SPC 2 - Minutes

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 2 – Environment & Infrastructure Meeting held on Wednesday 26th February, 2020 at 11.30 a.m. in the Council Chamber, County Hall, Sligo


  • Councillor Donal Gilroy, Cathaoirleach
  • Councillor Michael Clarke
  • Councillor Paul Taylor
  • Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady


  • Mr Michael O’Dowd
  • Ms Sharon Eastwood
  • Ms Joan Swift


  • Councillor Thomas Healy
  • Councillor Thomas Walsh
  • Mr Conor McCarthy


  • Mr Tom Kilfeather, Director of Services
  • Mr Fineen O’Driscoll, A/Senior Engineer
  • Ms Emer Concannon, Senior Engineer
  • Mr Michael Feeney, Administrative Officer
  • Ms Siobhán Gillen, A/Administrative Officer
  • Mr Pete Murtagh, Environmental Awareness Officer
  • Mr Michael Ryan, Senior Executive Engineer
  • Mr Paul O’Rourke, Senior Executive Engineer
  • Mr Brian Flynn, Senior Executive Engineer
  • Mr Bernard Scott, Senior Executive Engineer



Newly elected Cathaoirleach, Councillor Donal Gilroy welcomed all in attendance, to the first SPC2 of the new Council.  Councillor Gilroy proposed to hold a meeting of the SPC2 on a quarterly basis going forward.  He also paid tribute to the passing of Councillor Gormley who was a past member of SPC2 and acknowledged the hard work and commitment Councillor Gormley made to the Council. 



Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 24th January, 2019 were adopted on the proposal of Ms S Eastwood and seconded by Councillor M. Clarke. 


There were no matters arising.


Mr P. O’Rourke, Senior Executive Engineer gave a PowerPoint presentation on the project to date (copies of presentation were circulated to all Members).  He informed the meeting that the project was well on course with completion aimed for end of May/early June.

Ms S. Eastwood queried the tender process for cycling infrastructure and requested that this item remains in the plans.  Mr P. O’Rourke informed the meeting that it was required to remove as much street clutter as possible, including signage and that this item will be reviewed at a later date. 

Ms J. Swift queried the enforcement of parking when the project has reached completion.  She highlighted the difficulties associated with this issue, particularly during the Christmas period with large vehicles illegally parking in the area.  Mr P. O’Rourke informed the meeting that there will be two parking spaces for private parking which will be marked clearly on the ground i.e. loading bays.  He explained that in order to enforce street signage, he is looking at minimum standard that can be provided making enforcement easier.

Mr M. O’Dowd queried the level of new path to the road outlining the potential trip hazards associated with not being able to differentiate between the road and the path.  He raised his concerns on this item as vehicles could easily veer off the road on to the footpath.  Mr P. O’Rourke explained that they are trying to prioritise as a pedestrian street and that speed limits have been drastically reduced to allow for three separate crossings.  Mr M. O’Dowd also queried the installation of 5G on O’ Connell Street.  Mr P. O’Rourke explained that the infrastructure for the provision of 5G signal has been included in the current enhancement works but no 5G signal has been installed.

Councillor R. O’Grady acknowledged the excellent work on the whole centre of town and the cooperation with business people.  She raised some concern about marking granite for parking bays and queried what Dublin City Council has done to mark loading bays.  She also requested clarity on loading bays on O’Connell Street and raised concerns regarding the amount of chewing gum on the pavement before it has even opened.  Mr P. O’Rourke explained that location of loading bays hasn’t changed. 


Mr B. Flynn, Senior Executive Engineer gave a PowerPoint presentation on the project to date (copies of presentation were circulated to all Members).

Councillor R. O’Grady said it was a terrific piece of work for €12m.

Ms S. Eastwood also acknowledged the great project and queried what was planned for finishing the project i.e. could the verges include the provision of pollinator friendly flowers as it was a great opportunity to do wildlife friendly plans.  Mr B. Flynn informed the meeting that verges / embankments will be top soiled and seeded.  There are a number of locations along the scheme however where it is considered that wild flower landscaping might be an option.  He advised Ms. Eastwood that discussions are ongoing with the Parks Department in this regard.

Councillor D. Gilroy queried the future access to lands and will zoning be used for this purpose for residential or further development.  Councillor Gilroy said development will happen quickly on the northern side making reference to the National Ambulance Service which may fit the purpose.  Mr B. Flynn explained that lands either side of the new road corridor are in private ownership and acquisition of lands for the provision of development such as a National Ambulance Service would be a matter for the HSE or relevant authority.


Mr B. Scott, Senior Executive Engineer gave a PowerPoint presentation on the project to date (copies of presentation were circulated to all Members).

Councillor P. Taylor acknowledged all presentations made at the meeting, saying it gave a great insight into all work being carried out which was so important for Sligo and the Region.  He also said he would like to see work planned for the N17 in the future and complemented Mr T. Kilfeather and his staff and how great it was to see the creation of local employment in the area.


Mr T. Kilfeather, Director of Services updated the meeting on the 2020 Schemes (copies were circulated to all Members).  He also made reference to works planned for the N17.  The Schemes outlined not only relate to roads projects, but include programmes under CLAR, LIS, Coastal Erosion, piers/harbours and the national road network.

He informed the meeting that the Council also makes a contribution toward various projects but the adoption of these programmes is a reserved function i.e. Members determine and agree.  He also outlined the various challenges that staff must contend with i.e. adverse weather conditions, significant damage being done - roads, coastal erosion, etc which in turn gives rise to additional challenges in ring fencing funding.

Councillor D. Gilroy acknowledged the large amount of reading involved in the documents circulated and invited queries directly from Members following the meeting, which was agreed.


Mr M. Ryan, Senior Executive Engineer updated the meeting on the large scale delivery of projects carried out over the last number of years in the County.  (Report circulated to all Members).  €46m is currently being spent by IW in Sligo.  The Commission for Regulation of Utilities has informed IW that utilities funding is going to be substantially reduced in the coming years which could be in the region of €800m.  IW are subsequently prioritising projects nationally.

Mr M. O’Dowd expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation at Lough Talt and the current Boil Water Notice in place and queried the reason behind consideration been given to pumping/piping from Lough Conn.  He also questioned problems associated with lead pipes.  Mr M. Ryan explained that a feasibility study has been carried out by IW which has estimated that the cost of the project will be in the region of €10 million.  He also outlined that there would be no lead piping in the main supply trunk coming from Lough Conn.  Mr O’Dowd further queried the consultation process involved and why people in the region were not consulted on the feasibility study.

Ms S. Eastwood suggested consultation with the PPN Network outlining links to petitions/campaigns which are available for projects like this.  A discussion followed over the difficulties and lack of communication from IW with the general public.  Mr M O’Dowd requested a meeting with IW saying it would be more productive to discuss properly instead of pumping water from another county. 

Councillor P. Taylor agreed to set up a meeting with IW in the next couple of months. 


Mr P. Murtagh, Environmental Awareness Officer updated the meeting.  (Report circulated to all Members).  He explained that the Climate Adaptation Strategy was at a draft stage at the last SPC meeting and it has since been adopted at the September 2019 Council Meeting with a list of 48 actions outlined in the Strategy.  He also informed the meeting that Climate Change will be on agendas at each Section meeting going forward.

Mr Murtagh also updated the meeting regarding the installation of an Air Quality monitor in Sligo town.  He said that installation is almost complete and that we should have access to real time air quality results in the coming weeks.

Mr Murtagh also highlighted improvements made in Energy Performance data since 2018, outlining the work done throughout 2019 bringing us closer to the required targets.

Councillor M. Clarke queried the status of the Water Refilling Stations.  Mr Murtagh informed the meeting that Stations will be located in Enniscrone, Strandhill, Rosses Point and Sligo town with installation to be completed later this year. 


Councillor D. Gilroy acknowledged the length of time taken with presentations at the meeting, but that it was necessary given the new Members present and to bring everyone up to speed with what’s happening.

Mr M O’Dowd highlighted the Mobility vision, a review of Irelands public transport and active travel policy and outlined the importance of sustainability and to push things that are practical.  Councillor D. Gilroy informed the meeting that the closing date for submissions was Friday 24th January 2020 and invited any submissions from the Members to be emailed to Councillor D. Gilroy or Ms S. Gillen, highlighting the importance of future planning.  He also highlighted potential growth centres in Collooney and Ballisodare.

Mr P. Murtagh informed the meeting that the Roads Section had been examining elements of a sustainable travel policy and that we will be required to adopt a formal policy in the coming months.

Councillor M. Clarke requested taking in charge of some non public roads whereby there are a number of roads in rural Sligo which should be considered.  Mr T. Kilfeather said this was a significant block of work which there are insufficient resources at the moment but will look at it when resources become available.  Councillor P. Taylor explained that elected Members will help on this item when the time comes.


Ms S. Gillen, A/Administrative Officer informed the meeting that the Environment Section would be commencing work associated with the creation of a new Litter Management Plan for the county, as required under Section 10 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997, as amended.  She requested items which Members felt should be considered for this plan to be emailed to her.

Councillor R. O’Grady requested the inclusion of chewing gum removal as an item to be included.

Cathaoirleach Councillor D. Gilroy informed the meeting that a date for the next meeting will be confirmed at a later date.  He thanked all in attendance.  The meeting concluded at 1.30pm.



Meeting Date 26/02/2020