Hi, there! — Welcome to the eleventh edition of my monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on my work for Cork City North East.
This month we have motions on our marine heritage, plastic pollution, health-based approaches to substance abuse, and questions about transforming vacant buildings for community use. I’ve also included updates on investments in walking and cycling, the arts, and examples of how the Local Property Tax is being spent in the ward.
Please make sure to share this newsletter with your friends and neighbours in the ward. If you have feedback or questions, or need to get in touch about an issue or local matter, always feel welcome to email anytime me at email@example.com.
p.s. You can share this newsletter with your neighbours easily using this link ... oliver.ie/newsletter
Motions and notions
Every month, each councillor can submit up to four motions to Cork City Council and ask two formal questions of the Chief Executive. One of these questions is asked at the Local Area Committee and must be about local operational issues.
Before the deadline each month, I meet with my local group, the Cork City North Greens and we agree motions and questions for the month ahead. We call this our “motions and notions” meeting :-)
If you have ideas or suggestions for a motion, or have a question you want asked, just let me know!
Or join the Cork City North Greens ... my.greenparty.ie/join
“To ask the Chief Executive what provisions there are for meanwhile use of vacant properties by the arts and crafts communities (and other socially beneficial uses) as part of the city’s vacancy and dereliction strategy?”
My question for the Local Area Committee will be:
“To ask the Chief Executive why traffic signals for cyclists have been implemented without a green phase (only a flashing amber phase) at cycle infrastructure in the North East ward, as well as elsewhere in the city, and if this meets design standards?”
I also have a second question for the Local Area Committee, which was deferred from January:
“To ask the Chief Executive for an update on progress of the Glen and Mayfield Walking and Cycling Scheme?”
“That Cork City Council will write to the Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin, asking that his department will locate the LÉ Eithne in Cork city as a permanent maritime exhibition showing the role of the Naval Service in protecting the marine and in the service of humanitarianism.”
”That Cork City Council will report on the opportunity to install a rubbish barrier, trash wheel or other solution for capturing waterborne plastic litter in the River Lee in the city, preventing it from entering the estuary and the sea.”
“That Cork City Council believes in a health-based approach to substance abuse and will write to the Minister for Justice requesting that prosecutions not be brought against persons found in possession of small quantities of illegal drugs in the city.”
“That Cork City Council will hold a public consultation on the operation of the Customer Service Unit and Customer Service Requests to invite input and ideas on ways to improve the transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the city to residents’ needs.”
Improvements near the Tank Field
Earlier this month, I let residents near the Tank Field know of a number of small but important improvements happening in the area.
These improvements are paid for from new ward-level budgets funded by the local variation in the Local Property Tax. This new source of local funding is something I have championed since being elected. The councillors in the North East ward working together have been particularly progressive in how this money is spent.
The top section of St Christopher’s Road was recently resurfaced as well as a section of Murmont Circle. That section of St Christopher’s Road was particularly important as a quietway for neighbourhood children travelling to and from school and to the Tank Field by foot and by bicycle.
Other projects in the immediate area being funded from this budget include new benches on Murmont Avenue and those already at the Tank Field. New walkway lighting and a drinking water fountain at the Tank Field have also been agreed and will be funded from this budget.
I’m continuing to work with local residents groups on plans for BusConnects Cork. This will include changes to improve the reliability and frequency of public transport in the area.
The current 209 bus route is due to be upgraded significantly in frequency and coverage as part of BusConnects Cork. The new service is planned to run hourly and will form a loop around Montenotte, Mayfield, Ballyvolane, Blackpool and the city centre. These new services are expected to begin next year.
A new 90-minute fare is also planned as part of BusConnects Cork. This is in addition to the 50% reduction in fares for under 24s and a 20% reduction for everyone that’s already in place.
Active travel funding
This month, the national funding for walking and cycling projects in 2023 was announced by my colleague, Eamon Ryan. Between city and county, Cork received €57m in funding, which nearly equals Dublin City Council.
The North East ward fared particularly well. Over 30% of all project funding in the city was allocated to projects in the North East ward. This means €10m in funding in 2023 for walking and cycling projects across the ward.
The works taking place around MacCurtain Street take a large portion of that pot but local active travel measures are being funded for Glanmire, Ballyvolane, Mayfield, the Glen and the Banduff Road. Kilcully and Upper Glanmire pedestrian improvement schemes are being approved by Cork City Council and are funded in this tranche as well.
The most significant overall project however is the ‘pathfinder project’ along the east-city corridor from Kent Station to Glanmire, Little Island and Midleton. Over €9m is being injected into this route this year between city and county. That’s to deliver it by 2025 as a showcase of the potential for walking and cycling infrastructure nationally.
Demand for that scheme is palpable, especially the section along the Lower Glanmire Road from the Dunkettle roundabout. It will be a game changer in terms of connecting the city with a large urban town in Glanmire and a major employment base in Little Island.
Each of these projects makes a difference locally. One that is particularly important for me is improving the safety for children walking to and from school in the Gardiner’s Hill and Tank Field area, where I live, as well as around St Luke’s Cross. It’s the same for all of these projects across the city. It’s in everyone’s own local area that this investment will be felt by young and old.
The northside of the city is coming from behind in terms of walking and cycling infrastructure. This re-balancing in funding is very much justifiable and needed.
‘Listening Posts’ on Penrose Quay
I’m delighted to announce that Cork City Council is in the process of refurbishing the ‘Listening Posts’, an audio sculpture on Penrose Quay.
The sculpture, created by renowned artists Daphne Wright and Johnny Hanrahan, tells the story of emigration from the quays and consists of four stainless steel structures. These play recordings of interviews with hundreds of emigrants, their children and those they left behind, as well as workers on the emigrant ships, in random sequences 24 hours a day.
The refurbishment comes after motions by me, first raising the issue and then requesting progress on restoration by city officials.
An assessment of the sculpture and power supply in the control box located next to the sculptures found the structures to be in good condition, with only cosmetic improvements needing to be made. The refurbishment is expected to be completed by summer 2023.
It’s important that the sculpture is restored alongside the new developments taking place on Penrose Quay and at the railway station. The North Docks are becoming a vibrant place to live and work alongside the Victorian Quarter and the St. Luke’s area.
It’s also timely to think about migration and the pain of having to leave and be separated from one’s home, when there are so many people now seeking sanctuary in our city — displaced by war in Ukraine or coming here to work like we did in London, New York, or Sydney.
Listening to the voices and hopes of the emigrants that are recorded in this work puts context on today’s experiences and allows us to reflect on our unique understanding in this country of migration and having to leave one’s home for a new one.
In the news…
The land can be accessed from the steps and the Scout Hall on Summer Hill, and would be an ideal location for a community-managed pocket park, said Councillor Oliver Moran.
Echo, Monday, 6 February
Oliver Moran speaks to Eoin Kelleher about the significant transformation set to take place on Cork city’s northside, where he lives and represents, in the coming years.
Echo, Sunday, 22 January
Council engaging with new owners of Ennismore House in Montenotte on its future following question by Cllr Oliver Moran.
Irish Examiner, Wednesday, 11 January
Keep in touch
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Have a great month!
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