Annual Meeting of Kilkenny County Council 2006

The Annual meeting of Kilkenny County Council afforded an opportunity for the Members and Officials to reflect on the achievements over the past 12 months and set out its goals for the next twelve.

The Annual meeting of Kilkenny County Council afforded an opportunity for the Members and Officials to reflect on the achievements over the past 12 months and set out its goals for the next twelve.

The following extract from the speech of outgoing Cathaoirleach Maurice Shortall outlines what has been an eventful year since he took over the Chair on 30th June 2005

  • Local Area Plans were completed for Freshford, Kells, Goresbridge and New Ross Environs.
  • The Local Area Plan for Kilkenny City Centre was also completed.
  • Construction of Phase 1 of the Nore Linear Park commenced. This is an exciting and imaginative development which will be of benefit to the people of Kilkenny City and County in the years to come.
  • The Multi Annual Road Works Programme was agreed. This programme formed the basis of Kilkenny County Councils commitment to improved roads for our citizens for the years to come.
  • Progress has been made on national roads that pass through County Kilkenny and we have now advanced to tendering stage for the N8 Cullohill to Cashel Road and the N9/N10Waterford/Kilcullen road
  • There has been substantial expenditure increases towards improvement of water and waste water schemes in the County.
  • Last year saw the first full year of our Parks Department being in operation and they have made a great impact through the provision of playgrounds and playing pitches and their continued excellent work on the Woodstock Gardens Restoration Project. I have had the honour of attending the opening of these playgrounds and their worth to their communities cant be underestimated.
  • The Civic Amenity Centre in Dunmore goes from strength to strength. After initial difficulties the provision of recycling facilities in Newrath has proved to be a great success. Furthermore we are now some what closer to the provision of a permanent Civic Amenity Centre for South Kilkenny. One of the priorities which I had hoped to progress during my year as Chair was the provision of an Amenity Centre for the South of the County. So I am pleased that the land has been acquired.
  • The Litter Management Plan continues to be implemented. However, litter remains a problem and in spite of the commitment of both Elected Members and Officials this problem can only be tackled with the full co-operation of the public.
  • In the area of housing Kilkenny County Council continue to utilise the options available under various Social & Affordable Housing Schemes. I am pleased to see that the Part V Housing Strategy is beginning to show fruit.
  • Over the past year the housing programme has been the largest and most advanced by the Council for many years. This is reflected in the current years capital allocation of €17.5 million.
  • During the past year Kilkenny County Council has passed a new scheme of Letting Priorities.
  • There has also been a review of the Disabled Persons Grant Scheme which should be of benefit to those most of need in our society.
  • Following a comprehensive consultation programme and the work of a very active sub committee a review of Kilkenny County Councils Rural Housing Policy was completed which dove tails National Policy with local needs.
  • This year saw the opening of a new state of the art dog shelter at Paulstown. This project was a joint venture between ourselves and Carlow County Council.
  • As Cathaoirleach I was particularly pleased that the contract documents for the new Kilkenny Swimming Pool were approved in the last few months and we are now proceeding to tender stage.
  • Kilkenny County Councils commitment to the advancement of Arts, Heritage and Culture have been underlined by the preparation of an Arts Strategy until 2009.Work on a Heritage Plan has commenced and a new structure for the delivery of our library service has been agreed
  • Kilkenny County Council has over the last 12 months received a number of awards for instance the O2 Positive to Disability Awards which I had the great honour of attending earlier in the year. We also received awards from Repak reflecting our ongoing commitment to meeting our recycling targets. Our Human Resources Department received an Award from the Chamber of Commerce reflecting this organisations commitment to Customer Service.
  • Some of the customer service initiatives which have taken place within the past year are the extension of lunchtime opening to all services within the County Council and over the counter validation of planning applications. In most cases this process now only takes 10-15 minutes.
  • Kilkenny County Council have continued to harness information technology for the benefit of the public through the bill pay system and the new interactive planning website which is a more user friendly look up system for our customers.
  • A review of the County Development Board Strategy took place during my term in office and it is hoped that the key targets identified are met. Certainly I was impressed with the commitment of all participants to meet these targets.

The need to maintain and improve the organisations level of service was a theme for incoming Caothaoirleach Billy Ireland as he set out his stall for the forthcoming year.
As elected members and officials we have several challenges over the forthcoming year.

  • The implementation of the housing programme
  • The review of the County Development Plan
  • Various Environmental issues including litter, recycling and waste management.
  • Implementing the multi annual roads programme.
  • Improvement of our water and sewerage services
  • Ensuring that the development contribution scheme is as fair and equitable as possible and that the money generated is used wisely for the benefit of the people of Kilkenny.
  • Promoting and assisting the City and County of Kilkenny and nurturing its status as a centre of Heritage, Culture and the Arts.
  • In short, making Kilkenny a great place to visit but an even better place to live.
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