Sunday, April 08, 2007
More staff needed in Duleek Civic Office
At one point it looked like we might have to stop the meeting, because there was less than a quorum in the chamber (a quorum is a third of members). However, luckily the tenth Councillor came back from a toilet break just in the nick of time.
By the time it got to the Motion submitted by the five Slane Councillors I was the only councillor from the area left in the Chamber, so it fell to me to propose the Motion. Our Motion called for the Minister to increase staffing levels at the Duleek Civic Offices and in the Council in general. At the moment there is a recruitment freeze in operation.
I argued that the population of the East Meath area has risen by 25% since 2002 and that Duleek itself has grown by 50% in that period. I also made the point that since the County Manager (in his wisdom) has withdrawn a motor tax service from the Civic Offices in Ashbourne the workload on Duleek staff has increased further. Almost any day you choose you will see queues stretching out the door of the Duleek Offices.
The other councillors supported the Motion and a letter is to be sent to Minister Roche arguing for more resources.
The situation in relation to Ashbourne is a bit farcical. It’s one of our designated growth towns, we are all looking for a sustainable development, where local services are provided locally, and yet the Manager relocated the motor tax service miles down the road!
I was also in Ratoath during the week to talk to people about the issues facing the growing village. Many residents asked about whether the current rate of population growth would continue. I was able to explain the thinking behind the recently adopted County Development Plan, which will limit the amount of housing allowed in Ratoath over the next six years. In effect, residents can expect to see a lower rate of population growth - it’s a period of consolidation rather than mass expansion.
A major issue at the doorstop was the commute to and from Dublin. One lady told me about her two children travelling up to DCU each day and paying a hundred euro a week in bus fares. I told her about our policy of bus fares from Ratoath. €1 fare each way, which we intend to do by including Ratoath in the commuterland fare structure.
People also complained about the condition of bus stops. I had been in Dublin to the bus stop at Beresford Place on Wednesday and could empathise. The bus stop itself is a disgrace. It's covered in graffiti and a printed timetable wouldn't go amiss.
Beresford Place bus stop
How can we expect to attract more people out of cars into buses if we don’t think about the end-to-end experience? I wonder if the Chief Executive of Bus Eireann would be happy to let their son or daughter wait at that bus stop on a rainy evening? Especially if the next bus is at least 20 minutes away! I wrote to the Chief Executive and told him as much.
Some good news this week -the long awaited completion of a footpath between Laytown and the school is only days away. It will mean that families can walk with their children down to the school from Inse Bay, Seaview and other local estates in safety. It’s something all of the Councillors have been pushing for over the last two years.
The Laytown footpath should be finished before the end of the Easter Holidays
The election is around the corner and at this stage people are asking me what my position is on this issue or on that subject. Here’s a short video on a commitment I’m making for our hospitals.
My Commitment on Hospitals
Secondly, in relation to that report (http://www.unison.ie/meath_chronicle/stories.php3?ca=38&si=1809831&issue_id=15489) on the Navan Road junction - it does look a bit strange. Either the reporter has not provided the full details of what may be a bigger contract, or the council is indeed seeking a tender for just the junction and lights. Because it's Navan Town Council and not Meath County Council I don't have a role in this, so I don't know the specific details of the case. What I can say is that as someone who has worked in the transportation department of a large engineering consultancy (Ove Arup), we would knock up a design for a junction (including phasing of lights etc) in a short number of days. I know that there is in-house capability in the COUNTY Council to do this sort of work, but I don't know the exact position in relation to Navan TC. Perhaps the Council engineers are only responsible for the procurement and project management side, rather than the detailed design, which they contract out. I'll do a bit of digging on this.
Im from Ratoath and have been living there for the last 3 years.
Slowdown on building, not really!!
Ratoath has grown 91% since the previous census.
There is an application for 286 new homes opposite Jamestown estate.
Buses run on an ad-hoc basis as far as I can see so now I use the car.
Ratoath is in the "country-side", WHERE is there to walk? Oh yes on the pavement beside the HGV's roaring by on a regular basis.
Where is there a playground for kids?
Much to do. Maybe Labour can deliver? Fianna Fail certainly did not.
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