Sligo Municipal Minutes 2016

Minutes of Meeting of the Municipal District of Sligo held on Monday 18th January, 2016


  • Councillor Declan Bree
  • Councillor Marie Casserly
  • Councillor Thomas Healy (Mayor)
  • Councillor Hubert Keaney
  • Councillor Seamus Kilgannon
  • Councillor Sean Mac Manus
  • Councillor Tom Mac Sharry
  • Councillor Sinéad Maguire
  • Councillor Gino O’Boyle
  • Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady



  • Ms. Dorothy Clarke, Director of Services
  • Mr. Tom Kilfeather, Director of Services
  • Mr. Bartley Gavin, A/Director of Services
  • Ms. Marie Whelan, Head of Finance
  • Mr. Joe Murphy, Senior Executive Officer
  • Mr. Tom Brennan, Senior Engineer
  • Mr. Brían Flynn, Senior Resident Engineer
  • Ms. Sinéad Branley, Staff Officer



  • Mr. Ciarán Hayes, Chief Executive



The Mayor, Councillor T. Healy presided and welcomed the Members, Executive and members of the media to the first Municipal District meeting of 2016.



Proposed by Councillor S. Kilgannon
Seconded by Councillor R. O’Grady


“To confirm the minutes of the Meeting of the Municipal District of Sligo held on 16th November, 2015.




Ms. Dorothy Clarke introduced this item and then handed over to Ms. Marie Whelan who stated that a number of initiatives and strategies have been introduced at national level to assist Local Authorities to address the growing arrears of housing loans, housing rents and commercial rates. These included:

  • Targets set by the CCMA for all Local Authorities for 2015 for the collection of commercial rates
  • Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process
  • Mortgage to Rent Scheme
  • Initiatives to deal with arrears of shared ownership loans

In addition, Sligo County Council at a local level have introduced strategies to improve the collection of income across all income streams including commercial rates, housing loans and housing rents. As part of this process, an Income Task Force was established in December 2014 as part of the Financial Plan commitment. Under the chairmanship of the Chief Executive, membership of the Task Force is drawn from all sections of the organisation who meet on a monthly basis. The terms of reference of the Task Force is to identify and maximise revenue from all sources, devise strategies for recovery of arrears, ensure appropriate procedures are in place for recoupment of capital allocations and drawdown of grants. The work of the Task Force has impacted positively on all sections and departments within the Council. It has ensured a focus on cost recovery and resulted in business processes being revised to ensure a prioritisation on income collection. The work of the Task Force has been encouraging with a reduction in arrears across multiple income streams to date in 2015.

In addition, in October 2015 Sligo County Council introduced a new debt collection system replacing the existing system in operation.

Housing Rent Arrears/Collections

At the end of 2015 the income collected from housing rents was €190K greater than that collected at the end of December 2014 (€4.84m vs. €4.65m). The additional income collected in 2015 has arrested the increase in rent arrears of recent years and as a result there is no further deterioration of the rent arrears figure at the end of 2015.

Housing Loans

The Council has in place a Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process which was compiled in accordance with the Central Bank of Ireland’s most recent Code of Conduct on Mortgage arrears and it assists the borrower experiencing problems meeting loan repayments in a sympathetic and constructive manner. The MARP framework applies in three instances: (i) when a borrower is in pre-arrears, (ii) already in arrears or (iii) when an existing alternative payment arrangement breaks down. Designated Arrears Support Officers from the Council are assigned to deal with borrowers.

Mortgage to Rent Scheme

The Mortgage to Rent Scheme was introduced in 2014. This is a Government Initiative to help homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes due to unsustainable loans. Under the Mortgage to Rent Scheme, the ownership of the house will transfer to the Local Authority. The customer will no longer own their home but will continue to live in the house as a tenant of the Local Authority. The tenant will pay a rent which is related to the tenant’s income which is set by the Local Authority. Currently the Council have three applications on hand and two further cases pending.

The Mayor thanked Ms. Whelan for her comprehensive report and queried the position with regards the valuation for commercial rates. Ms. Whelan stated that the matter was not included in the report before the Members today as it was only due to be introduced in 2018. The Mayor then invited comments from Members. In response, the Members complimented Ms. Whelan and her team for the progress made in difficult circumstances and stressed the importance of having good frontline staff to deal with the public.

At this point it was:

Proposed by Councillor D. Bree
Seconded by Councillor G. O’Boyle


“That the minutes of meetings of the Income Task Force be circulated to Council Members.


Mr. Joe Murphy, Senior Executive Officer delivered a report to Members on Social Housing, the main points being:

Housing Capital Programme

The target of units set for delivery for the Council under the Social Housing Strategy in the period 2015 to 2017 is 301 as follows, a) LA Housing (Construction and Acquisition, including Part V acquisitions), Capital Assistance Scheme, and Returning Vacant Social Housing Properties to Productive Use-101 units, b) Leasing Programme-68 units, c) Rental Accommodation Scheme-132 units.

Other Programmes

Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme

An allocation of €20 million was made to Local Authorities in 2015. The Council’s initial allocation of €561,309 was subsequently increased to €652,028.00 and funded works to 624 houses. No Council contribution was required. This Programme has now funded works to 1,081 Council houses in the past three years. Works to 538 houses remain to be carried out. The Council will be seeking an allocation from the Department this year to enable it to complete the works to those houses.

Extensions Programmes

An allocation of €203,727.00 was given to the Council under this heading in 2015. It facilitated the provision of extensions to three houses. The Council contributed an additional 10% from its own resources.

Adaption Grants for Local Authority Stock Programme

Works at a cost of €284,001.50 were carried out to 58 houses under this Programme. 90 % or €255,601.00 was funded by the Department with the balance of 10% or €28,400.50 funded by the Council from its own resources. Works in a number of cases facilitated tenants in being able to leave hospital and return to their homes.

Private Housing Grants Programme

The capital allocation for 2015 was €531,063. This was to be funded as follows,


  • 80% Department Contribution
  • 20% Council Contribution The Department advised the Council to process and approve all applications on hand and received during the year. The Value and number of grants approved in 2015 is €1,322,546.07(228 no.). The Grant Scheme as far as the Council is aware will remain open for 2016-no allocation to date.


Housing Assistance Payment

The implementation of this payment is a key Government priority and a major pillar of the Social Housing Strategy 2020. HAP went live in Sligo on the 16thNovember 2015 and to date 13 tenancies have been set up (8 were in place at the end of 2015).


129 offers of Social houses were made during 2015 with 102 accepted (80%) and 27 refused (20 %). As at 31/12/2015, 2,031 units are either occupied or allocated, with a further 4 available for letting. 92 houses are vacant. That number will be reduced by 17 early this year on completion of ongoing works to the vacant stock. In addition works to a number of other vacant houses will also be carried out in 2016 under the Programme (subject to Department funding) referred to above. The members should note that there is a number of vacant houses in hard to let/low demand areas. The Council would be reluctant to include houses in these areas in that Programme without approved prospective tenants in mind.


The Councils Budget allocation of €210,169.00 was fully expended in 2015. The total presentations for the year were 262 broken down as follows:

New Presentations Single Clients Couples Child Dependents
116 107 9 35

There were 146 repeat presentations from clients who were accessing the homeless services intermittently.

The Resettlement Tenancy Support Service was tendered and awarded to Focus Ireland and this came into effect in the last quarter of 2015. This service had been previously provided by Sligo Social Services. During the last quarter, 9 referrals were being dealt with by Focus Ireland assisting clients in their current tenancy or those at risk of becoming homeless. In December, it was agreed in the context of the Severe Weather Initiative that Maryville Hostel would remain open during the day for period from 14/12/2015 to 31/3/2016. Heretofore, it closed from 1pm to 5 pm each day.

Traveller Accommodation 

This matter was addressed at a previous Council meeting.

Social Housing Support

No. of Households approved for Social Housing Support as at 31/12/15-1,076 No. of Households approved for a transfer as at 31/12/15 -99

Private Rented Tenancy Board

The Council are required to carry out a number of inspections of private rented properties each year. 514 inspections were carried out in 2015-target 500.

Maintenance Programme

The Council spent over €700,000 in 2015 on its maintenance programme. Most of the 2,931 requests for repairs during 2015 were granted.

The Members thanked Mr. Murphy for his comprehensive report but noted that they did not have adequate time to consider the report in advance of the meeting. Given the importance of housing in the current climate, the Members then requested that the item either be included as a single item on the agenda for the next meeting or that a special meeting be called to discuss the matter in further detail. Following further discussion it was agreed that the matter would be brought before a special meeting of the full Council with a date for the meeting to be agreed by the three respective Chairpersons.


Mr. Bartley Gavin, A/Director of Services delivered a report on the Urban Enhancement Funding Application, the main points of which were:

  • The Co–Funded ERDF Designated Urban Centre Development Fund 2014-2020 was launched in 2015.
  • One of the aims of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is to support sustainable urban development through integrated strategies that tackle the social, economic, environmental, and climatic challenges of urban areas, including functional urban areas, taking account of the need to promote urban rural linkages.
  • It is intended that the Regional Operational Programmes 2014-2020 should specifically prioritise sustainable urban development in the National Spatial Strategy Gateways in the Border, Midland and Western Region, in line with the principles specified in Ireland’s partnership agreement.
  • Urban authorities are being asked to prioritise the most appropriate actions for ERDF co-funding to optimise the added value for public investment in social economic and environmental terms. The priority will strive to address 2 key Specific Objectives:
    1. To revitalise, regenerate and improve the urban environment in the designated urban centres as part of integrated urban strategies and,
    2. To support low carbon sustainable, multimodal urban mobility in designated urban centres.

Sligo County Council submitted its application to the funding scheme, which is being co-ordinated by the Northern and Western Regional Authority (NWRA), on 30th October 2015. The projects submitted are as follows:

  1. O'Connell Street Enhancement
  2. New Civic Centre - Crann Nua - Cranmore, Sligo
  3. Cleveragh Regional Urban Park
  4. Pedestrian Footbridge, at New Bridge, Bridge Sligo
  5. New Pontoon at Riverside Sligo
  6. Sligo Streets Improvement Project

The level of ERDF Funding available to the BMW Region in the first instance is expected to be in the order of €14 million. The Council is awaiting an announcement of the allocation of funding. A key aspect to this funding scheme is the provision of 50% Matching Funding by the Local Authority which may not entail borrowing. Direct government capital grants to Local Authorities are deemed as eligible matching funding. Cross border funding is not permissible as matching funding.


With the agreement of the Members, the Mayor Councillor Healy proceeded to take agenda item No. 13 at this point:

Proposed by Councillor T. MacSharry
Seconded by Councillor T. Healy


"That an update on the O'Connell Street upgrade be given to Council Members by the Executive".


Proposed by Councillor S. Kilgannon
Seconded by Councillor T. MacSharry


“That Sligo Municipal District calls on the Minister for the Environment Mr. Alan Kelly, that private childcare providers would not be levied with rates"


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


“To call on Sligo County Council to carry out an inspection on a number of trees at the main Collooney roundabout which are a concern to the general public

Mr. Brían Flynn in response stated that the trees in question were surveyed by a qualified arborist during November 2015. Of the five mature horse chestnut trees at this location, four are deemed to be of moderate quality & value and in fair condition. One tree is deemed to be in poor condition and it is recommended that this tree should be considered for removal. The Council is awaiting quotations for its removal and it is anticipated that the necessary works will be carried out during 1st quarter 2016.


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


“To ask Sligo County Council to inspect and carry out the necessary repair works on a wall that is in a dangerous state which is next to the Adventure Playground in Forthill. Concerned parents of children who use the playground have raised their concerns

Mr. Tom Brennan advised the meeting that following an inspection by the Council Parks Staff (not a structural survey) the wall next to the Adventure Playground Forthill is considered to be structurally sound and not in a dangerous state. The issues pertaining to the wall appear to be more aesthetic than structural. The Parks Department will consider options to improve the appearance of this wall, including the removal of a fence attached to the wall, the removal of loose plaster and possibly painting the wall thereafter.


Proposed by Councillor T. Healy
Seconded by Councillor S. Mac Manus


“To Call on Sligo County Council to address the ongoing concerns raised by the residents committee in Rathbraughan Estate. Their concerns are with a large green area which is so overgrown and illegal dumping taking place, and also the derelict Crèche building which is gone into disrepair

Mr. Brían Flynn in response stated that during late 2013, the Roads Dept. undertook a considerable clean-up of the area in question. At that time significant volumes of illegally dumped household waste were collected by the Council both from the large green area and also from the laneway to the rear of the estate. Considerable costs were incurred in terms of clean up and disposal of waste. In an attempt to address this ongoing issue, it is proposed that personnel from the Council’s Roads, Parks and Environment Sections will carry out a joint inspection of the area with a view to identifying the most effective manner for dealing with the problem.

At this point the Mayor, Councillor Healy welcomed members of the Rathbraughan Resident’s Association to the meeting. Councillor’s Bree, Keaney, Kilgannon, O’Boyle and O’Grady were also in support of the motion.


Proposed by Councillor S. Mac Manus
Seconded by Councillor T. Healy


“To ask what progress has been made to provide a footbridge at Bridge Street/Thomas Street, Sligo."

Mr. Tom Brennan stated that the Part 8 Planning Process for the scheme was approved by the Council in November 2009 and preliminary design and tender documents prepared. Some land acquisitions issues remain to be completed. The DTTAS provided funding for the planning and design works carried out to date on this Scheme. Non-National Road Schemes such as this normally attract funding under the Department’s Specific Improvement Grant Scheme (SIG). However, the DTTAS has wound down this scheme in recent years and since 2013 is not seeking applications for construction of new projects. Funding is only being made available for completion of schemes under construction and for minor bridge refurbishment works. The last application for funding to DTTAS was for an amount of €285,000 for year 2013 for preliminary works including installation of foundations for the new bridge and repair works to the existing bridge. However, no funding was allocated to the scheme. An application was also made in October 2015 to the Northern and Western Regional Assembly for funding this project under the Designated Urban Centre Grant Scheme (BMW Region). The status of this scheme has recently been reviewed and, arising from new provisions in respect of appropriate assessments contained in the Planning and Development Act 2010, and because the construction works have not commenced within 12 months of the relevant provisions in this act coming into effect, we now need to screen the scheme to determine if a Natura Impact Statement is required. If a Natura Impact Statement is required then the Scheme will have to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for approval. In 2016 we expect to procure an Ecologist to determine if this project can or cannot be “screened out for the Natural Impact Process. The cost of this will not be significant and we will endeavour to do this in 2016 from within existing budgets.

Councillor’s Mac Sharry, Kilgannon, O’Grady and Maguire were in support of the motion.


Proposed by Councillor T. Mac Sharry
Seconded by Councillor S. Kilgannon


"That Sligo Council Engineering Department assess the location of the speed ramps at the Ferndale estate entrance in terms of Health and Safety"

Mr. Tom Brennan advised the meeting that Mr. Brían Flynn had given an undertaking to meet Councillor MacSharry on site to discuss the matter. This was welcomed by the Members.


Proposed by Councillor T. Mac Sharry
Seconded by Councillor T. Healy


"That Sligo County Council make an urgent application for funding for enhanced flood defences for the Garavogue, given the recent flooding at the Back Avenue at Cleveragh"

Mr. Tom Brennan stated that the Councils Roads Department are intending to carry out an investigation in respect of the flooding which occurs on the roadway adjacent to the play area at Cleveragh. Maintenance works in the form of drain cleaning and widening were carried out at this location during 2014 but nevertheless the problem still persists. It is considered that the flooding is heavily influenced by the high water levels of the arterial drains flowing to the Garavogue via the Doorly Park woodlands. The Council will seek to identify the most appropriate means of resolving same and we will liaise with the OPW to determine if funding can be obtained under the Minor Works Mitigation Works Scheme.


With the agreement of the Members, the Mayor Councillor Healy proceeded to take items 14 & 22 together.

Proposed by Councillor S. Maguire
Seconded by Councillor H. Keaney


“Given the increased traffic flow to Cleveragh Retail Park and the Sports Centre that consideration will be given to the implementation of speed controls and/or a one-way system together with upgrading of the surface of the road along Doorly Park”.

Proposed by Councillor R. O’Grady
Seconded by Councillor S. Kilgannon


“That the Council review the traffic situation on the Doorly Park Road

In response Mr. Tom Brennan stated the Roads Department are conscious that this matter has been on the Council Agenda on a number of occasions. It is understood that various options including minor road widening have been proposed in the past. This matter has also been considered in the context of the design for the Eastern Garavogue Bridge and Approach Roads and in that regard proposals have been advanced in terms of traffic calming this section of roadway in conjunction with the development of the bridge. Notwithstanding the above, the Roads Department will carry out a traffic survey on the roadway in question over the coming months, the output of which may be used to determine whether or not traffic calming measures are required in the short term.

Councillor T. Mac Sharry supported both motions.


Proposed by Councillor S. Maguire
Seconded by Councillor R. O’Grady


“Given the disrupted and inconsistent collection of refuse from the public bins in Ballisodare, that an Engineer be appointed from the Sligo Engineering Area to ensure a more coherent service to the village”.

Mr. Tom Brennan stated that the issue of the allocation of Engineering Staff and indeed Roads staff in general throughout the County, including the Ballisodare area, will be considered in the context of the realignment of the existing engineering areas, with the new municipal district structures. This reorganisation is due to take place in the first half of 2016. Mr. Tom Kilfeather added that the aim of the workforce planning process was to get a better balance between the engineering areas while still adhering to the requirements of the Financial Plan.


Proposed by Councillor S. Kilgannon
Seconded by Councillor T. MacSharry


“To request Sligo County Council to carry out an inspection of the large old trees which over hang on Molloway Hill as some appear in a dangerous condition”.

Mr. Tom Brennan advised the meeting that it will be necessary to ascertain if the trees in question are located on public or private property. If it is determined that the trees are on public property, arrangements will be made to have the trees inspected by a qualified arborist. Otherwise the matter will be referred to the appropriate landowners.


Proposed by Councillor S. Kilgannon
Seconded by Councillor T. MacSharry


“Due to the large number of 3rd level students attending St. Angela’s College, I will ask Sligo County Council Roads Department to investigate the possibility of providing cycle lanes on the road from Ballinode to the College”.

Mr. Tom Brennan stated that the road design section of Sligo County Council will investigate the possibility of providing a cycle lane to St. Angela’s College. There is no funding in place for such a project. Future funding would depend on another Smarter Travel programme being put in place and/or specific improvement grants for non-national roads being reintroduced.


Proposed by Councillor S. Kilgannon
Seconded by Councillor R. O’Grady


“Sligo County Council calls on the Department of Finance to reestablish the Home Improvements Grants now that the Irish Economy is improving”.


Proposed by Councillor D. Bree
Seconded by Councillor G. O’Boyle


“That the Chief Executive provide the Municipal District meeting with a report on Sligo Harbour with particular regard to a) the Council’s application to the Environmental Protection Agency for a Dumping at Sea licence; and b) also with regard to the appointment of a new Harbour Master.

  1. a) Mr. Tom Kilfeather stated that an application for Dumping at Sea Licence was made to the EPA in early 2015. The EPA has recently required further up to date testing of sediment in the Harbour as existing tests were greater than 5 years old. The process of obtaining up to date tests will require the assessment of the number and type of tests required. A testing laboratory will then have to be procured to obtain suitable samples and carry out the required analysis and testing. The “Dumping at Sea Licence application is effectively “on hold until this information is returned to the EPA.
  2. b) Ms. Dorothy Clarke advised that Sligo County Council does not propose to recruit a new Harbour Master following the resignation of Captain Redmond Gillen on 30th October 2015. It is now proposed that the management and operation of the Harbour will be provided by way of a Service Contract and the terms of reference for this brief are currently being developed.


Proposed by Councillor D. Bree
Seconded by Councillor G. O’Boyle


“That the Chief Executive provide the meeting with a report outlining the steps which have been taken by the Council Executive, since the last meeting of the Municipal District, to maintain the right of way on Hudson’s Lane (linking Conlon Street and Grattan Street)

Mr. Tom Brennan advised that the Council continue to engage with representatives of the property adjacent to Hudson’s Lane regarding this matter. During recent discussions it has been agreed that the Council will be provided with keys enabling them to open the gates along Hudson Lane. The gates are to be opened by the Council between the hours of 8 and 9am daily and will be closed by the proprietors each evening (precise closing times to be agreed). This arrangement is to come into effect during week ending 22nd January further to which the Council will once again become responsible for management and maintenance of the laneway. This arrangement will be kept under review.


With the agreement of the meeting this item was withdrawn. 


Proposed by Councillor R. O’Grady
Seconded by Councillor H. Keaney


“That funding is put in place for the upgrading of the Rosses Point Road at the Scotsman’s Walk junction

In response Mr. Tom Brennan stated that the Roads Department are finalising a design for the improvement of sightlines at the junction of Scotsman’s Walk and the R291 Rosses Point Road. Preliminary discussions are also underway with the relevant landowner. A further update will be provided as this matter progresses.

Councillor T. Mac Sharry supported the motion.


Proposed by Councillor R. O’Grady
Seconded by Councillor S. Mac Manus


“That a review is done on the road surface and footpaths at Treacy Avenue

Mr. Tom Brennan stated that the Roads Department will carry out a review of the roads and footpaths in Treacy Avenue over the coming months in order to ascertain their condition. Any works deemed necessary will be considered in the context of the Councils three year Roads Programme which is being prepared presently.


With the agreement of the Members this item was deferred as its proposer Councillor Casserly had to leave the meeting early.


This was noted by the Members.

27. A.O.B.

Councillor MacManus raised a query with regards a motion that he had submitted for the agenda. It was clarified that following investigation the motion had been sent to an incorrect email address and therefore was not received by the Meetings Administrator. The Mayor Councillor Healy agreed to cover the item under AOB. Councillor MacManus proceeded to query the position of public lighting in St. Joseph’s Tce. In response Mr. Tom Kilfeather advised the Members that he would arrange for a report to be circulated on the matter.

The Mayor Councillor Healy extended an invitation to all Members to attend a function where the Rose of Tralee will be present. The function is taking place in City Hall on Thursday 21st January, 2016.


Proposed by Councillor R. O’Grady
Seconded by Councillor S. Kilgannon


“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Mrs. McCullagh, Cairns Drive, Sligo on the death of her husband Padraig McCullagh.

Proposed by Councillor S. MacManus
Seconded by Councillor R. O’Grady


“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Mrs. Ann Forde, Cranmore Villas on the death of her husband Archie Forde.


The business of the meeting ended at 1.45pm.


Download Minutes of Sligo Municipal District - 18th January 2016 (PDF) - 246 kbs




Meeting Date 18/01/2016