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9th April 2002
Minutes of Meeting of the Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday, 9th April 2002 at 7.30 p.m.
Present – in the Chair: Councillor I Barr Other Members: Councillors A Bell, A Bresland, D Breslin, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, E McGarvey, C McGill, C McHugh, B McMahon, E McMenamin, B McNamee, J McNulty Total = 16 In attendance: Clerk & Chief Executive, Administrative Assistant, Judi McGaffin, Director of Dental Health
Suspension of Standing Orders
Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor Emery that Standing Orders be Suspended to deal with motions of sympathy. This was agreed.
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother
Councillor Hussey said he was considerably saddened following the recent death of the Queen Mother, especially so soon following her daughter’s death. He said he admired her life and that she had been an example to many people. He proposed that a letter of condolence be sent to the Royal Household.
Councillor Emery seconded this. He said he could endorse everything previously said. He said the Queen Mother had been a tremendous example throughout her lifetime and was both honoured and revered. He said both North and South representations had attended her funeral.
Councillor Donnell said he would also like to extend sympathy to the Royal Family. He said the Queen Mother had been widely esteemed in the province and commonwealth.
Councillor Bresland said he would also like to extend sympathy to the Royal Family on the death of the Queen Mother.
Councillor McMenamin added his condolences. He said speaking on behalf of the SDLP, that people did not need to be British or Royalist to recognise the Queen Mother’s position in public life and the esteem and affection in which she was held in the nation and beyond. He said that people who did not endorse the concept of Royalists could still appreciate the qualities of someone who loved life and demonstrated a clear strength of spirit. He said the Queen Mother lived her life to the full. Many in Ireland shared her love of horse racing, and added that her death brought a deep sense of loss to many in Northern Ireland. He added that she rest in peace.
The Chairperson said that he had made his position clear on the Royal Family following the death of Princess Margaret. He said that the Queen Mother was widely respected and would join in the sympathy.
Councillor Breslin said he could understand why condolences had been expressed but he would like to abstain.
Following a show of hands the proposal to extend sympathy was carried, with 4 Members abstaining.
Attack on Member
The Chairperson said that a Member had experienced a firebomb attack on their property. He said it was a sad day for democracy when something like this happened to a public representative adopting a party line. He said that property and the lives of family had been placed at risk and he sincerely hoped the family would not have to endure an act of this kind again.
Councillor Hussey said an elected Member had a right to represent his electorate. He said this act was abhorrent. Councillor Emery said this act was despicable and he sympathised with the Member and his family. Councillor McBride said he totally condemned the act. He said there was a democratic right to freedom of speech and this incident hinted at fascism. Councillor Donnell and Councillor Bresland also said they utterly condemned the callous act.
Councillor McMenamin thanked Members for their sentiments. He said numerous people had offered their support, which had only served to make his resolve the greater.
The Chairperson suggested that Item 12 on the Agenda, the presentation by Judi McGaffin, Director of Dental Health, be moved to Item 1. This was proposed by Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor Hussey, and agreed by Members.
Councillor McHugh asked that it be recorded that he had joined the meeting at 7.50 p.m.
Presentation by Judi McGaffin, Director of Dental Health on Oral Health Planning Teams
Ms McGaffin thanked Council for the support received over the years.
Ms McGaffin said that the first WHSSB Oral Health Strategy originated in 1997. Oral health planning groups began their work in 1998 and in 1999 the DHSSPS had made £70k available to the WHSSB for oral health promotion.
Ms McGaffin outlined locality based activities which had taken place during 1999/2000. These included:-
Smile for the Millennium
This aimed to promote early attendance to the dentist. Ms McGaffin added that the Western Board area had the lowest level of registration. Health Visitors distributed vouchers at the 18 and 30-month pre school checks.
Limavady: Game On/Mouthguard Campaign Aimed at promoting safe sport in relation to oral health.
Cityside: Think B4 you Drink – vending machine campaign Aimed at raising awareness of the damage fizzy drinks can do to teeth.
Waterside: Brushstroke/Backstroke Aimed at 12-18 year olds to raise the profile of oral health as an integral part of overall health and wellbeing.
Strabane: Oral health educator To improve the oral health of individuals as identified by their dentist.
Omagh: Certificate of dental fitness To award certificates to pupils who complete a course of dental treatment in a target group of 5-11 year olds.
Fermanagh: Dental Trauma (as for Limavady).
Ms McGaffin outlined the 2001-2003 strategy. She said the following measures were being promoted:-
Fluoridation – she said that as fluoridation was not available here, other methods including the distribution of toothbrushes and toothpaste was being used to deliver fluoride to schools. Dietary control – Ms McGaffin said there was a direct link between oral and bodily health. Toothbrushing. Dental attendance. General lifestyle – Ms McGaffin said that in some schools it was now mandatory to have a mouthguard as part of the P.E. kit. Training. Cross border/interagency activities.
Ms McGaffin said that the dental health of children in the WHSSB had improved. However these still remained the worst in the UK and Ireland. She added that children and adults would continue to need multi-professional and multi-agency help.
The Chairperson thanked Ms McGaffin for her informative presentation. Councillor Breslin echoed this. He said that from a personal experience he had in the past, the information was most welcomed.
Ms McGaffin asked Members if they had received the dental leaflet through the post. Councillor Bell confirmed that she had not; Councillor McBride said that he had. Councillor McBride said he welcomed what was being done to promote dental health. He said given the amount of marketing done to promote fizzy drinks, more should be done to help keep that “first tooth”.
Ms McGaffin said that approximately 60 people would die in Northern Ireland in the coming year due to oral cancer. She said the preventative message was that people attend their dentist regularly. Councillor Hussey said that the cost of dental treatment was sometimes prohibitive. In response Ms McGaffin said a large number of people were exempt from paying, so in itself this was not a valid reason for not attending the dentist. She said studies had shown that in regions were there were high levels of depravation, oral health was poor.
Councillor Hussey asked what happened when alterations needed to be made to custom-made mouthguards. Ms McGaffin said that it was advisable that mouthguards be custom-made as those purchased off the shelf did not offer the same protection. However custom-made guards cost approximately £25-£30 each and had to be changed each year. She added that this year custom-made mouthguards were being subsidised by £15.
Councillor McMenamin said that people often only visited their dentist when it was a necessity because of the high costs associated with treatment. He said that often people did not know how to brush their teeth correctly. In response Ms McGaffin said that 90% of the population had gum disease and it was important to get the brushing message across. She added that the dental fee structure in Northern Ireland was being examined.
Councillor McNulty said it was interesting to note the link between poverty and tooth decay. Ms McGaffin said this information was being collated and she would make it available to Council once completed. She said a pilot scheme was under way to introduce a dental surgery to a certain school which had high levels of poor dental health.
Councillor McMenamin asked if there was a regulator for monitoring dental charges. Ms McGaffin said she had seen the Watchdog programme and would recommend that patients ask their dentists what the cost of treatment would be prior to having work done. She said it was important that patients ask if they were Health Service patients as those individuals who had not seen their dentist within the last 15 months were unlikely to be. She said that currently there was nothing to hinder Dentists from charging whatever they wished to private patients.
The Chairperson thanked Ms McGaffin for her presentation and said he was sure Council would be hearing from her in the near future.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on Monday, 4th March 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Bresland.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on Tuesday, 5th March 2002 were adopted on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Emery subject to the following amendment.
Page 2, ninth paragraph – The Street Trading Act (NI) 2001
Councillor McHugh referred to the following sentence:
“The Chairman responded that to change a decision of Council taken within 26 weeks would require a Rescinding Motion or require to be done by the unanimous decision of Council.”
Councillor McHugh said some things had not been recorded in the way they had been said.
Councillor McHugh said the above sentence seemed to contradict advice previously given by the Clerk & Chief Executive on another issue. It was agreed that the wording “to be done by the unanimous decision of Council” be deleted.
The Minutes of the Economic Development committee Meeting held on Monday, 11th March 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor Breslin, seconded by Councillor McBride.
The Minutes of the Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 12th March 2002 were adopted on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Emery subject to the following amendments.
Page 3 – Strabane Road Safety Committee
Councillor McHugh clarified that he was not a member of this Committee and therefore did not wish to receive their documentation.
Page 7, seventh paragraph - Letter from Tyrone National Graves Association
Councillor McHugh asked that the sentence:
“Councillor McHugh proposed that the lilies be displayed, as permission had been given in 1987”,
be changed to:
“Councillor McHugh proposed that the lilies be displayed, as in 1987”.
Page 7, seventh paragraph – Letter from Tyrone National Graves Association
It was stated that no seconder had been recorded for Councillor McBride’s proposal. Councillor McNamee said she had seconded the proposal and this was agreed by Members.
Page 4 – Development of Playing Fields at Spamount
Councillor McHugh asked if there had been any response yet from the Water Service in relation to the blockages in the sewage system at Hillview Park. The Clerk & Chief Executive said that no response had been received and he would forward another letter.
Page 7 – Strabane By-Pass
Councillor McNulty said there had been confusion as to the whereabouts of the Strabane By-Pass meeting on Friday, 12th April. The Chairperson said that Councillors had been notified to attend Cedar Park but the Roads Service had been waiting at the site hut. He said that Roads Service had wanted the meeting to take place at the hut but were finally persuaded to move to Jefferson Court. The Clerk & Chief Executive said he could not understand how the confusion had arisen as he had spoken to the Roads official himself. The Chairperson said he had got the impression that there was reluctance on the senior Roads person to visit the various sites.
Councillor Donnell asked if there was any development on the Strathans Bridge issue. The Clerk & Chief Executive said he had received a holding letter and hoped to receive further information shortly.
Page 10 – Leaflet on History of Council Building
Councillor Emery asked how the leaflet on the History of the Council Building was progressing. The Clerk & Chief Executive confirmed that the leaflet was in draft form and hoped it would soon be available.
Page 10 – Time Capsule
The Chairperson stated that the Time Capsule issue had been sorted out.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 19th March 2002 were adopted on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Bresland subject to the following amendment.
Page 9 – fifth paragraph – Update on Easter Lilies Issue
Councillor McHugh requested that the sentence:
“Councillor McHugh said that the Poppy could prove to be just as offensive”
be changed to:
“Councillor McHugh said that the Poppy could be used to give offence.”
This was agreed by Members.
The Minutes of the Corporate Affairs Committee held on Tuesday, 19th March 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor McNulty, seconded by Councillor Emery.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of Council held on Monday, 25th March 2002 were adopted on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Bresland subject to the following amendments.
Page 2, second paragraph – Easter Lilies
Councillor McHugh asked that the following sentence be omitted:
“He said that the wearing of a Poppy had been used to disrespect him personally but felt that those who wear emblems for such a purpose did not downgrade those who collect for a cause.”
This was agreed.
Councillor Hussey asked if something could be removed from the Minutes when it had been spoken about at length. Councillor McHugh pointed out that while he had been at the meeting, Councillor Hussey had not. Councillor McHugh asked if Councillor Hussey’s feelings towards the poppy were not to be recorded. Councillor McHugh said he felt that the sentence had no meaning. Councillor Bresland said that Councillor McHugh had mentioned the ‘Poppies in the hat’. Councillor McHugh said that for the Minute, the record must be something that made sense. Councillor Hussey asked if the Minute of the meeting could be checked. The Clerk & Chief Executive said that the Minute Clerks were under extreme pressure and the wording might not be exactly the way it had been said. He asked Councillor McHugh if he would like to provide wording for same. Councillor McHugh said he would not have trouble repeating at length what he had said. The Clerk & Chief Executive said he would check the Minute the following day. Councillor McHugh asked if a full verbatim record was to be provided. Councillor McBride said he felt it would be impossible to have verbatim records. Councillor McHugh said that for the record he was asking that the sentence be deleted.
Page 6 – eighth paragraph
Councillor McGill asked that the following sentence:
“Councillor McGill said that she supported Councillor McHugh’s views and she believed that the wearing of the Easter Lily was a tradition.”
be changed to:
“Councillor McGill said that she supported Councillor McHugh’s views and she believed that the wearing of the Easter Lily was a honourable tradition.”
Page 4 – fourth paragraph
Councillor McHugh said that there needed to be consistency in the recording of Minutes as when he mentioned something it was left in.
Councillor McHugh said that he had said that “the Irish language in this Council Chamber was another issue which was well debated . . . “
Councillor Bell asked if the notes typed on the laptop computer were retained. The Clerk & Chief Executive confirmed they were. He added that the new Administrative Assistant was very competent on the laptop. Councillor McHugh asked if the laptop was to be used at every Meeting. In response the Clerk & Chief Executive said it would be the way forward in the future. Councillor McHugh said this was an issue which should be referred to the Audit & Staff Committee. Councillor McHugh said he was very conscious of the problems associated with people writing things for you. He said with Minutes, people were inclined to take them as what actually had been said at the Meeting. The Clerk & Chief Executive said that a decision would have to be taken with regard to the use of the laptop. The Chairperson said this would have be done with the agreement of the Minute Clerks. He added that he fully appreciated the work of the Minute Clerks. Minutes
The Minutes of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Meeting held on Monday, 25th March 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor Bell, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan.
The Minutes of the Environment Committee Meeting held on Tuesday, 26th March 2002 were adopted on the proposal of Councillor McHugh, seconded by Councillor Bell subject to the following amendment.
Page 6, second paragraph - J/2002/0001/0, Mr W Loughrey
Councillor McHugh said he had not said that the applicant wanted to come back and live on the land in an area that “had been devastated over the years.” He requested that the wording, “in an area his grandparents had owned” be substituted. Councillor McNamee agreed with this and added that part of the ancestral home was still visible from the road.
Page 6 - J/2002/0001/0, Mr W Loughrey
Councillor McHugh said that he had learned that if an applicant in the past had been refused planning permission at a site where there was an old homestead, compensation could be sought.
Councillor Bresland asked if Planners could refuse to have a site or office meeting with Council, as he had been refused a site meeting in the past. Councillor Bell also asked if when an office meeting had been called, could Planners issue approval prior to the meeting. Following discussion the Clerk & Chief Executive said he would write to the Planning Office regarding the issues of right of refusal and information prior to meetings. The Chairperson said these were grey areas and needed to be clarified.
Page 1 – J/2002/0599/0, Mr E Johnston
With regard to the above applicant, Councillor Kerrigan said that at a site meeting it had been said that this application was going to be refused. He said the applicant was to submit plans for a new entrance, as the sight lines were causing the problem. Councillor Kerrigan added that he had thought Council had some flexibility with regard to these matters and felt aggrieved. Councillor Hussey said it was a Roads Service issue. In agreement, Councillor Kerrigan said that the Planners themselves had no problem with the site lines.
Councillor Hussey suggested that the Clerk & Chief Executive and an all-party delegation arrange to meet with the planning officials. Following discussion Councillor Hussey proposed that a meeting with the Planning Manager be arranged with regard to the way the planning process was being handled. This was agreed by Members.
Councillor McHugh asked the position with regard to the request for a meeting with Mr McConnell. The Clerk & Chief Executive confirmed that no response had been received. Councillor Kerrigan said this was unacceptable when people expected to see things done. The Chairperson said that at a site meeting the previous week he had asked when a meeting was to be held and was told he could not be told. He suggested that Mr McIvor be written to.
Councillor Kerrigan said that with regard to the Johnston application, he had responded within the allocated timeframe.
Councillor Donnell said that perhaps when an application came to Council, it may already have been approved or rejected.
Page 7 – J/2001/0718/F – P & J Campbell
Councillor McHugh said there was 1 letter of support for this application and all objections were anonymous. He said this was a crucial site for the Kilclean Road. Councillor McMcHugh said Councillors should always ask of Planners what steps had been taken to verify objections. Councillor Hussey asked that the issue of the validity of anonymous objections be checked.
Motion submitted by Councillor T Kerrigan
Councillor Kerrigan read the following motion:
“That this Council rejects the recommendations of the Acute Hospitals Review Group on the future profile of acute hospital services.
This Council requests the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety to develop evidence-based solutions which meet the needs of the population served by the Erne Hospital, Mid Ulster Hospital, South Tyrone Hospital and Tyrone County Hospital for access within reasonable proximity to Accident and Emergency Services, Maternity Services, and other key sub regional specialities including ENT Services and Renal Services, taking into account:
(a) the need to deliver high quality hospital services (b) the opportunities for co-operation in the provision of local services with hospitals in other parts of the island.
That this Council furthermore demands adequate resourcing to maintain and develop existing local acute and other services as a bridge to the future.”
Councillor Kerrigan said that something was needed in Co Tyrone to service the whole particular end and he proposed that the motion be adopted. Councillor McGill seconded this saying that it was important that Strabane District Council supported Omagh and rejected the Hayes recommendations for acute services. Councillor Hussey said that the validity of Maternity Services in Sperrin Lakeland was under threat. He said that the proposals were suggesting a level 3 service for the area which was unacceptable for the campaigning groups. He added that neither Hospitals on the other side of the border or road development had been taken into consideration. He said he applauded Councillor Kerrigan for bringing the Motion to Council and also the work of those involved in the campaign. Councillor McBride said he welcomed the mention of the Mid Ulster Hospital and Councillor Emery said that he also supported the motion as he believed that once the Strabane By-Pass was completed the population to the west of the province would travel to Altnagelvin.
The Chairperson said he could agree with everything said. It was unanimously agreed that the Motion be accepted. The Chairperson asked that the unanimity of the agreement be emphasised.
The Clerk & Chief Executive stated that with Members approval, he would write to Omagh District Council and the Western Health Board outlining the Council’s decision. This was agreed.
Memorandum and Articles of Association – North West Region Cross Border Group
The Clerk & Chief Executive said that the Memorandum and Articles of Association were more or less for Members information. Councillor McBride proposed that the Memorandum and Articles of Association be adopted. This was seconded by Councillor Hussey and agreed by Members. Councillor McGill added that Councillors Hussey and McHugh were also heavily involved in the North West Region Cross Border Group.
Request from Civic Forum
Councillor McMenamin proposed that the Civic Forum be invited to meet with Council. This was agreed by Members.
Modernising the Planning Process – 7th May 2002
Councillor McGill said she had attended a Planning Conference and asked what was required of a Councillor following attendance at a conference. The Clerk & Chief Executive said that any documents received could be placed in the Members’ Library and mention could be made of the conference at the appropriate meeting. The Chairperson added that a brief report could also be made, either in writing or verbally. He said that the Auditor expected a report. The Clerk & Chief Executive said that a post conference report could be completed. Councillor McHugh asked that Councillors be issued with blank conference report forms for completion.
Councillor McGill said she would not be interested in attending this particular conference. Councillor McNamee said she would like to attend. Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor McBride that one Member from each party attend, plus an Officer at the Clerk & Chief Executive’s discretion. This was agreed by Members.
Human Rights & Equality Conference – 16th April 2002
Councillor Hussey suggested that someone from Community Relations attend, at the Clerk & Chief Executive’s discretion. This was proposed by Councillor McBride, seconded by the Chairperson and agreed by Members.
Burial Right Grants
Forms of Grant in respect of the following were signed and sealed on behalf of Council:-
Edmund J F Orr 13 Beattie Park Omagh - 1 Plot
Robert Parkhill 17 Church View Donemana - 1 Plot
William O’Neill 31 Dullerton Road Cullion Londonderry - 1 Plot
Sperrin Lakeland Health Trust
The Clerk & Chief Executive informed Members that the Meeting of the Trust on 24th April 2002 had been cancelled.
Development Brief for Market Yard Site
The Clerk & Chief Executive confirmed this would be discussed at the Economic Development Committee Meeting on 29th April 2002.
Councillor Kerrigan informed Members that a Meeting with the Minister at Stormont regarding the Newtownstewart By-Pass was scheduled for Tuesday, 16th April at 2 p.m. Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor McNamee that any Councillors involved attend. This was agreed. Councillor Hussey added that perhaps the time could be checked as he had been told that the meeting would take place between 2.45 and 3.45.
Strabane Chamber of Commerce
The Clerk & Chief Executive said that correspondence had been received from Strabane Chamber of Commerce in relation to a visit to Strabane by Dr John Reid, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He suggested that a table be taken at the Fir Trees for the event. This was proposed by Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor McBride and agreed by Members. The Chairperson said this was an opportunity for an informal approach to the Secretary of State. Councillor Breslin asked if it would be appropriate to invite the MP and the Chairperson said this could be checked. Councillor Hussey said the MP might have received his invitation in another capacity.
The Chairperson reminded Members that the Calverts Book Launch, the Sports Development Meeting and the Road Safety Meeting were to take place the following evening. Councillor Hussey said he had attended the Road Safety video launch and an invitation had been issued to all to attend if they so wished.
Members agreed on the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor Bell, to go into Committee.
The following publications would be placed in the Members’ Library.
1. Western Health and Social Services Board, Minutes of the Two Hundred and thirty ninth meeting- Held in the Western Board Headquarters on 31 January 2002 at 10.00am.
2. New TSN Action Plan for the period April 2001 – March 2003
3. International Fund For Ireland Annual Report & Accounts 2001 4. Racial Equality in Health Consultation Document 5. Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust Annual Report 2001 6. Belfast Regeneration Office Draft Strategy – Consultation 7. Draft Strategy for Belfast Regeneration Office 8. New TSN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Action Plan 2001 – 2003 9. New TSN Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Action Plan 2001 – 2003 10. North/South Ministerial Council Annual Report 2000 11. Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Draft Corporate Plan 2002 – 2005 12. Foyle Health and Social Need Action Plan January 2002 13. Consignia Licence Condition 20 Postcode Address File (PAF) Code of Practice March 2002 14. The Royal Hospitals Draft New Targeting Social Need Plan (TSN) 15. Department of the Environment Draft Batteries And Accumulators Regulations 16. Fifth Annual Report On Public Appointments
The meeting closed at 9.50 p.m.
DATED this 9th day of APRIL, 2002
Signed _____________________________ Clerk & Chief Executive
DATED this 14th day of MAY, 2002
Signed _____________________________ Chairman of Council