2 - Environmental Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 2 (Environmental Policy) held on Monday, 28th February, 2005 at 11.00 a.m. in the Council Chamber, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo.


  • Councillor Jim McGarry.


  • Councillor A. Higgins,
  • Councillor M. Barrett,
  • Councillor P. Conmy,
  • Councillor G. Mullaney,
  • Councillor M. Fleming,
  • S. Ward,
  • B. Queenan.


  • Mr. Pat Forkan, Director of Service,
  • Mr. John McHugh, Senior Engineer,
  • Ms. Emer Concannon, Senior Executive Engineer.
  • Ms. Breda Ronayne, Administrative Officer,
  • Mr. Conall Calleary, Veterinary Officer,
  • Mr. Matthew Byrne, Waste Enforcement Officer,
  • Ms. Pamela Bergin, Executive Technician,
  • Ms. Rosie Morrisey, Executive Technician,
  • Ms. Rose Jordan, Acting Executive Technician,
  • Ms. Alice Reynolds, Environmental Awareness Officer,
  • Ms. Naomi Gorevan, Clerical Officer,
  • Ms. Aideen Feeney, Litter Warden,
  • Mr. Fergus McNabb, Administrative Officer,
  • Ms. S. Quigley, Clerical Officer.


  • Councillor R. O’Grady,
  • Gearoid O’Connor


An Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Jim McGarry opened the meeting by delivering the Chairman’s Address.

Mr. McNabb gave all members of the SPC members the following documents for their information:

  • Review of Operation of Strategic Policy Committies;
  • Copy of Sligo Council Council’s Strategic Policy Committee Scheme 2004-2009;
  • Code of Conduct for Councillors (Local Government Act, 2001) (which also governs non-elected members on the SPC);
  • Copy of Sligo County Council’s Standing Orders; and
  • Local Government and the Elected Member.


Mr. McHugh gave a presentation on the Operational Plan, 2005 in order to outline the areas of responsibility of the Environmental Services Section in the Council.


Ms. Concannon gave a presentation on the Waste Management Infrastructure.  She explained that we are well advance in the implementation of our requirements under the Connaught Waste Management Plan. 

Bring Centres

Cllr. Barrett asked if it was possible to include textiles at the Bring Bank Centres throughout the County.  Mr. McHugh stated that a trial is being carried out at the moment in 3 sites in the County and that it is not very positive at present.  There is an increased problem of illegal dumping and the maintenance of these banks is not very good.  He stated that Ms. Reynolds has met with a company from Northern Ireland and is currently working on a feasible alternative.  It was decided that a report will be completed for the next meeting.

Farm Plastics

Cllr. Higgins outlined the problem posed for farmers trying to dispose of farm plastics.  He stated that all farmers have paid for the collection service, but the plastic is only collected every two to three years.  Cllr. Mullaney and Cllr. Conmy supported this and agreed that the situation is not acceptable.  Mr. Byrne stated that he has been in talks with the IFFP and is hopeful that a better service will be available soon.  There is also a great problem of plastic being imported from Belgium or Northern Ireland.  Mr. Queenan and Cllr. Fleming are also very concerned that this is becoming a big problem.  Mr. Forkan stated that the system was not very well thought out at the start, and the SPC may need to make moves to ensure greater co-operation in this respect.  He has asked that Mr. Byrne has more detailed information on this matter at the next meeting.


Ms. Concannon outlined the current status of the Connaught Waste Management Plan.  The existing plan was adopted in 2001 and is now due for review.  She explained that a public consultation evening was held on 4th February, 2005 and was badly attended.  There are 3 reports due to be completed by the Consultants in Mid-March:

  • Progress Review,
  • Consultation Report, and
  • Financials/ Regional Issues.

The draft plan is to be published in April, 2005 and is to be brought to the Council at the June meeting.

Cllr. McGarry suggested that the SPC members discuss these documents in detail at the next SPC meeting before it is brought to the main meeting.  All members of the SPC were in agreement of this.

Cllr. Higgins asked if there has been any progress on major infrastructure in Connaught.  Mr. McHugh gave an update as follows:

Thermal Treatment

This has not been advanced at present, PPP/Private Sector involvement is very slow.


2 sites have been identified by Galway County Council, and it is hoped there will be a new landfill in place by 2006.  The site selection process for the North Connaught Landfill is under way.


Emer gave a brief talk on the importance of Waste Enforcement.  She outlined that the Council has applied for funding to employ another Waste Enforcement Office, as there is a great deal of emphasis on the enforcement of environmental legislation.  Ms. Ward welcomed the fact that this issue is been addressed.  Cllr. McGarry agrees and welcomes continued emphasis on waste enforcement.


Mr. Forkan introduced Mr. Pat Canney, Project Co-ordinator and Mr. Paddy Kavanagh, Project Manager, ESBI who gave a presentation on the above.

Cllr. McGarry thanked Mr. Canney and Mr. Kavanagh for their informative presentations and asked that an information pack be made available to members of the SPC.   


Mr. McHugh outlined the importance of the SPC’s role in developing policies.  He invited members of the Committee to make suggestions that staff can work towards especially on the following topics:

  • Beach Bye-Law;
  • Waste Presentation Bye-Laws; and
  • Phosphorous Regulations (Forestry and Septic Tanks).

Mr. Forkan stated that this is the purpose of the SPC – previously policies were driven by staff, but it is hoped that the committee will be the driving force.

Cllr. Barrett stated that the present beach bye-laws need to be updated with more emphasis on dogs.  It was decided that this needs to be followed up.

She also noted that the Litter Warden is doing a great job and should be complimented on this.  Ms. Ward stated that litter is a huge problem especially in the Borough area and is glad there are some elected members of the Borough Council on this SPC in order to achieve a better standard in the town.

Cllr. Higgins stated that litter is a major problem nationally and needs to be tackled nationally.

Cllr. McGarry stated that he hopes this SPC will not be a ‘talking shop’ but will make an impact on these problems.


Cllr. Fleming asked for clarification on the takeover of GPT and Bergin Waste by Barna Waste and their intention to revert to a once off payment.  It was agreed by all members that this would be a retrograde step and that the pay per bag system was working very well in the County and Town.  Mr. McHugh stated that meetings with the company have taken place and we are currently awaiting their response.  Mr. McHugh requested the SPC to issue a press release on the matter to endorse the current method of waste collection.

Ms. Concannon added that Sligo County Council’s policy is pay per weight/volume.  She added that Barna Waste’s Waste Collection is currently under review and a condition will be added to this effect.

Cllr. McGarry stated that the pay per bag was very controversial when first introduced but is now working very well.

Cllr. Higgins stated that we should try to get co-operation from the company, but proposed that if this is not possible we should take out an injunction against them.  Mr. Queenan seconded this proposal.

Mr. Forkan stated that a letter was received from the Disability Federation who would like to make a presentation to the SPC.  This was proposed by Cllr. Barrett and seconded by Cllr. Fleming.

Mr. Forkan has approached the Danish embassy with a view to a trip to Denmark in order to visit waste facilities there at a date to be arranged. This was proposed by Cllr. Higgins and Seconded by Cllr. Mullaney.

Meeting Date 28/02/2005