Looking for information about a council service?
12th October 2004
Minutes of the Meeting of Strabane District Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday 12 October 2004 at 7.30 p.m.
Present:- In the Chair: Councillor J McNulty
Other Members: Councillors I Barr, A Bell, A Bresland, D Breslin, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McGill, C McHugh, B McNamee,
Total = 13
In Attendance: Business Manager, Administrative Assistant
Apologies: Councillors E McGarvey, B McMahon, E McMenamin.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on Tuesday 7 September 2004 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor Breslin seconded by Councillor Barr and signed by the Chairman.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on Tuesday 14 September 2004 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan seconded by Councillor Barr and signed by the Chairman.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 2 - ID for Housing Executive subcontractors
In response to Councillor Breslin, Councillor Kerrigan confirmed that he had raised the issue with the Chief Executive of the Housing Executive and was still awaiting a reply.
The Minutes of the Economic Development Committee Meeting held on Monday 20 September 2004 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor Breslin seconded by Councillor Barr subject to the following amendment:
Page 6 Gas to West, final paragraph, 3rd line – delete ‘sated’ and insert “stated”
The Minutes of the Corporate and Regulatory Services Committee Meeting held on Tuesday 21 September 2004 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor Emery seconded by Councillor Barr.
The Minutes of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Meeting held on Monday 27 September 2004 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor Emery.
Councillor Bell joined the meeting at this point.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 9 - Civic Reception – Gaelic Tyrone Minors Team
In response to Councillor McHugh, the Business Manager (BM) said that a letter of congratulations had not be sent to the team but agreed that this could be undertaken the following day. She advised Members that she had raised the issue of a civic reception with Liam Donnelly who agreed to discuss the matter with the members of the team and report back to the BM.
Councillor McHugh said that he was disappointed that the minute had not reflected the full achievements of the team in winning the Ulster Minor League, the Ulster Minor Championship and finally the All Ireland Minor Championship.
Page 9 - West Tyrone Area Plan Steering Group
Councillor Bresland confirmed that he would sit on the steering group and therefore there would be a Glenelly Councillor participating in the process.
Page 10 - Sculpture Trail, Castlederg
Councillor McHugh noted for information purposes that 2 Castlederg Councillors, one from each side of community had been involved on the panel.
The Minutes of the Environment Committee Meeting held on Tuesday 28 September 2004 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor Bell subject to the following amendments:
Councillor Hussey joined the meeting at this point.
Page 4, Planning Application J/2004/0535, 2nd paragraph – Delete “declared an interest” and insert “said he had no interest”.
Page 11, Suspension of Standing Orders, first line – Delete ‘proosal’ and insert “proposal”.
Page 17, Insert after 1st paragraph – “Councillor McNulty left the meeting at this point”.
Page 20, Suspension of Standing Orders – removal of signs from Council property, final sentence – Delete ‘would’ and insert ‘could’
Members discussed what they believed had been previously agreed in relation to the above issue with Councillor Donnell, who had made the original proposal stating that it was his understanding and the intention of his proposal that the signs of a political nature be removed from Council land.
Some Members raised concerns regarding the safety of staff and felt that Council officials should not be instructed to take on such a responsibility and felt that there would have been a view that signs should be removed if possible, taking into account the safety of staff.
The Chairman noted that each Member would have their own interpretation of what was agreed and highlighted the need for a potentially contentious proposal to be received in writing within the Standing Orders of Council.
In general, Members were agreeable to the sentiments of the proposal but concurred that there was no intention of endangering Council employees.
Following further discussion Councillor Barr proposed that the sentence should read as follows: “It was agreed that any sign of a political nature could be removed from Council property.” The proposal was seconded by Councillor McHugh.
A vote was taken as follows: For 6, Against 3; Abstentions 1 and the proposal to amend the minute as outlined above was carried.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 9 - Happy Faces Playgroup
In response to Councillor Hussey, the BM said that Mr Moore was to contact the playgroup directly about the planning application and that Council had not received any further update on this issue.
Page 20 – Political Signs
Councillor Hussey said that he wished to raise an issue on a tangent to signs of a political nature and advised Members that a constituent, who attended Derg Valley Leisure Centre while wearing a Glasgow Rangers football outfit was informed that he was unable to use the centre. The individual had noted that other users who had been permitted into the centre were wearing Celtic football shirts. Councillor Hussey requested clarification from the Culture, Arts & Leisure department on any current policy on customers wearing football attire. He asked that any response be brought back to Council.
Councillor Barr noted that he was aware that local businesses had adopted policies on the wearing of emblems that could cause offence including sports garments. He felt it would be beneficial for staff in the centres to have some guidance on this issue as it was important to be realistic to the fact that tensions often escalated due to such provocations.
Councillor McHugh said that he was surprised that the issue had been raised in this way given that it was a staffing issue and could have been raised through the Chief Officer prior to bringing the matter to Council. He said he was astounded to hear that a resident had been approached in this way, as residents from both sides of the community had used the centre for many years. He added that there was the possibility that the member of staff had taken the action for the customer’s own safety.
The Chairman said that, if necessary, the issue could be debated further following a report being received by Council.
Domestic Water Charges
A letter from Omagh District Council requesting agreement to work with the Tyrone Councils on a joint response to the Integrated Impact Assessment consultation proposals had been previously circulated for Members’ attention.
In response to Councillor Barr concerning written commitments from political parties to oppose the implementation of water charges, the BM said that she had received one response and hoped to circulate all replies to Members when they had been received.
Members felt that it was important to retain Council’s autonomy in making it’s own response to the issue although it was felt that a joint response would be beneficial.
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Barr, it was agreed that Council accept the request to make a joint response with the other Tyrone Councils while indicating Council’s wish to also make its own response.
Review of Public Administration
A letter from North Down Borough Council had been previously circulated for Members’ attention.
Councillor Hussey noted that the third paragraph should accurately read ‘was not in agreement with the views expressed by a NILGA official’.
Councillor Kerrigan noted that, through the NAC a meeting had been held with Greg McConnell, Chief Operating Officer of the Review. It was felt that a number of members of the review team were also not in agreement with the facts as put by the Minister. He advised Members that any future statements by NILGA would have the full consultation of Executive Members.
On the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor McBride, it was agreed to respond to North Down Borough Council confirming support of their views and indicating that Council had already adopted a position in this regard.
CBI Northern Ireland
A letter from CBI regarding Council’s participation in a forum aimed at improving the Planning system had been previously circulated for Members’ attention.
On the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor McBride it was agreed to write to CBI asking them to convene a seminar or conference with invitations to be forwarded to elected representatives.
Lisburn City Council – Resolution on Reduction of Full-time Reserve Officers
A letter from Lisburn City Council had been previously circulated for Members’ attention.
Councillor McBride proposed that the letter be marked ‘as read’ as the number of Reserve Officers was not Council’s concern. This was seconded by Councillor McHugh.
On the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Donnell an amendment to adopt the following resolution was proposed: “This Council condemns the Chief Constable’s decision to recommend the reduction of the complement of full time Reserve Officers to 680”.
Councillor McBride advised that he did not accept the amendment.
Councillor Hussey spoke to the amendment and said that for the benefit of all the community it was important to retain full time Reserve Officers and he felt that it should not be decimated in this way. He also believed that it was incumbent upon the Chief Constable that part time Reserve Officers could again be recruited in this area. He noted that within the rural communities it was vital to have police personnel on the ground that currently where not available when needed. He felt any reduction would be immoral and unjustified.
A vote was taken on the amendment as follows: For 5, Against 8 and therefore the amendment was not carried.
A vote was then taken on the proposal to mark the letter ‘as read’ as follows: For 8 Against 5 and therefore the proposal was carried.
Civic Reception – eligibility criteria
It was agreed to deal with item 12 on the agenda within the confidential section of the meeting.
NAC Annual General Meeting and Conference 19-21 November 2004 Bristol, at an estimated cost of £804.94
Following a discussion on the viability of all NAC representatives being given the opportunity of attending the conference, it was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor Emery that Councillor Kerrigan attend the conference.
Burial Rights Grants
On the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Emery, forms of grant in respect of the following were signed and sealed on behalf of Council:-
7 Carnesure Drive
Newtownards - 1 plot
25 Derg View
Castlederg - 2 plots
55 Dullerton Road
Bready - 1 plot
291 Victoria Road
Bready - 1 plot
16 Conthem Road
Strabane - 2 plots
110 Melmount Road
Sion Mills - 1 plot
4 Windmill Road
Co Down - 1 plot
Any Other Business
Birthday Honours 2005
A memorandum from the BM had been previously circulated for Members’ attention. The BM noted that given the deadline, any nominations would have to be sent by mail the following day. The Chairman asked that any Member wishing to put forward a nomination could liaise with the BM following the meeting.
In response to Councillor Barr, it was noted that individual Members could propose a nomination and it was not necessary for a nomination to be endorsed by or in the name of the Council.
Councillor Kerrigan advised Members on the lack of ambulance cover in the Castlederg area on 8 October to transport a patient to hospital who had experienced complications following major surgery. He noted that on 2 occasions the patient had been informed that ambulance cover was unavailable and was only transported to hospital 5 days after the request. Councillor Kerrigan noted that Castlederg Councillors had been assured that following the closure of the local hospital, ambulance cover would always be available. It was agreed to write to the Ambulance Service on this issue.
In response to Councillor Barr, the BM confirmed that Council had written to the Western Health & Social Services Board (WHSSB) concerning ambulance cover following a previous request from Council and an acknowledgement had been received but a formal response was still awaited.
WHSSB – Scanner Facilities
Councillor Hussey raised concern over scanner facilities being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the Erne and Altnagelvin hospitals. He referred to a recent incident where a resident had been sent for an examination initially to the Erne hospital and then to Altnagelvin hospital on the same day, only to discover scanner facilities were unavailable at both hospitals. It was agreed to write to WHSSB to clarify the situation in this regard.
Councillor Hussey advised Members that residents in Castlederg had raised concerns over the placement of an electrical transformer near to the Primary School on Hospital Road. It was agreed to contact the NIE and WELB to arrange a site meeting in order to raise these concerns.
Spamount Crossroads – Speed Restriction
Councillor Hussey raised concern over the lack of a speed restriction at the area around Spamount crossroads. It was agreed to contact the relevant authorities to request consideration of a speed restriction of possibly 40 or 50 miles a hour.
Councillor Barr noted that a meeting with WHSSB arranged by the Chief Environmental Health Officer (CEHO) for 7 October had been cancelled. It was agreed that, in addition to the letters being sent regarding the relevant aforementioned items an urgent meeting be rescheduled with WHSSB at which the above matters could also be raised. It was further agreed that notification of the meeting would be sent to all Members.
On the proposal of Councillor Hussey seconded by Councillor Emery meeting went “into Committee”.
The meeting concluded at 9.05 p.m.
DATED this 12th day of OCTOBER 2004
DATED this 9th day of NOVEMBER 2004
Chairman of the Council