At the Kildare County Council meeting on 26th November a number of motions on water charges were debated. These included two tabled by FF, one from SF and one Independent. I proposed a Fianna Fáil led motion to “cease charging for water and instead concentrate on network investment, conservation and infrastructure upgrades” whilst also “condemning bonus culture in Irish Water and seeking a commitment that Irish Water could not be privatised”. The motion was proposed in the names of Cllrs Lawless, O’Loughlin, Ward, Miley and Ó Cearúil. A second motion in the names of Cllrs S Power, R Power, O’Rourke, Callaghan, Doyle and Fitzpatrick was also passed calling on the council to withhold payment of levies to Irish Water until they agreed to come before the council.
Kildare County Council have rejected the application for a new waste facility adjacent to the contentious Kerdiffstown landfill site. Cllr. James Lawless has welcomed the decision which will come as relief for residents living nearby in Sallins, Naas and Johnstown. The application submitted by David Boylan Limited earlier in 2014 was met with unprecedented resistance with over 800 objections lodged.
The council have made the right decision this week as there were grave concerns over this proposed facility. The public had lost trust in future developments at this site given past environmental and safety abuses. Hundreds of objections were submitted, including my own. Hopefully the rejection of the waste permit now finally closes the curtain on any further plans for waste dumping at Kerdiffstown.
The long awaited protocol from Irish Water for taking in charge of estates finally issued on the 6th November. I have been campaigning for estates to be taken in charge by the council for the past two years. When an estate is taken in charge it means that the council assume responsibility for maintenance such as fixing street lights and repairing broken kerbs. If an estate is not taken in charge it can lie in limbo for years with nobody performing basic maintenance, especially with so many builders going bust in recent years. I had been working with a number of estates to get them taken over by the council and the final blocker was Irish Water which had created an obstacle from the 1st January this year on any new taking in charges.
One of the themes of my election campaign was to revitalise Naas town centre and restore the commercial heart of the town. Last August, shortly after being elected to the positions of Naas Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively, Cllr. Seamie Moore and myself embarked on a series of meetings with traders throughout Naas town. Over the course of six meetings during August and September we met traders from different parts of the town and gathered notes on the issues that mattered to them. I would like to think we had a good handle on the “big picture” issues already but it is always worthwhile hearing what people have to say directly. We intend to tackle the big ticket items identified as far as we can and I will update again on those efforts in due course.
Everyone remembers when Sallins flooded in 2009 but whilst most people will recall the urban flooding at “The Waterways” in Sallins village, it gathered less media attention that rural townlands were flooding at the same time just a mile or two out the road. The areas of Killeenmore and Turnings were especially hit but also Castlewarden and unfortunately surface flooding on the N7 around there remains a familiar sight after a heavy rainfall. I was onsite with the residents during those floods back in 2009 and 2010 (see here) and have continued to liaise with the local committee since as a solution has evolved. Thankfully we are nearing the end of that journey and plans for a new flood relief scheme to mitigate all along the Morrell river basin were unveiled in the council offices last month. You can view the detailed designs at this link here and the council are accepting submissions until the end of November.