THE YOUGHAL BRANCH of the Fine Gael party held a celebratory reception for their colleague Barbara Murray, the newly elected Mayor of County Cork. The special evening to commemorate the occasion was held at The Walter Raleigh Hotel on Monday 16th July 2012.
Glowing tributes were heaped upon Barbara, who is only the second woman to acquire the chain of office as the county’s first citizen. As she was surrounded by family, friends and dignitaries including David Stanton TD., a special commemorative engraved crystal gift was presented to Barbara as a memento of the occasion. Robert Sweetnam, Chairman of the Youghal branch of the Fine Gael Party said ” It’s a wonderful achievement. It will be great for the town and the whole county, Barbara is a tireless worker. We are delighted.”
Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Barbara Murray
Cllr Barbara Murray was elected Mayor of the County of Cork for the year 2012-13. Eight years into her political life, Youghal Town and Cork County Councillor Barbara Murray is settling into her role as the county’s first citizen. As well as being only the second woman to acquire the chain, the new mayor bridges a gap of over 60 years as the first Youghal representative to take the office since the late Cllr. William J Broderick.
In a brief acceptance the new mayor described her election as a huge honour and the pinnacle of her electoral career. She thanked her party colleagues for allowing her the opportunity to put herself forward for the role and in particular her proposer, party Chairman and fellow constituent, Cllr Michael Hegarty and her seconder, party secretary, Cllr Pa O’Driscoll. Others to whom she paid tribute were the Independent camp, headed by Cllr. Noel Collins, Youghal and Cork County Council colleague Cllr. Michelle Hennessy of Sinn Fein and Labour Party councillors. She commended outgoing mayor, Cllr. Tim Lombard (FG) for his “tremendous work” and hoped that her tenure would “be somewhere as successful” as that of her predecessor.
Cllr Murray said that the support of her family has “always been unwavering” since and including her days as President of Youghal’s Chamber of Commerce and through various election campaigns.” She proceeded that “those who know me well will I’m sure concur that I am totally committed to my work as a Councillor. I am a full-time Councillor, and therefore in a position to give 100% commitment to the office of Mayor. I am extremely fortunate that my family are at the stage that allows me to do this.
The new mayor then outlined priorities as mayor. “We all know that local authorities are traditionally perceived as being associated with the collection of rates, social housing, water, sewage, dealing with roads etc,” she began. “While all are essential functions, one of my priorities as your newly elected County Mayor is to promote County Cork in the areas of tourism and enterprise.” “Tourism is one of Cork’s finest assets and a key driver of economic growth in the region. The Mayor described Cork County Council as “hugely progressive” in having already taken significant steps in investing in tourism product offerings such as Mallow Castle, Spike Island, Fort Meagher Camden and Mizen Foot Bridge. Cllr. Murray believes these amenities, together with investment in walkways such as the West Cork Rail line and (subject to Failte Ireland match funding) Phase II of Youghal’s eco boardwalk,” would significantly improve the tourism experience for visitors and provide local enhancement for residents to enjoy. The County Council has also launched very imaginative plans for our Regional Park in Ballincollig.
The Mayor encouraged the council to embrace technology and to integrate it into tourism. As a recent convert to ‘web apps,’ she sees the potential in that technology and hopes the County Manager supports her initiative to introduce a visitor ‘app’ on tourism in Cork County. It has been suggested to her, she confided, that it be labelled an ‘ABC’ App – All Bout Cork. It would be highly economic and “tie in perfectly with the work of our new tourism development unit who are presently working on a tourism website,” she urged.
Investment and enterprise
Cllr. Murray’s speech then commented on the establishment of the Economic Development Section at County Hall, which she described as a highly successful and most innovative initiative that works in tandem with the Leader Companies and Enterprise Boards in the region. Its brief has delivered for a wide range of companies and start-ups in the County, she continued who otherwise may not receive funding. She sees it as an area of development that is at an early stage and open to further exploration.
Regarding investment and enterprise, the Mayor believes it “imperative” that the current strong relationship between the IDA and Cork County Council be maintained and nurtured by way of assisting and encouraging multinational investment. Cllr. Murray offered a good example of this partnership working by recalling a recent meeting between the Midleton area members and Sangart, an American Bio Pharma Company looking to locate in Ireland. “They (the American Group) were truly amazed that so many doors were opened to assist them in preparing to locate to Carrigtohill,” she said. The mayor further referred to the Science Park at Curraheen, a Cork County Council initiative of 100 hectares divided into six precincts, as a further collaboration whereby Cork County Council is “working with various partners to create new businesses and jobs.”
New sources of funding
Money is forever a problem these times and Cllr. Murray believes that Cork County Council must look to reinvent in response to the present difficult economic climate. “For all enterprise to succeed, be it private or public, new funding sources have to be found,” she surmised while “existing sources of funding have to be maximized to the limit.” We also need to look at broadening our existing partnerships with the Enterprise Boards, and work even closer with the Business Community through the various Chambers of Commerce,” she observed.
Cllr. Murray referred to “the success of ‘Cork Meet,’ a one-day forum initiative through which Cork and Dublin businesses can look beyond traditional promotional activities and make direct contact with potential Irish clients. “It is also my belief that our Council should continue to support the various food fairs that Cork County Council have led through previous mayors,” enthused the mayor, referring specifically to Cllr. Tim Lombard “bringing 16 food companies to Amsterdam with another food fair shortly to be held in France.”
In summary, Cllr Murray said “the few areas that I have covered is but a snapshot of some of the activities that Cork County Council have initiated. As a local authority we have huge areas of responsibility and in turn we as councillors also have a huge workload. We are responsible for the longest road network, second longest coastline and a population of 399,216. Like previous mayors, I will continue to promote the work of Cork County Council and will strive to raise the profile of this local authority to the level that it rightfully deserves.”
The Mayor can be contacted by email at email@example.com or telephone 021 4285457.
EOIN COYNE was first elected to Youghal Town Council in June 2009. He was appointed mayor of Youghal Town Council on June 21st 2011 and was one of the youngest mayors ever to hold the post in the country. [Click here to read this]
During his three years in office the twenty-three year-old Fianna Fáil councillor was active both inside and outside the chamber. As mayor he walked the walk with the campaigners in the marches to save Youghal ambulance. He wrote a letter expressing his concerns to to the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly concerning the scrapping of the Youghal Ambulance service. [Click here to read this]
At the time he said he wanted the decision reversed and only recently this proved to be the case and the ambulance was to stay in town. [More here]
He was a member of the Youghal Municipal Heritage Committee; Council representative board member to Community Radio Youghal [More Here] and council rep to Youghal Community Alert Group. He campaigned and lobbied for the re-opening of Youghal Garda Station on a 24 hour basis until the people of Youghal get what they deserve. He used his position as best he could to tackle the ongoing problem of young people leaving the country. He was active also in improving facilities in the town for young and old.
He was also on the board of the South and East Cork Area Development (SECAD) and helped deliver a number of major programmes along with a range of other smaller schemes to town.
As mayor he was particulary pleased in engaging with the Youghal Chamber of Tourism and Commerce at the council chamber to jointly promote the economic and social development of the community. He brought together the local business representatives and council to promote the town in order to make it a better place in which to live, work and do business.
Last November as mayor, Eoin extended an open invitation to all clubs, associations, voluntary organisations and interested members of the public within the town of Youghal to the information meeting in relation to Ireland’s 2013 tourism initiative titled “The Gathering”. [Click here to read this]
Eoin has an interest in the Arts and was delighted to be asked as first citizen to open the new art gallery ‘Gallery Frida’ on South Main Street. [Click here to read this] He was also delighted to host a civic reception along with his fellow councillors for the All Ireland Pitch and Putt Champion Anthony O’ Loughlin at the Mall Arts Centre. [Click here to read this]
During his election campaign it was his plan to put Youghal on the map for it to become a premier tourist spot in Ireland. He felt Youghal should work harder than ever to reach the top of the Tidy Towns tables and last year Youghal was officially recognised as the tidiest town in County Cork. [Click here to read this]
- Youghalonline would like to thank Eoin for the courtesy, hospitality and assistance he showed at the events covered on this website during his time as councillor and would like to wish Eoin every success in the future. -
Below is the statement as read at the Youghal Town Council monthly meeting held on the 12/6/12.
The following is a letter that I delivered by hand to the Town Clerk, Liam Ryan this morning.
Liam, a chara,
“I wish to formally inform you of my decision to resign my seat as a member of Youghal Town Council, effective immediately after the Councils AGM on Tuesday, June 19th next.
I wish to put on record that my decision is based solely on personal reasons and is in no way a refection on Youghal Town Council policies, practices or decisions. Nor is it based on the relationship I share with the Council executive, council staff or its elected members.
I wish to thank Town Manager, Patricia Power, yourself and your competent staff for the courtesy and respect that you have shown me over the past three years and I wish you every success in your endeavors as you develop our town for the betterment of all its citizens.
Uachtarán Fhainna Fáil, Micheal Martin, has assured me that the co-option for the vacant seat will take place in the very near future so that the people of Youghal will be fully represented by a very able replacement.
On a personal note, I cannot thank you enough for all the help and advise you have given me, both personally and professionally.”
Is mise, le meas,
As stated already, I have decided to resign from my position as a councillor after much thought and consideration over the past couple of months.
Following meetings and conversations with the Town Clerk and Uachtaran Fhainna Fáil Micheal Martin, I can safely say that I am happy with the decision I have made.
May I say that this is a decision that I have not made lightly. My reasons behind it are numerous.
Mainly, I feel that I no longer have the appetite to serve on Youghal Town Council. For me to continue in my capacity as an elected representative without my full commitment to the role would be disingenuous of me, to the entire council and to the people who voted for me.
I wish to thank my party colleagues and friends; Cllrs. Revins and Linehan-Foley for all the encouragement and support you have shown me throughout my time on the council.
To all of my colleagues on the council, both past and present, I thank you for the respect you have shown me and the co-operation we have shared throughout my term.
Again, I thank the town manager Patricia Power and the entire council staff for the courtesy they have shown me whenever there was anything I needed or requested.
I would like to thank all those who voted for me in the local elections in 2009 and to my family and friends whose support has been unwavered no matter what decisions I have made.
Once again, I wish to thank Town Clerk Liam Ryan for the Trojan work that he carries out on a daily basis to ensure Youghal Town Council leads in progressing this wonderful town in order for us to reach our full potential.
To finish, may I say that I have had the best experience of my life while representing the people of this wonderful town. It was the greatest honour that will ever be bestowed on me to serve as first citizen of the town for the past 12 months. Can I say that the respect shown to me and the office of mayor was extremely humbling, from every group and individual that I have met in my capacity as mayor.
At the age of 23, I feel that there are things that I want to achieve in my life that unfortunately are impossible for me to carry out while tied down to such a demanding position.
I wish Youghal Town Council every success in the future and I have no doubt that we are in very safe hands.
The meeting was attended by Town Manager Patricia Power, Town Clerk Liam Ryan, Deputy Town Clerk Helen Mulcahy, Town Engineer Paul Murray, Town Foreman Ger Lupton, Mayor Eoin Coyne (FF) and Cllrs Barbara Murray (FG), Michael Beecher (FG), Michelle Hennessy (SF), Eoin Flanagan (SF), Liam Burke (GP) Tara O’Connell (Lab), Sammy Revins (FF) and Mary Linehan-Foley (FF).
The meeting was permeated by complaints from Cllr Michael Beecher who found the fan heater system adjacent to which he was sitting aggravating towards his throat and his asthmatic condition. As the councillor’s coughing and hoarseness increased, he turned off the heating. This rapidly decreased the room temperature much to the discomfort of his chamber colleagues, particularly Cllr Michelle Hennessy, who sits alongside Cllr Beecher but who was suffering flu symptoms. In a co-operative effort unprecedented in Irish politics, the Fine Gael and the Sinn Féin representatives even swapped seats in a bid to assist each other. Sadly it proved great in gesture but short in success as eventually Cllr Beecher, hoarse, terse and half way through his third packet of Strepsils, made a heartfelt plea that the system be replaced by “proper storage heaters.” It remains to be seen whether this demand on democracy will be met.
The meeting began with what would transpire to be a lengthy diversion into matters of the departed, following confirmation that Youghal Town Council would heretofore operate the Joint Burial Board in conjunction with Cork County Council. The town manager turned the sod on the debate as she revealed that the burial budget for 2012 included €40,000 towards upgrading the cemetery lodge and €20,000 towards the provision of a future graveyard. Additionally the budget provides, for the first time, for two ‘cremation garden’ plots @ €300 per plot, thought these plots would “not be available as advanced sales.” Ms Power said Youghal Town Council would contribute €64,765 towards the Burial Board’s expenditure for 2012, while Cork County Council would pay €33,000 for the same purpose. The town clerk then explained the debt in terms of anticipated expenditure being €114,029 and income €16,000, leaving a deficit of €98,029.
Plots of room…
Mr Ryan then outlined a €100 increase in grave prices for 2012, meaning a single grave would cost €700, a double plot €1,400 and a triple size plot €2,100. Cllr Revins remarked that there was no cost reduction in acquiring double or triple plots but the town clerk explained that here was “no sense in incentivising” such plots given the limited space in the cemetery. Elaborating, he said three, six and nine people can be interred in the respective plots but that presently up to 90% of plots were not full, because people over-estimated usage when buying them. Children of deceased, for example, through various circumstances such as marriage, etc., were buried elsewhere when their earthly time ran out. “So you get one person in double plots and two in triple plots,” proceeded Mr Ryan, before noting with unintended irony that “the life cycle of the graveyard,” was being shortened due to such over expectation. Meanwhile, he added, a grave can be re-utilised 20 to 25 years after being filled.
The matter refused to die as Cllr Hennessy objected to the price increases on the basis that the living were already suffering enough economic hardship without death adding to their debts. Both Mr. Ryan and the town manager tried to bury her concerns by arguing that Youghal was an extremely economic place, in which to be buried, compared to the rest of the county as documented in the auditor’s report (costs have increased 100% in Dublin). Additionally, the burial costs were only about 10% of an overall funeral expense and the money helped towards the graveyard’s perpetual maintenance, so to speak and not just the burial. Responding to a query from Cllr Linehan-Foley, the assistant town clerk said there were government grants of up to 90% available to people in difficult circumstances towards burials. Cllr Beecher, rather hoarsely, said the Credit Union would also help to bury one, though not in those precise words.
Still the issue wouldn’t lie down, as it emerged that should the cost increases not be applied, the proposed work on the lodge would be compromised. Ultimately only Cllr Flanagan supported Cllr Hennessy’s counter-motion against the renewed costing and the increases were approved 5-2 in a vote.
No sooner had the clay settled on that issue than Cllr Revins unearthed a fresh graveyard gripe. He wanted burial bye-law changed to allow families of the bereaved to install level-ground kerbs around grass graves pending agreement with the town council to care and maintain such plots. He said people had expressed such requests to him. Cllr Linehan-Foley supported the call, arguing that people who owned plots had the right to this privatised, individualistic pursuance.
Cllr Murray wasn’t too supportive, feeling graveyard maintenance should primarily be undertaken by the graveyard caretaker. Mr. Ryan concurred, as he pointed out that the section of the graveyard effectively in question –namely N,P,Q and R-, was deliberately designed as a lawned area and was being maintained to a high standard. Between re-openings and, sometimes, inevitable neglect, the task of maintenance would become very difficult if the bye-law was amended for any kerbing The town manager –being a Cork County Council official- voiced health and safety concerns in the land of the non-living. “You haven’t listened! It’s about ground-level kerbs!” rebuked Cllr Revins in vain, as Ms Power recalled an incident whereby an unfortunate man recently lost an eye through a piece of flying kerb whilst strimming in a graveyard. She offered to provide a report on the why lawn only graves were preferable. Eventually Cllr Burke laid the debate to rest –subject to future resurrection- when his suggestion that a subcommittee of the Joint Burial Board discuss it following the manager’s report. “I hope it doesn’t go on for two years like DeValera Street did,” remarked Cllr Revins, no doubt in fear of Hell. Meanwhile anyone with opinions on lawn or kerbing in the graveyard is asked to convey them to councillors.
The meeting was then received a presentation from Tim Ryan, of the Commission of Irish Lights, on the proposed transfer of the lighthouse to the care of Youghal Town Council. CLICK HERE for more on this article
Votes of Congratulations:
Cllr Linehan-Foley congratulated teenage athlete Fergal Curtin on his 27 All Ireland medals amassed to date, with the previous weekend’s county championships the latest addition. The councillor also paid tribute to young boxer Adam Curley who recently won his first bout in an Irish shirt. She extended recognition to parents of all young athletes and achievers for their supportive efforts. An award night to honour formally these successes is anticipated for next February. The councillor further congratulated Clodagh Mahon, Catherine Desmond and the heritage committee on the town hall Santa and the Collegiate Church craft fair initiatives recently.
Cllr Murray congratulated the Youghal Concerned Citizens for their year of events, including the on-going Dickins’s Christmas celebrations that were bringing a more festive atmosphere to the streets. She conveyed best wishes also to Chris O’Brien of the Imperial Hotel on the launch of his new food product (pies and chowders) product. Likewise, she acknowledged David Browne of Youghal Bay Seafood on the development of his new, pasteurised crab meat product. Finally, she congratulated all involved with the crib installation at Barry’s Lane.
Mayor Coyne paid tribute to Pobalscoil na Tríonóide teacher Tracy Kennedy on being appointed the first female PRO of Cork County GAA Board. He recognised the re-launch of the Walter Raleigh also and urged that locals support the enterprise. The mayor then congratulated the Youghal Junior B Football team –of which he was a member- on their recent East Cork title.
Votes of Sympathy:
These sentiments on behalf of the council are generally conveyed in private but exception was made when Cllr O’Connell expressed her condolences to the family and friends of the late Mary Smiddy who died in such tragic circumstances following an electrical malfunction in her home in Gortaroo recently.
Cllr Beecher complained once again of the heating system in the chamber and some sympathy was forthcoming there also.
Town Foreman’s Report:
Cllr Burke sought remedy for potholes at Nealon’s Quay and also a wall between the Strand Church and Tennis Court, as previously mentioned.
Dominic Collins potholes
Cllr Linehan-Foley drew attention to “craters” at the rear of the Fair Field/Dominic Collins’s Place. She knew there was a resurfacing/lighting plan for the area but wanted the potholes filled meantime. Likewise the footpath in that area needed levelling. The mayor echoed the sentiment, adding concern over poor lighting in the area.
Cllr Beecher complained similarly about the Dominic Collins’s area. He asked if double yellow lies could be installed there too to deter parking on the footpath, given that such vehicles were causing considerable problems for some residents who have visual impairment. The councillor then said a section of road surface at Dolphin’s Square was crumbling. He sought information on any reaction to vile anti-social behaviour at the College Gardens/Adoration Chapel and learned that increased lighting was being installed there.
Cllr Beecher briefly pre-empted Cllr O’Connell in drawing attention to rampant vandalism at an unoccupied section of an estate at Parklands and hoped the town council could assist with a remedy.
Cllr O’Connell then described how young people have been persistently destroying eight properties in at the lower end of Parkland. This has included destruction of fixtures and fittings and even arson, which was spreading fear amongst the nearby occupied houses. Some perpetrators had had the nerve –or stupidity- of scrawling their names on the wall and -in one case at least- advertising their criminality on Facebook. Names had been supplied to the gardaí. Meanwhile the councillor had contacted the developer, who had expressed a willingness to consult with the council towards bringing the houses into occupancy.
Cllr Murray suggested that “technically” it’s not a council problem and the developer was responsible for security. She asked whether he had contacted voluntary housing agencies and was told that this had been done to no apparent avail. Lighting, said Cllr O’Connell, was insufficient to support security cameras.
The town clerk said the issue was specifically a matter for the developer. He understood also that there was agreement in place to have some houses in the purchased but they remained unfinished, thus raising other issues. Mr. Ryan explained that the council had taken the maximum allowed in terms of social housing in the estate and it was not an option to acquire any more, partly because it would “create the wrong social mix” and partly because the government, wouldn’t fund any further purchases. The mayor’s suggestion that the issue be raised at the Joint Policing Committee in January was accepted, as the increasingly hoarse Cllr Beecher again pleaded that storage heaters be installed.
Cllr Flanagan asked that a pothole at the top of Windmill Hill be filled and a faded road ‘Stop’ sign be repainted at the exit to Gort Aobhinn to Cork Hill. Cllr Murray referred to ponding at Blackwater Heights.
Cllr Hennessy complained that a lot of public lights were now not working in the town’s estates. Cnoc Aobhinn was particularly bad and it was a dark and dangerous situation. She asked how people could complain and to whom, given they were not council-managed estates. Cllr Murray said there were similar problems at Srathaán na Salí and elsewhere and nobody seemed to harbour responsibility, whether architect or lighting departments. As Cllr Hennessy reiterated that the developer was apparently un-contactable, it emerged that a low-call number to report for malfunctioning lighting was posted on poles. The number was given as 1850-372772. Office hours are 8.30-5.30 Mon to Fri; also online reports to www.airtricity.com However, as Cllr Murray reflected, complaints previously submitted have brought poor responses.
Cllr O’Connell sought an update on plans to prevent parking and thus alleviate blind spots at the exit from estates across from Crowley’s garage, as raised some time back by former Cllr Donie Daly. The town clerk said an overall plan to redefine the town entrance from the Rhincrew to Greencloyne roundabouts would be incorporate the entrances this would be presented to the council’s February meeting. Cllr O’Connell also echoed concerns over the potholes and footpaths at Dominic Collin’s Place. The councillor concluded with a plea that parking on double yellow lines at the Parish Church was prevalent and needed to be addressed.
The mayor was concerned about ponding at O’Gallagher’s Mews and also opposite the entrance to Lidl.
Cllr Linehan-Foley asked if disabled parking bays could be repainted on the main street and at Cuman na Daoine following the road resurfacing. She wanted potholes at the Knockaverry higher road repaired also. The town clerk said the area needed total resurfacing and suggested that councillors prioritise it for next February’s non-national road grant funding. Cllr Beecher wanted a sign for Kilcoran Road erected as previously requested.
Parking, shredding, ponding and fishing
Cllr Hennessy complained that an extra car parking space provided on North Main Street was too close to the bottom of Cork Hill and so forcing vehicles to stop in the yellow box when turning right. The councillor protested that there was no provision for disposing of shredded paper at the landfill site, due to the small bin apertures. The engineer said it was a matter for the county council’s Environment Department and should be raised at the county council meeting. Cllr Beecher recalled that operatives had opened the back of a container on his behalf in similar circumstances. Cllr Hennessy asked that ponding problems of some seven years standing –or perhaps swimming- be addressed at Clonpriest, as an adjacent local, who is visually impaired cannot now leave his house.
Cllr Murray asked that signage urging fishermen to remove all discarded fishing lines, hooks etc., from the Slob Bank due to the danger to dogs and children and others also using the public facility. She further requested that the Claycastle car park be cleared of rubbish and bins, especially in lieu of Christmas, visitors, swimmers etc.
Cllr Flanagan also drew attention to the need for disability bays to be re-painted but the town engineer said it was unlikely to occur before Christmas. Unimpressed, Cllr Hennessy stressed that disabled people badly needed these spaces.
Following all submissions and considerations planning permission has been granted for the Day Care centre on the grounds of the Community Hospital, Cork Hill.
End of year reports in lieu of the Heritage Municipal Policy Committee (Cllr Burke), HathertonLtd., T/A Enterprise Youghal (Cllr Hennessy and Claycastle Leisure Co., Ltd (Cllr Linehan-Foley) were each deferred to “the new Year.”
Cllr Murray drew attention to the unsightly hoardings at the two closed off viewing balconies near Moll Goggin’s Corner be replaced with a wall, in the interests of visual presentation. Cllr Linehan-Foley however insisted that the viewing balconies should not be abandoned as such. The engineer said he would refer it to the Senior Engineer and report back.
An application for funding assistance –€500 allocated- from the Youghal Concerned Citizens group sparked concern that there was some duplication in projects between the YCC and the Chamber of Commerce (annual council grant of €10,000). “They (the YCC) mention special interest handbooks, a DVD and training ambassadors,” said Cllr Linehan-Foley. “I thought that’s what we give the Chamber money for.” The mayor felt both groups should “cooperate and communicate” in addressing the issue and accepted Cllr Linehan-Foley’s suggestion that he write to both bodies with that suggestion. Cllr Murray concurred, recollecting that Bord Fáilte was set to undertake an ambassador training programme with the Chamber. “There’s no point in duplication,” she said.
Weather warnings and precautions
As Cllr Beecher gasped for survival, the town manager strongly urged that councillors and the general public become familiar with the county council’s revised guidelines on weather and matter associated with freezing and flooding conditions, as experienced in recent years. Information available on the county council’s website deals with all aspects of weather-related consequences, from self, neighbour and property protection to safe practices, insurance requirements and weather warnings. Relevant contact assistance numbers are also provided. Additionally, information can be downloaded in brochure format and such brochures are also available from councillors and in most public service outlets such as town hall, library, etc. See www.corkco.co.ie
Finally, the town clerk noted that there had as yet been no requests from residents associations as to the location of salt and grit reserves, in tandem with the provision for the dispersion of these reserves by such residents if need be. Youghal Town Council is on (024) 92926. The last meeting of 2011 concluded with Cllr Beecher first to leave the room.
Sean Sherlock T.D., (Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Innovation) has said that plans to merge the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) with the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Science (IRCHSS) into a consolidated single council under the Higher Education Authority will bring positive benefits to the Irish research community. The merger of the two Councils was announced as part of the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan published today.
“IRCSET and IRCHSS both play fundamental roles in supporting researchers in the early stage of their careers, in fostering skills development and in encouraging independent exploratory research. This role is essential to nurturing the talent we need for a vibrant research system and a creative, innovative and prospering economy and society.
“IRCHSS has played a unique part in creating opportunities for talented researchers across the humanities and social sciences disciplines. The vital importance to Ireland of supporting research and human talent development across these disciplines will be given recognition and protection within the new Council arrangements.
“In bringing the two bodies together as a single Council under the Higher Education Authority, the Government is committed to strengthening the focus on early stage career opportunity and support for high quality research talent. The new Council will deliver important efficiencies in the operational support for that work. Bringing science and humanities disciplines together in this way will also offer potential for achieving enhanced inter-disciplinary synergies and opportunity. Work will now commence on the detailed arrangements for giving effect to the merger.“
TARA O’CONNELL officially co-opted during minister’s visit to Youghal town council. – By Christy Parker
YOUGHAL TOWN COUNCIL formally accepted the co-option of Labour Town Councillor Tara O’Connell at a special meeting Monday morning (October 24th). The meeting coincided with the visit of Labour Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and Department of Education & Skills, Sean Sherlock. The minister fielded several questions from councillors and town clerk on matters relevant to Youghal, including tourism and education initiatives, marina funding and employment strategies.
TARA O’CONNELL SUCCEEDS HER DAD ON YOUGHAL TOWN COUNCIL
By Christy Parker
TARA O’CONNELL has been selected to succeed her late father Tommy on Youghal Town Council. The co-option took place unopposed at a special meeting of the Youghal Labour Party in the Gate bar on Thursday night October 6th. Labour Party official George Cummins oversaw proceedings which were also attended by local branch Secretary Sean Rush, party members, the O’Connell family and friends. Mr Cummins extended his condolences to the O’Connell family on Tommy’s passing last month following a brief illness.
For Tara, 39 and the eldest of two girls in a family of four children, the occasion was one of pride laced with poignancy. “I was very proud to succeed my dad but very sad he wasn’t there to see it,” she recalls, “particularly as it was something he always wanted for me.” In the event a prepared speech she had scribed went unread. “I just felt too emotional when the moment came,” she says.
Tara traces her interest in politics to an early age and her dad’s influence. “I remember canvassing with my father when I was about eight and loving the razzamatazz of it all,” she remembers. “I also had a teacher whose dad was a politician and that intrigued me also.
In time the issues and practice of politics formed a driving force in her life and she duly joined Sinn Féin as had her father before his transference to Labour. After many years in SF, including a stint as chairwoman, she again followed her dad’s footsteps, this time into the Labour party. “I felt their social policies better suited my own ideas on social issues,” she explains. Much of her time in Sinn Féin coincided with the conflict in Northern Ireland and she remains a Republican at heart. “I am delighted to see peace in the Six Counties,” she states, “but I very much support the goal of a united Ireland.”
In latter times, as Chair of the Save Youghal Ambulance group, Tara has been to the forefront of the fight to retain an efficient ambulance service in the town. There are on-going negotiations proceeding on that issue, she says” but we hope to issue an update shortly.”
On a broad level, Tara strongly advocates fairness and equality and would trumpet the cause of the less well off, the disenfranchised and the marginalised. “I feel that people on the lower end of the economic scale –the ordinary workers and the unemployed- always take the brunt of things and the latest cutbacks once again exemplify that,” she states.
Her new role as town councillor, Tara “will be following up issues raised by father,” including his rent/rates reduction initiative and a feasibility study into restoring drift net salmon fishing on the Blackwater. “But I very much intend to make my own impact as well,” she insists.
A single mum of a teenager daughter, the new councillor sees Youghal’s future best served by self-sustainability. “Large industrial investment is not going to come here in the foreseeable future,” she believes, “so we must to rely on ourselves. That’s why groups like the Youghal Concerns Citizens set such a great example. We have all got to work together to build a better future. I believe at this moment, tourism and heritage projects, along with promoting and assisting the establishment and development of small, individual businesses, offers our best options.”
Pragmatically, she realises that town councils have limited, ever-diminishing power. “That’s why I have always found it unfair that some people automatically blame the council when anything goes wrong. Sure they make mistakes like everyone else, but I think all the councillors have the good of the own at heart and try to do the best they can within the limits imposed on them.”
That may all change for better or worse very soon. In about seven weeks Environment Minister Phil Hogan is set to present to the cabinet his Local Government reform proposals. Things are almost sure to change and maybe change radically. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” says Tara. Meanwhile she intends to make every moment count on behalf of the town that her late father loved dearly and was staunchly proud to serve.
Youghal’s Labour Councilor, Tommy O’Connell has claimed that Labour Party leader, Eamonn Gilmore is carrying out an investigation following a request from the General Secretary of the party to Youghal Town Clerk, Mr. Liam Ryan last week that Mr. O’Connell’s seat on the council be nullified.
The shock move follows Mr. O’Connell’s nomination and subsequent co-option onto the council seat in the aftermath of Cllr. Donie Daly’s resignation just over a month ago. Confusion reigns over last week’s bizarre event and continues to damage the public relations of the party branch in Youghal.
Further to the revelation that the General Secretary of the Labour Party asked for Mr. O’Connell to be removed, the party’s press office accused the Youghal Council of negligence in the co-opting process.
The news first broke on Tuesday morning when Mr. Ryan informed members at a special meeting to discuss budgets and traffic management that he had been in correspondence with the General Secretary of the Labour Party on Friday evening Oct. 29th. Mr. Ryan told shocked members that the Labour Party said they ‘were not happy with the selection process of Tommy O’Connell’ and that they requested the councilor’s nomination be ‘nullified’. The Town Clerk added that he was asked to reply to the Labour Party by 5pm Monday. Mr. Ryan then contacted Mr. O’Connell and advised him that it would ‘not be appropriate’ for him to come to Tuesday’s special meeting. Before any of the members could respond to the news the Town Clerk advised them that the matter was an ‘internal party issue that has nothing to do with us’.
By noon Tuesday The Labour Party Press Office claimed that the problem with Mr. O’Connell’s co-option lies with the Youghal Town Clerk. When asked why the Labour Party had contacted the council with their request, Mr. Tony Heffernan said. “The proper selection procedure wasn’t fulfilled under the law. All candidates are required to have a certificate of political affiliation. Mr. O’Connell doesn’t. I presume the Town Clerk is familiar with the law and would have checked the legal requirements. The Town Council wasn’t entitled to co-opt him.” Mr. Ryan responded that he would make ‘no comment on internal Labour Party procedures’.
On hearing the Labour Party Press Office claims on Tuesday afternoon Mr. O’Connell said the dispute over his legitimacy as a certified member of the party was a ‘smokescreen’. He also claimed that those with a ‘vested interest’ in discrediting the Youghal branch ‘will fail’. “I don’t have a certificate. However, I have a membership card and I have a letter from head office accepting my donation. That information was conveyed to the Town Clerk. This is a petty procedure in the extreme and is an internal issue. Someone at a senior level within the Labour Party has an ulterior motive. I believe it comes from potential candidates looking to destroy the Youghal branch before an election. We have contacted Eamonn Gilmore and he is investigating the matter. We won’t take this lying down,” he said.
On Saturday, the controversy continued to evolve with a special sitting of the Youghal branch at the Walter Raleigh Hotel. Labour election candidates for Cork East, John Mulvihill and Sean Sherlock were in attendance to ratify Mr. O’Connell’s nomination. How Labour Party headquarters receive the move is unknown but have stated that they want the seat filled ‘as quickly as possible’ though no timeframe was given nor has any name yet been identified for selection. The move by the Labour Party marks a new phase in what has been a tumultuous number of months for the Youghal branch.
Youghal Labour Party will hold a special meeting to formally ratify Tommy O’Connell as the replacement for former town councillor, Donie Daly, who resigned from the Council in September. The move comes after it emerged that Mr O’Connell had not received a formal Letter of Affiliation from Labour Party Headquarters. Pic: www.youghalonline.com
It has been decided that a selection convention to fill the vacancy created by Cllr Daly’s resignation is to be held within the next seven days. The convention will be chaired by Cork North Central Labour deputy, Ciaran Lynch and will be attended by the two Labour candidates for Cork East, Sean Sherlock TD and Cllr John Mulvihill and members of the Consituency Council have also been invited.
If, as expected, Mr O’Connell emerges from this selection convention as the replacement for former Cllr Daly, he is likely to formally take his seat on Youghal Town Council at its December meeting.