2 - Environmental Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 2 (Environmental Policy) held on Monday 27th June, 2012 at 11:00am in The Meeting Room, Environmental Services Section, Cleveragh Business Park, Sligo


  • Councillor Pat McGrath.



  • Mr. Fergal Spain,
  • Councillor Aoiffe McLoughlin,
  • Councillor Dara Mulvey,
  • Councillor Hubert Keaney,
  • Councillor Marcella McGarry,
  • Ms. Kathleen McGuinness,
  • Ms. Kathleen Henry.



  • Mr. Tom Kilfeather, Director of Service,
  • Mr. Fineen O’Driscoll, A/Senior Engineer
  • Ms. Eithne Garvin; Administration Officer,
  • Ms. Pamela Bergin, A/Senior Executive Scientist,
  • Mr. Enda Killoran, A/Assistant Scientist,
  • Mr. Pete Murtagh, Waste Enforcement Officer,
  • Ms. Mairead Clerkin, A/Senior Staff Officer,
  • Ms. Olivia Black, A/Assistant Staff Officer.



Proposed by Councillor Dara Mulvey.

Seconded by Councillor Hubert Keaney.

and agreed

“To confirm and adopt Minutes of the SPC Environmental Policy meeting held on 27th February 2012”.

Councillor McGrath welcomed Mr. Fergal Spain who will be representing the Environmental Pillar, to his first meeting.



Councillor McGrath asked if there was any update in relation to CCTV. Mairead stated that no cameras were purchased due to budgetary and staffing constraints, however, it is hoped that Illegal Dumping signage stating “CCTV cameras in operation” will be purchased and erected at various locations throughout the county. 

Councillor Mulvey asked if there is a free phone number to report illegal dumping.  Mairead said the EPA have a national telephone number which the public can ring and report dumping.  Also, the Litter Warden’s mobile number is on his van and is freely given to the public.  All contact details are also on the website. 

Councillor Mulvey said Coillte have signs with This area is being monitored regularly and this seems to have an effect.  Councillor Keaney suggested having a contact number on the bottom of the ‘No Dumping’ signs. 

Councillor McGarry enquired if the person reporting illegal dumping knows the offender and doesn’t want their name given what happens, to which Mairead said if a person wants to remain anonymous it is no problem and this information cannot be given out even under FOI.  Mairead said we do act on anonymous calls also. 

Councillor McGrath said that any litter complaints he contacted the Environment Section about was always dealt with promptly and efficiently.  Councillor Mulvey complemented Cyril Walsh, Litter Warden, for all his good work and helpful manner. 



Tom said Minister, Phil Hogan, launched the Domestic Wastewater Systems yesterday.  Application forms are available in the Finance Section and will also be sent to the Area Offices, Libraries, etc.  People can register online also.  It costs €5 to register by 30th September and €50 after.  There are approximately 50,000 septic tanks in Sligo due for registration but it is unlikely that every septic tank will be inspected.  Fineen said we are not well informed, the EPA will advertise (saw no advert yet) in order to setup a qualified panel.  It will cost €1,000 to apply to get on the panel of inspectors.  It will be 2013 before any inspections will commence and 5% of septic tanks will be inspected.  Councillor Keaney asked if the Council would like to be involved or would it be easier to leave it to an outside body, to which Fineen said it would be easier if the EPA make the selection, as you don’t want people to think you’re victimising them.  Councillor McGrath asked what happens to the failures, to which Enda said that Minister Phil Hogan was interviewed on the radio this morning and he avoided this question, he was encouraging people to register.  Councillor McGarry referred to the River Basin Plan and asked about the Sligo area, to which Enda said in relation to bad areas we have an idea of these under the River Basin Plan.  Rivers, streams, one or two lakes will have to be improved by 2015, there is a huge amount of work to be done and there is a need to improve groundwater.  Pamela said the Drinking Water will have to be improved upon also and a lot of today’s unanswered questions are available on www.protectourwater.ie  Councillor McGarry said it is a lot of extra work and asked if the Government could give more resources to Local Authorities as there have been retirements etc. and suggested writing a letter to the Minister, which Councillor McGrath agreed with. 

Councillor McGrath said that the Coucillors want to meet with Minister Phil Hogan.



Fineen said we are not in a position to update the Beach Bye-Laws due to the lack of resources and we do have existing Bye-Laws.  Tom said the Council passed a Motion to review the Beach Bye-Laws and we just do not have the time in the current Bathing Season or the resources.  We can keep this item on the Agenda and review it again.  There are issues with some beaches but each beach has its own Bye-Laws.  Fineen said some Beach Bye-Laws are similar.  Kathleen Henry said the beaches were left in a terrible state after the May and June Bank Holiday weekends, there was litter everywhere and asked if the Litter Warden could come out.  Tom explained we just do not have the staff to work weekends, there is no overtime and SCC does not have the money to pay for overtime.  The Litter Warden does go out to the beaches and goes through the litter but evidence is not always left behind which makes it harder for him to catch them. 

The Council have suggested removing bins from Strandhill as domestic rubbish is being thrown into them.  Kathleen Henry said we want tourists maybe more signs are needed.  Councillor McGrath said in Ballymote there was plenty of bins which were being filled with domestic refuse and when the bins were reduced there was less rubbish in Ballymote.  Councillor McLoughlin said people should just bring their own litter home with them.  Kathleen McGuinness said she is aware of the Green Schools in N.S. which is great education for young children and asked about Secondary Schools, to which Kathleen Henry said that the Tidy Town Committees go to Secondary Schools and speak to students.  Mairead said An Taisce have two people in Sligo who are involved in the Green Schools Programme, and the majority of Secondary Schools in Sligo are involved and this can also be checked on their website.  Pete said there is a lot of awareness but we are without the Environmental Awareness Officer at the moment.  Councillor Keaney suggested if the Tidy Towns Committees could work along with the Council and maybe do an odd spot-check on beaches, have a county campaign to bring it home and if all could work together.  Pamela said An Taisce have a Green Coast Officer, Olivia Crossan, who is based in Sligo and works with local communities, for cleanups on beaches.  Abbotts are on board for Rosses Point beach.  Marram Grass planting projects were completed at Rosses Point and Streedagh Beach with An Taisce and local Coast Care Groups.  Olivia Crossan has been in touch with Dolores McDonagh, Community and Enterprise, to try and bring groups on board also.

Councillor Mulvey asked if the Council bought any of the solar power bins or if they would consider buying them, to which Fineen said that would be a matter for the Area Office.



Mairead outlined that Sligo County Council went to tender in March 2012 for the provision and servicing of textile Banks in Sligo County and Borough Areas.  Three tenders were received and Textile Recycling Ltd (TRL) in Dublin won the tender.  The contract was signed on the 6th June.  The banks are pink for Breast Cancer.  There are 18 private sites which receive €601 per tonne of clothing collected for the landowners/community use and the Council receive €150 per tonne of clothing at these sites for the maintenance and upkeep of the site.   There are 13 public sites which receive €751 per tonne collected.    In addition to these payments, TRL also make donations to their chosen charity, Breast Cancer Awareness, and under our contract, we can request TRL to verify that such payments are being made.  Councillor Keaney asked how a club goes about getting a bank, to which Mairead replied that we can recommend TRL under this contract but it is up to the club or any private site owner to decide what textile company they wish to deal with.  Councillor McGrath and the SPC members thanked Mairead for all her hard work with the project.



Next meeting to be scheduled towards the end of September 2012.


Meeting concluded at 12:20 p.m.




Meeting Date 27/06/2012