Political Archive (County Council work)

County & Municipal Motions by Cllr O’Connell

—Municipal Motion 13/Dec’18 [passed]—

“That this Council agrees to include the village of Foulkesmill and its environs as a viable unit within the Engineer’s district boundary of New Ross;

With suggested environs (subject to Engineer’s confirmation of practicality) including the road and areas North of the road connecting: Stoneenrath Crossroads, through Hares Mead Bridge, along the R736 from Rosspile, through Longraigue Cross Roads, towards Bryanstown Bridge.”

— Deferred County motion 10/Dec’18 [passed]—

This council, recognising:

– the historical impact of the Irish who – like the Wild Geese – have fought abroad throughout the centuries, out of necessity or commitment;

– the sacrifices and traumas of both fighters and survivors of those conflicts;

– the diversity of our diaspora and national experiences;

– our significant UN peacekeeping commitments;

Will commemorate all such broader “Wild Geese” simply, inclusively, and respectfully on November 11 (“Armistice Day”/US Veterans of Foreign Wars/Remembrance Day)

—Deferred County Motion 10/Dec’18 [passed]—

In the interests of transparency and accountability: [substantive] policy documents adopted by Elected Members of this Council, will be archived online permanently [at the discretion of Wexford County Archive online] – in an accessible manner for the public.

—2 Joint SF County Motions Sep’18 [passed]—

POST OFFICES

The prevention of Post Office closures and the long-term survival and prosperity of the An Post, Post Office Network.

This council:

1. Is deeply concerned of the imminent threat of closure of up to 159 Post Offices throughout the country and the threat to the long-term future many other Post Offices.

2. Believes the decision as to whether a community has a Post Office or not, should not hinge on a Postmaster wishing to retire.

3. Recognises there is an alternative and superior solution to the Post Office issue available to An Post and to Government in the form of the Kiwi (Post) Bank model that was established in New Zealand in 2002, and now has 20% of the banking market and 25% of all banking customers in New Zealand. It has been described as a phenomenal success having made over $7m profit in its third year of operation and nowadays posts annual profits of circa $100m.

4. Supports the Dáil Private Members Motion of 11th Nov 2016 – The Dáil Motion of the 11th November, 2016, passed by the Dáil – 158 Votes (no amendments) “Calls on the Government to: – implement a new community banking service operated by An Post to be made available in all post offices throughout the country; this post community bank could be based on either the New Zealand Kiwibank model or the German Sparkassen model, both of which have been found to be valid models;”

5.That Post Office Closures will be a red-line issue during upcoming budget negotiations.

Therefore, this Council calls on Government to:

1. Enact ‘Private Members Dáil Motion of the 11th November, 2016.’ (a call previously supported by Wexford County Council, October 2017)

2. Postpone the closure of Post Offices while the Kiwi Post Bank model for the Irish Post Office network is developed.

3. The results of this Council motion to be promptly conveyed to the Minister for Communications, Climate action and Environment and Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, Chair of Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

4.That this motion will be circulated to all local authorities

-Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin

Johnny Mythen

Oisín O’Connell

Mick Roche

Tom Forde

ROADS MOTION

For over twenty years now, despite the evidence of three national surveys and reports and the current Pavement Survey Condition Index (PSCI) Rating results, Wexford County Council has not received a fair allocation of non-national road funding based on the factual need and condition of non-national roads throughout the country.

The Department of the Taoiseach report on non-national roads in December, 1997, stated that ‘funding should be based on need and, in this context, the findings of the Pavement Condition Study should be taken into account’.

Wexford County Council now calls on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to address this long standing imbalance in non national road funding for county Wexford, with immediate effect.

Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin

Johnny Mythen

Oisín O’Connell

Mick Roche

Tom Forde

—County Motion Aug’18 (passed)—

Any council vehicles undergoing detailing (as newly acquired, or for rework maintenance) with council branding, will have alternating English and Irish language on either side; and/or, where practical, similar balance will be achieved front and back.

—County Motion Apr’18 (passed)—

This Council notes:

– the 2015 government capital plan for new primary and secondary school buildings was based on demographic birth, migration data and assumptions, that will shortly be two-to-three years old;

– that this state has one of the highest birthrates in Europe;

And requests that the minister re-examine the latest demographic data, with a view to prioritising and bringing forward building schedules.

Refs:

http://m.independent.ie/life/family/mothers-babies/baby-boom-hits-ireland-as-we-top-the-european-birth-rate-31368622.html

http://www.thejournal.ie/new-schools-ireland-2449713-Nov2015/#comments

http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/Statistical-Reports/Other-Statistical-Reports.html

—Municipal motion Feb’17 (passed)—

5.1 Notice of Motion -This Municipal council calls for all processing of sewage sludge into biosolids in this County to a class A standard,

– to be done at source in wastewater processing facilities;

– with a preference for anaerobic digestion over chemical-thermal pasteurisation.

—County Motion Feb’17 (passed)—

This Council calls upon the Minister of Agriculture

– to recognise the increasingly complex barriers faced by emerging young farmers;

– to recognise that under Regulation 1307/2013 on Direct Payments, It is completely up to EU Member State Governments whether and how to enforce educational criteria in the Young Farmer Scheme (only 10 of 28 have done so);

– to therefore sensibly relax the formal criteria and deadlines of the Scheme, so as to not unnecessarily exclude otherwise worthy applicants.

—County Motion Nov’17 (passed)—

Acknowledging both the importance of renewable energy, entrepreneurial innovation, and community needs and wishes;

This Council –

– Advises the relevant Ministers, government and state departments, that future state subsidies or special tariffs for solar energy, should only accrue to any commercial solar energy development within this County, that either

a) Abides by a specific commercial solar-energy planning policy, to be determinedby the members of this Council; or

b) Abides by a state-wide minimum set of planning standards, that we urge the Government and Dáil to formulate;

—County Motion Sept ’16 (passed – in Oct, after being incorrectly dropped because of a failure of the Corporate Policy Group to understand the word “cannibidol”)—

That this council:
– requests the Irish Medical Council to seriously examine the therapeutic, palliative and pain-relief potential of Cannabidol-type substances (e.g. for those suffering from Cancer); with a view as to whether these substances can be recommended officially;
– demands that the Minister of Health, and all legislators of the Oireachtas, expedite any such medical recommendations in future;
– request that state agencies show a common-sense and compassionate attitude in any interim period.

—Municipal Motion Dec’16 (passed)—

This municipal council requests as a matter of urgency, a briefing and explanation by the housing officials on A. Policies on dealing with anti-social behaviour in social-housing estates; B. Policies on achieving demographic and community balance within these estates; (We also invite representatives from the Gardaí and Social Work offices to attend and contribute suggestions or explain their own policies

—County Motion Mar ’15 (passed – but rescinded by Executive following legal advice of Ensor O’Connor Solicitors)

That this Council, regarding its ‘section 26’ Fire Service changes, preparations and implementation:

– Recognises that the International Standards Organisation Insurance Industry Risk Assessment, calls for a Six-Person response on initial fire attack;

And furthermore accepts:

– That such ‘Section 26’ plans should not passed until all the relevant concerns of Wexford’s Fire-fighters and SIPTU are properly addressed; particularly with regard to minimum personnel response numbers, and coordination of Fire Service and HSE or Ambulance Services; and
– That no related changes will be made to the Fire Service in County Wexford, until the current related National Dispute over the “Keeping Communities Safe” document issued by Phil Hogan is resolved.

—Municipal Motion Dec ’14—

That New Ross Municipal Council requests ESB Ecars to install:

– a Fast Charge Point in one of the car parks in new Ross at the Dunbrody Ship;
– a standard charger in in Wellington Bridge, at play area opposite railway station, on R733;
– a standard charger in Ballyhack, easily accessible to ferry traffic;

And further, that this Municipal Council – subject to reserved functions – will implement free parking for Electric Vehicles, at such charging spaces, while such vehicles are being charged.

—County Motion Dec ’14—

That this Council:

– With regard to the Electric Vehicle charging spaces in New Ross, Bunclody, Enniscorthy, Courtown Harbour and Wexford Town on Council property; will ensure that these are painted with appropriate markings, and signage erected with clear rules of use;

– Will implement statute instruments 325[1] and 330[2] (2014) relating to above;

– Subject to any reserved functions of Municipal Councils; will allow, recommend, and implement free parking for Electric Vehicles at these charging spaces, while they are charging.

[References:
1. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2014/en/si/0325.html
2. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2014/en/si/0330.html
]

—County Motion Sept ’14 (passed)—

“That this council
– Having noted that there is a severe crisis in the beef industry, badly affecting farmers and the livestock marts, due to an EU labelling issue for live cattle crossing the border from South to North;
– Calls on Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD to co-operate with Minister for Agriculture Michelle O’Neill MLA, to seek a derogation from the European Union on labelling regulations to resolve this issue.”

—–GALLERY of Press Clippings, Significant Events (Allow some time to load images; use arrows to scroll through or back)—–

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Institutional Submissions made by Cllr O’Connell 

———

Feb’18
Letter detailing my written submission to  Municipal Council Manager (to help her in collective Cllr submission to Minister for Education).
To: New Ross Educate Together
22/Feb’18
Hello a chairde;
New Ross Municipal District cllrs through the Chairman, are issuing a letter to the Minister, to ask them to respond to the 3 specific (apparent) contradictions at the heart of their decision, that affects the district – along these lines:
1. Why is the department claiming it was only ever meant to be a half-stream school, when
A) there is no documented evidence that this was ever the case, and
B) the establishment of the school within their original criteria, seems to imply the opposite? [1]
2. Why is the department claiming that the school is detrimental to the numbers of attendees at other schools in the district, when
A) the department’s own figures for the town schools seem to disprove this, and
B) it is the only, sole, school of its ethos – serving an established need – within the entire district [2]
3. Considering that last point: why does the Department seem to be functionally restricting parental choice of education – as enshrined in the Constitution – when this contradicts the government’s own recently promoted Department policy on the topic? [3]
[1] Forum of Patronage and Pluralism “Taking account of likely long-term requirements, accommodation options for a full stream of provision should be considered.” p.124 https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Report-on-the-surveys-regarding-parental-preferences-on-primary-school-patronage.pdf
[3] Action Plan for Education 2017 – Department of Education and Skills, “Objective 4.2- Strengthen the role of parents and students, and deliver progress in providing greater school choice.”
You probably noticed it was also covered in the local New Ross Standard (attached).
All the best,

~ Oisín O’Connell

———
Feb’18

Suggested points for Municipal letter: Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy

To: District Manager & Municipal Chairman

Hello;
I hope the following suggested points can be of some use (almost entirely derived from Planning SPC notes).
All the best,
Oisín
Regarding the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy:
We note the following about this process:
  • Statewide infrastructure spending will likely follow the strategy set;
  • County plans are subordinate to it;
We note the following with concern:
  • It influences allocation of population; and in so doing
  • Also influences Irish Water (IW) priorities – particularly waste-water treatment – which effectively controls our town, village and rural development capacity.
We also note with concern, that according to the suggested Water Services Guidelines (Planning Authorities):
  • Connection to IW is independent of the County planning process;
  • There is no guarantee that capacity at enquiry stage will remain available;
  • Unless agreed in advance, IW will not take over developer-provided treatment facilities;

We want to make clear our alarm and objection to what is functionally the removal of actual levers of power away from this county regarding wide-scale residential development within it.

We ask that every option be examined to remedy this: whether – for example – through the strategy’s allocation of population, or the structure of IW’s participation within the framework (such as by the use of advance agreements regarding taking-in-charge), or even the funding of IW.
We are concerned that without proactive and effective remedies, ours and other rural districts’ will suffer functional development stranglehold, and unplanned depopulation and divestment.

—Ireland 2040 Framework Nov’17—

There is a rational cause for alarm at the policy deprecation of the Waterford-Rosslare rail line.

The previous South East Regional submission correctly identifies the value of the Waterford port and rail connection to the Western region – as far as Ballina. (Worryingly, it appears to minimise the Rosslare Waterford link.)

Logically, this rail connection value must also apply to Rosslare, through connection to the same network through Waterford.

Without this link, Rosslare and Wexford County as a whole functionally becomes a spur off of Dublin only, rather than a North-South and East-West crossroads and hub.

The Irish Exporters’ Association has identified the huge volume of road haulage that passes through Dublin as being substantially more than enough for rail and road to share; so there should be no implicit detrimental competition between Waterford and Rosslare rail-port hubs within one region. In particular, regarding the bulk products of timber and ore from the West of Ireland being pushed through Dublin.

There is also a more broad cause for concern regarding Brexit’s effect on the EU TEN-T North Sea-Mediterranean corridor (of which the island of Ireland is part) – the UK is sandwiched between Ireland and the Continent; and on the necessity to broaden our transport network connectivity options (rather than curtail them)

Refs:

http://www.wdc.ie/wp-content/uploads/news-railconf-May09-RailFreightinIreland-IEA-Howard-Knott.pdf

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/infrastructure/north-sea-mediterranean_en

———-
Nov’15
To: Liadh Ní Riada, other Wexford SF Cllrs

Subject: Wexford Local Economic & Community Plan submission

Below please find a summary of my own submission to the Wexford Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP), on the Draft Socio-Economic Statement and High Level Goals. There were several dozen submissions from a wide range of community groups and individuals.

Submissions and any Socio-Economic Statement revisions that have been adopted by Municipal Districts, will now be used to develop detailed objectives and actions in the early New Year.

A summary of information about, and further links on the LECP can be found at:
http://www.wexford.ie/wex/Departments/CommunityDevelopment/LocalEconomicandCommunityPlanLECP/index.html

(Summary of Submission No. 31 – Oisín O’Connell):

The possibility of community style college networks within the county that can build upon existing educational institutions and reach out to innovative institutions (e.g. Open University) for support should be examined. This network would be complementary to a later South-East University rather than competitive with it.

Transport is a key issue and there is need to focus on revitalising the county’s combined rail and ferry potential. There is also a need to focus supports systems and quality of service provision for people living in the county, especially in areas where high unemployment, population decline and disadvantage create a vicious cycle.

The amount of micro-enterprises in the county needs to be regarded as a feature and strength of Wexford’s enterprise culture. This should be reflected in county policy, action and support. Local government should protect the vulnerability of micro-enterprises. Wexford should examine the Northern Italian model whereby local government gives systematic supports to highly flexible networks of small enterprises, often co-operative in nature that leads to not only a thriving commercial culture but a vibrant civil society. The co-operative style of using single properties should be promoted to reduce outgoing costs for these businesses.

Post offices are a vital real-world social network for rural areas, and should be extended in terms of services offered.

Original:

Do you want to make a comment on the draft Socio-Economic Statement? While recognising that the limitations on what local government can do as opposed to central government, a concern is that this focus (e.g. focussing on getting people educated for work – which may not actually be there) may inadvertantly create a corporate culture within the council that disconnects from the lived reality of many constituents.
Foster the culture of educational attainment and lifelong learning in County Wexford and provide opportunities to develop educational and workforce skills, to improve work readiness and access to employment.
– while trying to foster progress between Carlow and Waterford ITs, the council should perhaps not leave our entire county’s third level education prospects as hostage to fortune, relying on this specific proposal to come to fruition;
– we should examine the possibility of community college style networks within the county, that can build upon existing educational institutions, and reach out to innovative institutions (e.g. Open University) that might help provide support; this should be seen as complementary preparatory and feeder netwrk to a later South East university, rather than competitive with it.
Support and promote the development of socially inclusive sustainable communities in County Wexford.
– housing is simply a critical issue: we should examine housing finance cooperatives or boards or similar, on county scale.
Position and market County Wexford as a great place to live, work, visit and do business.
– transport, transport, transport: any plan must focus on asserting and revitalising the combined rail and ferry potential – as a unity, not as disparate parts – already in place, and aggressively revitalising and expanding it; otherwise our position is isolated, and the plan incoherent; this must focus on rational scheduling that does not sabotage latent demand, and extending our horizons beyond Wexford to Wales, Waterford Airport, and North-South all-Ireland rail transport;
– to be a great place to live, we need to focus on the support systems and quality of service delivery for people already here – especially in areas where high unemployment, population decline, and disadvantage create a viscious cycle; those cycles need intervention to break;
Develop an outstanding business environment for starting, growing and attracting business to County Wexford.
– 93% of businesses are micro-enterprises, providing 31% of employment (much higher than state average of 20%); this should be regarded as a feature (and strength), not a bug (or weakness), in Wexford’s enterprise culture – reflected in council policy, action, and support;
– micro-enterprises are mentioned in the draft report as being particularly vulnerable to economic downturn; local government should take into account the effect of outgoing payments that it levies on those same businesses, on magnifying such vulnerability – and seek to creatively minimise it, and any legacy of such;
– the North of Italy provides a positive model or lesson for a locale with high entrepreneurial activity in SMEs such as ours: Emilia Romagna. Local government gives systemic supports to highly flexible networks of small enterprises, often co-operative in nature, that leads to not only a thriving commercial culture, but a vibrant civil society. Wexford should actively examine this model for application to our own similarly entrepreneurial culture.
Continue to protect and enhance our infrastructure and promote resource efficiency in order to create the right conditions for long term sustainable economic growth.
For infrastructure: please refer to comment on transport above.
Post offices: a great network for rural areas especially, that should be expanded in terms of services offered.
Protect and sensitively utilise our natural, built and cultural heritage assets and capitalise on their economic potential.
Promote Wexford as destination, rather than throughway; inventory, network, and create “producer groups” for tourism and heritage protection, promotion and conservation.
Do the six High Level Goals reflect your view of, or vision for County Wexford?  No
Are there other High Level Goals that should be considered in the Wexford Local Economic and Community Plan?  Active Integration of new communities.
Which economic and/or community strengths should be built upon in County Wexford?  Micro-enterprises. Post office networks as one-stop-shops for local, central government services, and other services.
What is your community currently doing to address challenges or build on strengths? One particularly innovative idea: co-operative style usage of single properties to reduce outgoing costs, between several micro-enterprises.
What are the economic and community challenges that your community needs assistance to overcome?
Integration of new communities
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