twice that of 1997 and further noted that the Transport 21 projects would continue.  He agreed with the Manager that the focus for Kildare County Council for the remainder of the year should be to maintain employment. 

 

Councillor Hillis stated that the Milk Race would be starting in Kilcullen on 17 May and he asked that any necessary roadworks be attended to prior to that date.

 

The Mayor agreed with the Manager that securing the employment of staff should be the main aim for the remainder of the year.  He stated that the members had agreed to a budget for Kildare County Council on the basis of a road grant allocation in the region of €28m [as per 2008].  He added that it was now evident that the local authority would be providing a lesser service to the citizens of the county.  He stated that it would not be possible to do more with the funding now being allocated so, in this regard, it was important to prioritise work.

 

The County Manager replied to the queries raised by the members.  In relation to the road grant allocation, Ms Kavanagh clarified that funding had only been allocated for projects that were ongoing to allow them to be completed.  No funding allocation had been approved for either Ballycore Bridge or the Athgarvan Road, Newbridge.  She informed the members that the Area Engineer’s would be in contact with them in relation to allocation of discretionary funds.  In reply to a query Mr Hunter McGowan clarified that any monies collected by the Council prior to 2009, but as yet unspent, could not, in accordance with Government directive, be spent in the current year.

 

 

15/0409

Mayor’s Business

 

The Mayor informed the members that a number of Councillors will be retiring at the end of this term and he would like to allocate time at the May Council meeting to recognise their service to the local authority. 

 

The Mayor advised the members that he had received a letter from the National Youth Council of Ireland seeking support for the following motion:

That this Council supports the campaign by the National Youth Council of Ireland to change the law to extend the electoral franchise to young people at the age of 16 for the upcoming Local and European elections. 

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Griffin, seconded by Councillor S Doyle, with 8 members voting in favour and 8 members voting against and subject to the Mayor’s casting vote, to support the request from the National Youth Council of Ireland to extend the franchise to young people at the age of 16.

 

Councillor Hendy raised concerns in relation to an announcement by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government with regard to additional farm inspections.  In reply Mr Dunne, Environment Department, stated that under European Community legislation the local authority was obliged to notify the Department of Agriculture of any breaches of legislation.  He stated that Kildare County Council had a good working relationship with farmers in the county and that he did not foresee any difficulties arising.  He added that inspections would be limited having regard to resources available at present.

 

 

16/0409

Vote of Sympathy

 

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

Councillor Hillis on the death of his brother-in-law, Mr Noel Buckley.

Mrs Teresa Hilliard, former employee of Kildare County Council and mother-in-law of Ger Duff, Transportation Department and aunt of Ms Colette Crowe, Housing Department.

 

17/0409

Correspondence

 

The council noted receipt of the following correspondence:

 

·        Letter from Minister for Transport acknowledging receipt of our correspondence dated 3 April 2009 regarding a resolution passed at a meeting of Kildare County Council on 30 March 2009 concerning penalty points and advising that the correspondence has been referred to Mr Noel Ahern TD, Minister for State, with responsibility for road safety matters.  Noted.

 

18/0409

Conferences

 

The council received notice of the following conferences:

 

30 April – 3 May 2009

Tipperary Peace Convention

International Peace Conference

Venue: Tipperary Town

Cost per delegate: €768.46

Nominations: None

 

7 May 2009

Respond: National Conference 2009

Theme: “Is Combating Poverty a Dead Agenda?

Venue: Osprey Hotel and Spa, Devoy Quarter, Naas

Cost per delegate: €302.62

Nominations: None

 

13 May 2009

The European Network of Homeless Organisations

Half-Day Seminar on their work

Venue: Institute of European Affairs, North Great Georges Street, Dublin

Cost per delegate: €76.38

Nominations: None

 

15 - 17 May 2009

Councillors Training Seminar

Theme: Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Venue: Glengarriff Eccles Hotel, West Cork

Cost per delegate: €813.80

Nominations: Cllrs. Hendy and Nolan

 

29 - 31 May 2009

Kadenza Consultancies Ltd

The Institute of Professional Training

Theme: Supporting family carers

Venue: Bellingham Castle Hotel, Castlebellingham, Co Louth

Cost per delegate: €600

Nominations: Cllr. Weld and Ridge

 

 

19/0409

Housing Waiting List

 

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

That the council inform us how many individuals/families are currently on the housing waiting list, in what categories i.e. 1B, 2B and 3B.  With the reduction in house building what is the projected intake of Part 5 housing over the coming years, what numbers are likely to be delivered from the voluntary sector?  What is the estimated timeframe to clear the current waiting list?

 

Councillor Murphy withdrew the above motion.

 

 

20/0409

County Museum

 

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

That a full and comprehensive report be prepared on the progress towards a county museum.

 

Councillor Dukes informed the meeting that she had received a report from Ms Bridget Loughlin, Heritage Officer, which she had passed on to the Museum Committee.  She stated that a draft feasibility study had been drawn up, however, due to lack of funding a feasibility study had not been commissioned.  Councillor Dukes thanked Ms Loughlin for the report stating that she hoped there would be funding available in the future to progress the county museum.

 

 

21/0409

Cystic Fibrosis

 

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

That Kildare County Council request the Minister for Health and the HSE to provide 30 en-suite rooms for cystic fibrosis suffers as was already agreed and not to delay this project furthermore.

 

Councillor Nolan stated that he had submitted the motion prior to the Minister for Health’s recent announcement.  He referred to the high instance of cystic fibrosis in this country, as a result of which we should now have a world class health service in this area.  He welcomed with a note of caution the Government’s reversal of their decision in relation to the construction of a dedicated facility at St Vincent’s Hospital.  He requested the members to support this motion.  The Mayor made reference to the great work of Ms Orla Tinsley in highlighting the issues facing cystic fibrosis suffers

 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Nolan, seconded by Councillor Glennon, that the Minister for Health and the HSE be requested to provide 30 en-suite rooms for cystic fibrosis suffers as was already agreed and not to delay this project furthermore.

 

 

____

 

The meeting concluded.