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Minutes of April 2024 Adjourned Meeting of Clare County Council

Minutes of the April Adjourned Monthly Meeting of Clare County Council

Location: Held in the Council Chamber, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare and via MS Teams

On:     Monday 15th April 2024

Time: 3pm



Councillors M. Howard, J. Flynn, C. Colleran Molloy, P. Daly, T. O’Callaghan, J. Cooney, P. Burke, A. O’Callaghan, J. Crowe, M. Begley, P.J. Ryan, P. McMahon G. Flynn, S. Talty, J. Killeen, P.J. Kelly, G. Keating, C. Murphy, I. Lynch, R. McInerney


  • Mr. Leonard Cleary, Deputy Chief Executive.
  • Ms. Ann Reynolds, Meetings Administrator.
  • Ms. Aoife Coote, Assistant Staff Officer, Corporate Services.
  • Mr. Sean Lenihan, Senior Engineer, Ennis Municipal District.
  • Mr. Padraig MacCormaic, A/Senior Executive Officer, Social Development.
  • Mr. Cyril Feeney, Senior Engineer, Physical Development.

Present via MS Teams:

Councillors A. Norton, P. Murphy, L. Grant, P. Hayes, T. O’Brien, P. O’Gorman


Councillors D. McGettigan, J. Garrihy


The Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney presided.

Motion for the Purpose of dealing with Urgent Business

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney informed the meeting that he had received a request for a suspension of standing orders for the purpose of dealing with urgent business, proposed by Cllr. C. Colleran Molloy, Cllr. A. O’Callaghan, Cllr. J. Crowe, Cllr. R. McInerney, Cllr. A. Norton, Cllr. M. Howard, Cllr. P. Murphy, Cllr. P. Daly.

Cllr. Cooney sought a show of hands to confirm the consent of the members. There was unanimous support to proceed, and it was agreed to take the item first.

Ann Reynolds, Meetings Administrator read out the motion as follows:

The motion read as follows:

“That an effective coordinated approach, with other state agencies, be established by Clare County Council, to effectively address the ongoing illegal encampments occurring throughout our County.”

The elected members expressed concern as to the upset and stress caused to locals when illegal encampments locate close to their homes. The members acknowledged that there are certain processes that need to be adhered to in these situations but requested that a mechanism be put in place whereby elected members could, upon receiving solid information, contact a team in the local authority to advise and hopefully put measures in place to prevent the illegal encampment from locating there. The elected members queried if it was Roads or Housing that primarily deals with this issue and if there was a temporary designated area for these caravans to pull into.

P. MacCormaic, A/Senior Executive Officer, Social Development acknowledged the sentiments of the elected members and noted it is a difficult situation for all involved.

Mr. MacCormaic advised that when these situations occur, they work closely with the Planning section, Environmental and Roads teams and the relevant Municipal District team in the local authority along with An Garda Siochana, Tusla and other relevant agencies, in a co-ordinated manner to rectify the situation. Mr MacCormaic noted that transient sites were not included in the current Traveller Accommodation Program but possibly may be considered, regionally with neighbouring authorities, in the next Traveller Accommodation program which is currently being prepared.

Mr. MacCormaic noted that the local authority encourages Travellers to engage with the Homeless Action Team in the local authority to assist with their housing needs.

S. Lenihan, Senior Engineer, Ennis Municipal District acknowledged what the elected members had raised and noted that no members of the community should feel held to ransom. Mr. Lenihan advised that an interagency meeting had taken place and notices had been issued under Housing, Roads, Environment and Planning. Mr. Lenihan noted that the local authority is working closely with the Gardaí and HSE in relation to health and safety concerns and potential fire risks.

Cllr. C. Colleran Molloy thanked the members and executive for their support and reiterated a request for a dedicated access line to report information so that appropriate preventative measures can be put in place in a timely manner in such situations.

Item 15: Clare PPN – Nomination to Joint Policing Committee

Report dated 27th March, 2024 from Kelly Slattery, JPC Administrator, Rual Development was circulated with the agenda. The report states that at a recent election the Clare PPN elected Kieran Burke as the new Clare PPN representative for the Joint Policing Committee.

The report states that Kieran is very active in his community with a keen interest and focus on social justice. In his role on the JPC he aims to enhance relationships between the Local Authority, An Garda Siochana and the community, strengthening ties between the groups and sees the JPC as an opportunity to establish a clear line of communication between the Local Authority, communities and the gardai, especially the use of regular local forums to raise issues.

This nomination was approved having been proposed by Cllr. A. O’Callaghan seconded by Cllr. G. Keating and agreed by the members present.

Item 26: Local Government Report

Ar moladh Cllr. R. McInerney Cuidithe ag Cllr. G. Flynn agus glacadh leis

“The EU report in late 2023 on the Monitoring of the application of the European Charter of Local Self Government in Ireland cited it's primary concerns as “although new functions have been transferred to local authorities, local government is far from complying with the principle of subsidiarity which requires that public responsibilities shall generally be exercised, in preference, by those authorities closest to the citizens, and local authorities do not manage a substantial share of public affairs under their own responsibility”.

Among its recommendations are that “the authorities of Ireland transfer additional functions to local authorities, in particular within the area of public welfare and increase the amount of own resources that can be used at the discretion of local government and the share of non-earmarked grants”. 

Therefore, Clare County Council should request the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage outline the strategy and timeline to introduce the full recommendations of this report.” (M)

The elected members referred to the key issues that have been highlighted in the EU report in particular limited democratic decision making and how it is hindering the ability to deliver services such as the Roads budget. The elected members queried how much control they have in their roles and noted that if they had more control, they would streamline the spending of money and appropriately fund schemes such as LIS and CIS. The elected members noted that practices need to be brought in line with the European Charter.

Item 27: N85 Re-alignment Project

Ar moladh Cllr. S. Talty Cuidithe ag Cllr. C. Colleran Molloy, J. Killeen agus glacadh leis

“Call on Clare County Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to re-commence the N85 Kilnamona Re-Alignment project immediately. The road is an embarrassing National Road, for both Clare residents and also over one million visitors to North & West Clare with a series of narrow & dangerous bends. Crashes along this road are a regular occurrence.” (M)

Cyril Feeney, Senior Engineer, Physical Development Directorate replied as follows:

“Transport infrastructure Ireland (TII) is the funding authority for National Roads, which includes the N85 at Kilnamona. Unfortunately, funding was not approved for progressing this scheme by TII in 2023 or 2024. Therefore, Clare County Council cannot progress the appointment of consultants for the scheme at this time. A delegation of elected members and officials are currently scheduled to meet the Minister for Transport in the near future, and we will discuss the progression of this scheme at that meeting.”

The elected members expressed regret at this project not being progressed further. The members noted that this stretch of road is extremely dangerous and floods heavily making it impassible at times. The members noted that while it may not be a fatality blackspot it is a regular accident blackspot and outlined issues such as narrow traffic lanes, no pull in areas and no opportunities to pass.

C. Feeney, Senior Engineer, Physical Development addressed the meeting and noted that TII haven’t approved any further funding of this project. Mr. Feeney advised that the meeting with Minister Eamon Ryan was productive, and the Minister listened to the concerns raised. Mr. Feeney advised they will continue to engage with TII.

Item 28: Local Improvement Scheme

Ar moladh Cllr. P.J. Kelly Cuidithe ag Cllr. G. Keating agus glacadh leis

“That the Government quadruple the amount of annual grant given for the Local Improvement Scheme”. (M)

The elected members agreed that the scheme is being run inefficiently and unfairly. The members noted that people are paying a lot of taxes, and they should have access to roads that are in good condition. The members acknowledged the frustration and confusion in rural areas that so much money can be spent on Greenways and active travel but not on maintenance and upgrading of the road infrastructure. The members felt that this scheme and the rural road network in general doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Government.

Item 29: Speed Limits

Ar moladh Cllr. M. Howard Cuidithe ag Cllr. J. Flynn agus glacadh leis

“30km speed limit saves lives and prevents injury. I request Clare County Council to introduce and implement a 30km speed limit in our towns and communities.” (M)

Cyril Feeney, Senior Engineer, Physical Development Directorate replied as follows:

“The national Speed Limit Review was published in September 2023 by the Department of Transport. The Road Traffic Bill 2024 seeks to give legislative effect to the Speed Limit Review key recommendations, including:

the default speed limit on national secondary roads to reduce from 100km/h to 80km/h

the default speed limit for local and rural roads to reduce from 80km/h to 60km/h

the default speed limit on urban roads in built-up areas to reduce to 30km/h

Updated guidelines for Local Authorities are being prepared by the department such that speed limit reviews can commence within each Local Authority once legislation is enacted in 2024.

Therefore, the initiation of any such speed limit review is considered premature until such a time as new guidance documents on the application and setting of speed limits and updated legislation is published.”

The elected members outlined the impacts of hitting a pedestrian at different speeds. The members acknowledged that there is an increase in poor quality of driving in recent years and it is backed up by the number of accidents and fatalities on the roads. The members suggested cameras be rolled out nationally that would identify number plates and issue fines immediately, it was also suggested that traffic calming measures in towns and villages have proved successful to reduce speed. The members acknowledged that something needs to be done to given the number of fatalities on the roads.  

Item 30: Medical Card Review

Ar moladh Cllr. M. Howard Cuidithe ag Cllr. P. O’Gorman, A. O’Callaghan agus glacadh leis

“Clare County Council requests the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to immediately scrap the current system of reviewing medical cards for the over 70s”. (M)

The elected members expressed frustration at the requirement to review medical cards for people aged over 70. The members noted that these people have worked all their lives and paid taxes and are entitled to have these cards. The members noted that the information being requested is onerous and people are upset with having to complete it. The members felt that there is too much bureaucracy in the health service and that the focus should be on getting people treated and not reviewing medial cards for over 70’s.

Item 31: Casual Trading Licenses

Ar moladh Cllr. G. Flynn Cuidithe ag Cllr. S. Talty agus glacadh leis

“I am calling on Clare County Council to re-evaluate their Casual Trading Licenses for the county of Clare. Some members of the public have raised serious concerns in the granting of licences for fast food mobile units in towns and villages throughout our County, health and safety of residents living adjacent to these temporary trading outlets that are operating in conditions where the risks of fire could have serious consequences for residential property and also the fact that large volumes of people are drawn to these outlets late at night and creating an anti-social environment with very little oversight or control from the Garda or private security arrangements.” (M)

Carmel Greene, Senior Executive Officer, Property Management Unit replied as follows:

“Casual Trading Licences are issued in accordance with the governing Casual Trading Bye-Laws for the particular town or village and the maps attached to the Bye-Laws show the designated trading areas.

Following a review of the Bye-Laws that had been in place for many years, a review was commenced in 2021.   This included briefings with the elected members at Municipal District level and a public consultation process. New Casual Trading Bye-Laws were adopted by each Municipal District during 2021 and have been the basis for annual casual trading licenses issued since then.

If there are particular issues in any towns or village that require to be reviewed, this can be done at Municipal District level, following a mapping and consultation process.

Generally, any fast-food mobile units are only licensed for Festivals and events are not there on an annual basis. There is merit in working with the Tourism team to establish if there are alternatives to such temporary trading arrangements as many Festivals depend on them to cope with the evening and night-time trade. I am aware of two towns where this is causing concern and options in those two towns will be examined in consultation with the relevant MD team.”

The elected members acknowledged that while these temporary trading outlets are required particularly for festivals and events it is important that the sites are appropriately located. It was noted that a large percentage of these licenses are granted to night-time businesses when enforcement is minimal, and the safety of locals is vital. The members noted that the fire officer should be involved in the process due to the fire risk hazard.

Item 32: National Housing Plan

Ar moladh Cllr. P. Murphy

“That Clare County Council call on Government to develop a new housing plan based on a supply of sufficient, secure, high quality and environmentally housing. Core components of this proposed new housing plan would be:

Setting up a public construction company/agency that would be tasked with sourcing and hiring the key trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, architects and engineers that can deliver housing. In the short term, priority may have to be given to sourcing these tradespeople from other countries. The long term proposed plan would incorporate an overhaul of our current apprenticeship model, introducing changes and incentives that will make these courses more attractive and align them with third level institutions, thereby providing a steady stream of trained and skilled tradespeople.

Tasking this public construction company/agency with sourcing and importing construction materials on behalf of the state, thereby making the materials more affordable to builder’s providers and contractors which in turn would lead to an increased supply of housing.” (M)

Following a brief discussion Cllr. P. Murphy withdrew the motion and advised that an amended version would be submitted at a future meeting.

Item 33: Green Paper of Disability Reform

Ar moladh Cllr. D. McGettigan

“That Clare County Council support Clare Leader Forum in their call to scrap the Green Paper on Disability Reform and to start with consultation with disabled people from the beginning, drawing on a human rights and social model perspective. Disabled people are calling for a cost of Disability, independent living supports to get to work and to separate secondary benefits, such as the medical card which prevents people from considering work.” (M)

Due to the decision by the Government not to proceed any further with the Green Paper on Disability Reform, Cllr. D. McGettigan withdrew the motion.

Item 34: Designated Maritime Area Plans

Ar moladh Cllr. T. O’Brien Cuidithe ag Cllr. R. McInerney agus glacadh leis

“Clare County Council writes to the Taoiseach Simon Harris and requests from him that the next round of DMAPs preparation is expediated and prioritises the waters off the Shannon Estuary and County Clare as the next area for DMAP preparation.” (M)

The elected members acknowledged that a lot of good work had been done in relation to offshore wind opportunities on the Shannon Estuary. The members noted that Moneypoint has the best wind speed and infrastructure and deepest port but in order to progress the development further the Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP) needs to be expedited. The members expressed disappointment in finding out that for the next ten to fifteen years all development will be concentrated on the East Coast. The members noted that they would be interested in having a briefing on the next stages to get the site up to standard with technology and infrastructure.

S. Lenihan, Senior Engineer, Ennis Municipal District addressed the meeting and advised that it has been raised with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications and they have been informed that funding is required to move the project forward.

Item 35: Road Infrastructure Funding

Ar moladh Cllr. C. Murphy Cuidithe ag Cllrs. I. Lynch, L. Grant, R. McInerney, J. Garrihy, S. Talty, T. O’Brien, P. Hayes agus glacadh leis

“Given the deplorable condition of many regional, local secondary and tertiary roads, that

  1. a) a commitment is given by senior management team to examine our own resources with view to providing an increased allocation in 2024 targeted at addressing these issues, and that this allocation be made to each LEA pro rata on a road length basis;
  2. b) a working group of elected members and senior management be set up in September to discuss the equitable allocation process for roads funding in the future, and
  3. c) a detailed report outlining the funding deficit between the recommended 10% of road restoration and maintenance per annum, and the percentage of roads actually being maintained, be forwarded to the Minister of State for Transport.” (M)

Cyril Feeney, Senior Engineer, Physical Development Directorate replied as follows:

“a) The Council’s annual budget for 2024 was adopted in November 2023, and provides the basis for expenditure across the various programme groups including roads. The adopted budget provided for own resources expenditure on roads is €2,319,900, which represents an increase of €518,500 (29%) from 2023. The own resources allocation along with the notified grant funding allocations formed the basis of the Schedule of Municipal District Works Roadworks Programme for 2024.  However, having taken into consideration the deteriorating condition of some of the road network we are looking at providing additional funding of a Capital nature that will not impact on the Council’s own Revenue Budget 2024.

  1. b) A working group to discuss the allocation process for roads funding can be set up as requested.  We anticipate this workshop will take place in September in preparation for the budget process.
  2. c) We have contacted the Minister for Transports office and the Minister has indicated he will facilitate a meeting which is provisionally scheduled for the 11th April to discuss additional funding for the roads programme. We will prepare a presentation for the Minister regarding the current deficit in funding.”

The elected members noted that the roads are in a deplorable condition with only 5% of the road network being maintained. The members expressed frustration that new infrastructure is being added but the existing infrastructure isn’t being maintained. It was acknowledged by the members that the roads team work very hard but are not resourced adequately. The members collectively called for further funding to improve the serious issue.

L. Cleary, Director of Service, Tourism Development advised the members that an additional €2.5 million in capital funds is being made available for the county’s road network and will be divided amongst the five local electoral areas. Mr. Cleary advised that the funding will not impact the revenue budget. Mr. Cleary acknowledged the work done by the elected members on this issue.

Item 36: Adequate Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Ar moladh Cllr. I. Lynch Cuidithe ag Cllr. T. O’Callaghan agus glacadh leis

“To ask the Taoiseach, Minister for Health, Minister for Education and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to urgently intervene in the ongoing crisis in relation to diagnosis, early intervention and education needs of children with autism spectrum disorder. This crisis is having a devastating impact on childhood development and placing families in extreme financial burden and mental anguish due to the chronic under-resourcing of services and bureaucratic red tape limiting access to adequate education services.” (M)

The elected members acknowledged the impossible decisions that families are having to make due to under resourcing for this illness. The members noted that misdiagnosis and waiting to be diagnosed are having detrimental effects on the children and their education. The members noted that every child has a right to education and schools need to have the correct structures in place to facilitate children with autism. The members acknowledged that people can’t understand the challenges unless faced with it.

Tribute to Leonard Cleary, Director of Tourism Development

On behalf of the members the Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney thanked Leonard Cleary, Director of Tourism Development Directorate for all the work he has done for the county throughout his time in the local authority. The Cathaoirleach wished Leonard well on his appointment and wished him every success in the future.


Reports on Seminars/Conferences attended.

With regard to seminars/conferences attended, reports completed in accordance with Section 142 of the Local Government Act 2001 were made available at the meeting.

Celtic Conferences “A Practical Guide to Taxation” conference, taking place in O’Donovan’s Hotel, Clonakilty, Co Cork on 1st – 3rd March 2024.

The Meetings Administrator informed the Members that the estimated average cost per Councillor attending this Conference was €699.45 including conference fee of €130.00.

It was agreed that Cllrs P. O’Gorman, M. Howard, P.J, Ryan, A. Norton, J. Garrihy, P. Daly, P. McMahon, J. Killeen, T. O’Brien, M. Begley attend this conference.

AILG Elected Member Training Programme Module 2 “Local Election 2024 Preparation – A Briefing from the Electoral Commission” conference, taking place in Hotel Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny on 21st March 2024.

The Meetings Administrator informed the Members that the estimated average cost per Councillor attending this Conference was €509.54 including conference fee of €85.00.

It was agreed that Cllrs M. Begley, P. Burke, J. Cooney, J. Crowe, P. Daly, G. Keating, P.J. Kelly, J. Killeen, P. Murphy, A. Norton, T. O’Brien attend this conference.


AILG Elected Member Training Programme Module 2 “Local Election 2024 Preparation – A Briefing from the Electoral Commission” conference, taking place in Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone on 23rd March 2024.

The Meetings Administrator informed the Members that the estimated average cost per Councillor attending this Conference was €398.88 including conference fee of €85.00.

It was agreed that Cllrs P. McMahon attend this conference.


The meeting then concluded.

Signed: ____________________________ Riarthóir Cruinnithe

Signed: _____________________________ Cathaoirleach

Date:               _____________________________

Page last reviewed: 13/05/24

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