Minutes 2020

Minutes of Special Meeting of Sligo County Council held on Friday, 1st May, 2020 at 11.00 a.m. in The Council Chamber, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo


  • Councillor Bree,
  • Councillor Casserly,
  • Councillor Fox,
  • Councillor Gilroy,
  • Councillor Healy,
  • Councillor MacSharry,
  • Councillor O’Boyle and
  • Councillor Queenan.


  • Mr. Ciarán Hayes, Chief Executive
  • Mr. Tom Kilfeather, Director of Services
  • Mr. John Moran, Senior Executive Officer
  • Mr. Kevin Colreavy, Meetings Administrator
  • Ms. Jo-Anne McGonigle, Assistant Staff Officer


Cathaoirleach, Councillor T. McSharry presided.


Apologies were received from Councillor Baker, Councillor Clarke, Councillor Connolly, Councillor Maguire, Councillor Mullaney, Councillor Mulvey, Councillor O’Grady, Councillor Taylor and Councillor Walsh.



The Cathaoirleach welcomed those present and thanked them for their attendance.  There was a strong interest from the Members of Sligo County Council, the Chief Executive and his team to get Local Government functioning through fully attended Council Meetings.  In order to comply with social distancing and Health and Safety guidance issued, it had been suggested that the May Meeting would be held in I.T. Sligo. 

The Cathaoirleach thanked the Chief Executive and Mr. Brendan McCormack, President of I.T. Sligo for facilitating the Members’ request. 

It was then

Proposed by Councillor T. MacSharry
Seconded by Councillor G. O’Boyle


“To approve holding the Ordinary Meeting of Sligo County Council on the 11th May, 2020 at the Knocknarea Arena, Sligo I.T.”

Councillor Bree commended the Chief Executive and staff for the work being carried out.  All front line services were also thanked for the work they had performed over the last six weeks since the pandemic commenced.  Councillors and members of the public were also very pleased with the response of the County Council and how services were being maintained and he wished to convey that message to the Chief Executive and staff.

Councillor Healy commended the Cathaoirleach for organising the meeting.  It was important that this work recommence as quickly as possible.  He also added his congratulations to those extended by Councillor Bree on the work done on Covid-19.  What had been set up was working very well.  It was important, as local representatives, to show leadership.  Councillor Healy said he was also in agreement to hold the May Meeting in I. T. Sligo.

Councillor Casserly paid tribute to the staff and volunteers who were keeping essential services going as much as possible.  The Cathaoirleach was again commended for calling the meeting on 11th May.

Councillor Fox thanked the Chair, the Executive and the Members for the work they were doing.  He wished to acknowledge all the work that was being done in the background.  In concluding, he added that was looking forward to meetings resuming on the 11th May.

The Chief Executive thanked the Members for their comments and confirmed that arrangements had been made for use of the Knocknarea Arena at Sligo I.T. on the 11th May.  A decision would have to be made for subsequent meetings.

The Members were informed that there would be a number of statutory items to be dealt with on the agenda, including the outturn for 2019, co-option of a Member, taking in charge of an estate and disposal of property.  There will also be an update on Covid-19 outlining the activities of Sligo County Council over the last six weeks.  This would include the impact it had on the Council’s finances.  On rates alone, a figure of €7m drop in income was anticipated.  At national level, the scale of what was being dealt with was enormous and unprecedented.  The Government was currently trying to assist the economy and those laid off.  While trying to continue to operate, they also had a role to assist the Local Authority sector.  It would not be possible to continue to operate if the sector was not given that support, and very severe restrictions were likely. 

The Members were thanked for their comments in relation to staff and the Chief Executive outlined the work being carried out in recent weeks.  This work had not been from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. or Monday to Friday.  This work had also been carried out very willingly, and had been very heartening to see the manner in which staff had offered to do whatever was necessary.

The Chief Executive agreed that it was important to hold the May meeting for a number of reasons.  There were a number of statutory issues as he had already outlined.  He advised that the date for the Annual General Meetings would be listed on the May agenda.

There had been extremely good compliance with the Government restrictions by people in Sligo.  It was hoped that this would not be allowed to slip.  The Chief Executive spoke of the number of people and community groups throughout the county who had played their part.  He said he was priviledged to have been involved with them in this work.

The Cathaoirleach said it was important that Sligo County Council would meet, and he looked forward to a positive meeting in Sligo I.T. which would be a historical moment for all.  It was important that the public would be aware that the Members were out there and continuing to work away on behalf of the people who had elected them.

The Chief Executive referred to the cost involved in hosting the meeting in Sligo I.T. He informed the Members that, due to costs for hire of Public Address equipment in that venue, it could cost in the region of €3,000 to €4,000 per meeting.  A discussion ensued in relation to sourcing alternative other locations that may not require the same level of set up cost.  Councillor Bree also requested that, on 11th May, the microphones would be turned off for a short period to check if it would be feasible to operate without them at future meetings.

Councillor Gilroy enquired if a further resolution was also required regarding hosting of Municipal District Meetings in County Hall rather than City Hall.  The Chief Executive confirmed that this could be dealt with, by resolution, at the May Meeting.

The Chief Executive also clarified that the €7 million drop referred to rates only.  There were significant other costs regarding Covid-19 and reductions in income streams including pay and display in car parks, housing rents, planning applications and the entire spectrum of income sources. 

The Chief Executive referred to the tradition and precedent of meetings being held on Monday which could be traced back to when Dáil Members were available each Monday and Friday.  This might also need to be reviewed by Members if a number of meetings must be arranged for the remainder of the year in the context of Covid restrictions

The Cathaoirleach concluded the meeting by thanking the Members and Executive for their attendance



The business of the meeting concluded at 11.25 a.m.


Meeting Date 01/05/2020