1 - Economic Development and Planning Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 1 (Economic Development and Planning Policy) of Sligo County Council held at 2.30pm on Thursday, 17th July 2008 in the Training Room, Riverside, Sligo.


  • Councillor Tony McLoughlin
  • Councillor Seamus Kilgannon,
  • Councillor Patsy Barry,
  • Councillor Jude Devins,
  • Councillor Sean McManus 


  • Declan Breen, Director of Services
  • Aisling Smith, Acting Director of Services
  • Joe Murphy, Senior Executive Officer
  • Janet McNamara, Administrative Officer
  • Siobhan Ryan, Heritage Officer
  • Mihaela Davidescu, Acting Senior Executive Planner
  • Frank Moylan Acting Senior Planner
  • Dolores McDonagh, Senior Staff Officer
  • Pamela Bergin, Executive Scientist
  • Rosie Morrisey, Assistant Scientist


  • Councillor Gerry Healy,
  • Councillor Deirdre Healy McGowan,
  • Paula R Gallagher,
  • Niamh O’Driscoll,
  • Michael Keenan


Cathaoirleach Councillor Tony McLoughlin presided.


 Proposed:  Councillor Seamus Kilgannon
 Seconded:  Councillor Patsy Barry
And agreed:  “that the minutes of the Strategic Policy Committee Number1 meeting held on 30th April 2008 be confirmed”.

Councillor Patsy Barry indicated that funding was about to be announced by Fáilte Ireland for grants to Sligo County Council and he welcomed this funding.

Councillor Tony McLoughlin congratulated the staff of the planning department on their achievement in being ranked top for service delivery in a league of Planning Authorities based on a survey of Architects undertaken by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.




Mihaela Davidescu informed the meeting that the members of Sligo Borough Council and Sligo County Council at their July monthly meeting directed the Manager to prepare the Draft Plan, as is statutorily required.  She advised that work had already commenced on the draft and consultants were engaged to prepare Joint Housing and Retail Strategies for the City and County and Strategic Environmental Assessment of the SEDP.  She indicated that a number of sections within the council would also have an input into the Draft Plan.  She stated that the proposed Draft SEDP would be submitted to the members in early October for their consideration.  She also indicated that it may be necessary to hold a Special meeting in both authorities to give the members adequate time to discuss and approve the draft for publication by 23rd October 2008.  Ms Davidescu indicated that when the approved Draft Plan is put on public display the public would have at least 10 weeks to make submissions or observations on the draft.

In response to Councillor Seamus Kilgannon, Frank Moylan advised that it was necessary for the Draft Plan to go before a full meeting of both Councils.  He stated that at the Draft Plan Stage, the public can make any submissions regarding zoning additional lands etc or comments on any other issues and any amendment can be made by the members following consideration of the second Managers Report.
The members expressed concern at the time frames in view of the fact that the local elections are scheduled for the end of May or June 2009.  Declan Breen indicated that this process would be carefully examined in this context and there will be further consultation with the members in relation to the time frames etc. 

Mihaela Davidescu informed the meeting that the Second Managers Report would be submitted to the members in April 2009.


Mr Joe Murphy informed the meeting that the Policy document, as circulated, was discussed at the July monthly meeting.  The members complimented Joe Murphy and staff on the amount of work done in relation to the taking in charge of Old Housing Estates. 

No issues were raised regarding the document


County Development Board Update: - Community and Enterprise

Ms A. Smyth stated that the role of the County Development Board is to co-ordinate and integrate the delivery of public services in the county through the CDB’s Strategy for Social, Economic and Cultural Development 2002-2012.  This is the framework within which all agencies operating at local level have agreed to work together to ensure a more joined up public service delivery. This is essential if we are to provide high quality public services and value for money.  Since 1999 the CDB has moved from identifying problems to leading on actions.  The CDB is currently working from its Action Plan 2006-2008 which prioritises:

  1. Developing Sligo as a Gateway City.
  2. Rural Development Strategy for the County.
  3. Ensuring Quality Childcare.
  4. Promoting Social Inclusion and Equality.
  5. Delivering on Public Safety
  6. Developing on Play and Recreational Opportunities.

Key achievements of CDB and its sub committees (facilitated by Communty and Enterprise) were outlined. 

  1. Social Inclusion Measures Group:
    A statutory sub committee of the CDB and made up of 19 members - statutory agencies, non government organisations and social partners. Achievements include:- County Sligo Poverty Profile, Development of Youth Council/Comhairle na nOg, Lone Parent Initiative, Interagency Travellers Strategy Group.
  2. Innovation/Job Creation Working Group:
    This CDB sub committee was established in October 2007.  Its role is directly related to developing Sligo as a Gateway City and address how population growth can be achieved through job creation and in migration.  Prioritised actions for 2008 include E-Commerce, Interagency Tourism and, Training and Upskilling.
  3. PEACE III Programme:
    The Sligo Peace and Reconciliation Partnership Committee was established to oversee the Peace III Programme which re-inforces progress towards a peaceful and stable society and promote reconciliation.  The Committee produced and submitted for funding to the SEUPB a Sligo Action Plan 2008-2010.

Review of the CDB Action Plans 2009-2012

The CDB National Co-ordination Group, chaired by Minister of State at Environment, Heritage and Local Government held its first meeting on 17/6/08 and will be issuing guidelines in October regarding the review of CDB Strategies and the development of Action Plans 2009-2012.

Councillor McLoughlin raised the question of funding under the Gateway Innovation Fund and stated that the amount available had been substantially reduced.  Mr Breen indicated that he understood that the fund of €300,000,000 had been reduced by €30,000,000 and that no payments would be made during the current year.  The members requested that they would be informed of any progress at future meetings.  It is hoped that the results of the competition would be announced later in the year and that funding would be available in 2009.  In response to questions raised by Councillor Barry and Councillor McManus, Mr Breen indicated that while the exact funding for the four projects submitted was unclear, that funding will be available from different strands including Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Transport, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Development Contributions and by way of loans.


The presentation gave a brief outline of water quality in County Sligo and the pressures impacting on this. These pressures include industrial discharges, agriculture, forestry, discharges from urban waste water treatment plants and single house effluent treatment systems. Details of the actions taken by the Environment Section to maintain / improve water quality were also outlined, including enforcement of environmental legislation, Source Protection Plans, discharge licensing, and providing recommendations on planning applications. Details in relation to the preparation of the River Basin Management Plans were also outlined, i.e Draft plans to be prepared by 22 December 2008, followed by period of public consultation, with actual Plans to be adopted by 22 December 2009.

A discussion took place on the problem associated with discharges, septic tanks, forestry and agriculture.  Ms Morrissey indicated that the department were examining the possibility of grants to upgrade old septic tanks etc.

The members thanked Ms Bergin and Ms Morrissey for their report


  1. Update on Harbour
    Mr Declan Breen circulated the minutes of the Sligo Harbour Advisory Group meeting held on 13th June 2008.

    Mr Breen informed the members that work had commenced on the installation of the Floating Pontoons and that it was anticipated that they would be operational before the end of the summer.  He also indicated that it was proposed to increase the Harbour charges for shipping in line with comparable harbours.  In a response to Councillor Sean McManus query regarding the increase charges, Mr Breen informed him that at present the harbour is not self financing.  He stressed the importance of warehousing and increasing the usage of the harbour.
  2. Councillor Seamus Kilgannon asked that Mr McHugh, IDA Ireland, be contacted and invited to attend the next meeting of the committee.  This was unanimously agreed by the members.
  3. Councillor McManus complimented Ms McNamara on the organisation of the trip to Bilbao which examined the regeneration of the Urban Area and the Harbour.  It was agreed that the programme which involved meetings and presentations with the Local Authority – Harbour Authority Development Company and the Local Chamber of Commerce was both informative and helpful in terms of dealing with the Development of the Port Area. 
  4. The members conveyed their best wishes to Ms Phil Tuohy and wished her a speedy recovery.

Meeting Date 17/07/2008