On being elected I was determined that funds collected from the local property tax (LPT) must be spent locally and not redirected back to national government. At council level, we have made allocations around the district with significant grants being made to Tidy Towns and residents association groups across the Naas district. The LPT monies are also being targeted at playgrounds in Kill, Sallins and Caragh, undergrounding of cables on Naas main street and support for the Naas-Sallins greenway. I have also brought forward various road projects for attention and tried to get a balance according to geography and where the need was greatest.
Recent figures released show a significant decrease in Garda numbers deployed in Kildare. The government have failed in their lack of forward planning and regard to the public safety of Kildare residents. This news comes on top of a spate of closures of Garda stations by the government which I have warned against over the last number of years. I have been highlighting crime and security concerns for some time now.
It is not good enough that Kildare has to suffer further decreases to Gardaí numbers in our county. The cumulative cuts imposed by the current government over the previous four years have left Kildare’s Garda force severely depleted. We are now drastically below the national average in regards to Gardaí to population ratio. In fact we have the lowest number of Gardaí per capita in the country. Despite three government T.D.’s North Kildare continues to receive the worst of the cuts to services imposed by Fine Gael and Labour.
At yesterday’s full meeting of Kildare County Council, the Fianna Fáil group pushed through a motion calling for a minimum setback distance on wind turbines of 10 times tip height, to be incorporated into the county development plan and applied to future developments including the Maighne wind farm, application for which is being made for dozens of turbines in North West Kildare. Whilst the motion is controversial and was resisted by officials, we felt it was imperative we send a strong signal to the industry that the proposals are not acceptable and to government that we will wait on the guidelines no longer.
Earlier this week I welcomed the withdrawal of the planning application to build wind turbines at Eadestown (between Naas and Blessington). This proposal came on the table out of nowhere in June and it has now vanished again without trace.
It caused considerable concern and alarm amongst the local community and it was feared it would be the start of an entire belt of wind turbines stretching from Kilteel through Eadestown and into Ballymore Eustace areas. Credit to the local group, Eadestown Against Spin, who mobilised rapidly and got organised and led the charge in raising serious concerns on the plans.
In June, a proposal emerged by a private company to build a set of wind turbines on the hill at Athgarrett, Eadestown (on the Naas-Blessington road). The development was greeted with deep concern amongst the local community and series of public meetings were rapidly organised. I attended and spoke at all of these and have been working closely with the local group (Eadestown Against Spin).