2 - Environmental Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 2 (Environmental Policy) held on Tuesday 21st September, 2010 at 15:00 in Sligo County Council’s Training Room, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo


  • Councillor Tony McLoughlin.


  • Mr. Brendan Queenan,
  • Councillor David Cawley,
  • Councillor Hubert Keaney,
  • Councillor Marcella McGarry,
  • Ms. Kathleen McGuinness,
  • Ms. Kathleen Henry.


  • Mr. Tom Kilfeather, Director of Service.
  • Mr. Paul Hampson, A/Senior Engineer.
  • Ms. Pamela Bergin, A/Senior Executive Scientist.
  • Mr. Conall Calleary, Veterinary Officer.
  • Ms. Mairead Scanlon, Assistant Staff Officer.
  • Ms. Olivia Black, A/Assistant Staff Officer.


  • Mr. Guy Marsden,
  • Mr. Billy Sommerville,
  • Councillor Mary Barrett. 


Proposed by Councillor Hubert Keaney.
Seconded by Mr. Brendan Queenan.    

and agreed

“To confirm and adopt Minutes of the SPC Environmental Policy meeting held on 22nd June 2010”.

Tony McLoughlin welcomed Tom Kilfeather and wished Rita McNulty all the very best in her new job


Paul Hampson gave an update.


Paul Hampson said the River Basin Managements Plans were adopted in May 2010 and came into affect August 2010. 


Conall Calleary said the current Beach Bye-Laws have been in place since 2007 and it would be beneficial to initiate the process of producing updated Bye-Laws.  The first step in this process would be to produce a new set of draft Bye Laws for presentation to the Council. Following this the process to be followed is laid down in the Local Government Act, and can take a number of months. It had been hoped to have new Bye- Laws in place for the beginning of the next bathing season. However while the current staffing restrictions are in place this may not be possible but every effort will be made to get the draft Bye-Laws drawn up as soon as possible.


Paul Hampson said there were complaints in relation to jet-skis on the Garravogue.  Our Water Safety Officer contacted the Water Safety Association to carry out risk assessments and we are waiting on their report.  Signs have been erected and there are no further complaints.  Tony McLoughlin said when the risk assessment is back, further discussions can take place at the next meeting.  


Pamela Bergin gave an introduction to drinking water monitoring in the County. She advised that testing is carried out in the Council’s laboratory on all regulated drinking water supplies in accordance with the Drinking Water Regulations 2007, with larger schemes being monitored more frequently. Non-compliances are referred to the Health Service Executive for advice in relation to protection of public health. With Environments own laboratory there is a 24hour turn around of results. The Council’s Water Services Section carries out remedial works on supplies if required. Results of all drinking water testing will be available shortly on the Council’s website. Hubert Keaney asked about water filters, to which Pamela Bergin said that Sligo County Council’s water is safe to drink without any filters, however if anybody was concerned about the quality of their water, they should contact the Environment Section for advise before investing in a filter. It was agreed that a note would be placed on our website regarding drinking water filters.


At the last meeting the difficulties being experienced at Mullaghmore beach with cattle were outlined. An incident occurred on the commonage where a member of the public was injured by an animal grazing there on the 15th August last. As already advised Sligo County Council had grave concerns that an incident like this would occur and were left with no option other than to withdraw lifeguard cover for the last two bathing seasons. Warning signs were also erected to advise the general public of the risks associated with cattle on Mullaghmore beach. The incident did not happen any where near the beach but emphasises why the Council have been concerned about the situation.

Letters had been issued before the incident to all commonage shareholders and specifically to the individuals grazing the most cattle on the commonage. A further letter was issued recently to all commonage shareholders expressing the view that the grazing of cattle on the commonage and its use by the general public were not compatible. Efforts will continue to broker a solution to the problem but at present there is no simple solution to the difficulties.


Tom Kilfeather said there is a serious resource issue at the moment.  The Administrative Office will be working in the Finance Department for a period up to five months and the Senior Engineer is out also.  The Beach Bye-Laws may not be reviewed as soon as maybe liked.  In relation to the River Basin Management Plans, Tom said there is uncertainty, no resources to pay, costs are very expensive - up to half a million per year and every Local Authority is in the same boat.

Kathleeen McGuinness asked about the upkeep of the toilets on Mullaghmore Beach.  She said they can be in a desperate state.  Conall Calleary said the resources are just not there at weekends to clean beaches and empty bins.  Hubert Keaney said that weekends and Bank Holiday Weekends litter in general is very bad, he said it looks so bad particularly for tourism.  Tony McLoughlin said Tidy Towns promote tourism, there are people in areas doing the work and cannot keep doing it unless Sligo County Council gives some help.  Hubert Keaney suggested erecting signs, encouraging people to bring home litter and maybe have Wardens working at the weekends.  Tony McLoughlin mentioned people parking over weekends who are not using the caravan car-parks but parking in a few spaces along the promenade at Strandhill, while other cars had no place to park and also using the Council bins to discard of their rubbish.

Kathleen Henry brought up dogs fowling on the beaches to which Tony McLoughlin said this is an ongoing issue.  Conall Calleary said Dog Wardens can only issue a fine if they see the dog fowling on the beach or without leads.

Pamela Bergin spoke about the new Bathing Water Regulations which come into effect from next year. Under these Regulations, Local Authorities are required to nominate bathing areas for designation. In the past this designation of bathing areas was carried out by the Minister, now the public will have an input into this process. The Department of the Environment are accepting submissions from the public until the 1st October in this regard. Information about this has been placed locally on beach notice boards and on the Council’s website. The Council have until 24th March 2011 to submit proposed bathing areas for the 2011 season. Each year thereafter this process will be repeated. The designated areas at present are Enniscrone, Rosses Point and Mullaghmore.

Tony McLoughlin mentioned if members had any items for inclusion on the Agenda to contact him, ten days prior to the meeting, so that members would have their input. 

This meeting concluded at 15:50 pm.




Meeting Date 21/09/2010