Hi, there! — Welcome to the twelfth 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 30km/h speed limits, pedestrian infrastructure and access to public toilets, plus questions about housing and the lifting of the evictions ban. I’ve also included updates on the rollout of a new bus network for the city and 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 need to get in touch about an issue or local matter, or if you have feedback or comments, always feel welcome to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 to outline Cork City Council’s policy on the use of delegated powers to purchase homes with tenants in situ who are HAP or RAS tenants facing eviction for reason of sale; and for the compulsory purchase of vacant properties, even when these dwellings are not suitable for social housing.”
My question for the Local Area Committee will be:
“To ask the Chief Executive to report on implementing: (a) restrictions on Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) travelling through the city centre; and (b) on HGV restrictions within the boundary created by the N40 South Ring Road and proposed Northern Distributor Road, as outlined in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.”
“That Cork City Council will report on the progress of implementation of the Cork City Council public toilet policy and the appraisal document accepted in May 2021?”
“That’s Cork City Council supports the Road Safety Authority in 30km/h being the default speed limit on urban roads and will forward this message to the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, and the Road Safety Authority.”
“That Cork City Council will provide modern pedestrian infrastructure on the Middle Glanmire Road, Lovers’ Walk, and at the junction of Middle Glanmire Road and Leycester’s Lane.”
I’ve also asked to add my name to a motion from John Maher on solidarity with our library services staff, who are receiving intimidation related to books in the city’s libraries.
North East ward budget
In February, the North East ward councillors agreed the local ward budget for 2023. This is the third year of this new system of budgets for Cork City Council funded by the local variation in property tax. It is something I have championed since being elected.
The councillors in the North East ward have notably taken a very progressive approach to these budgets. In other wards, all of the budget goes towards estate roads resurfacing. In the North East ward, we have chosen to fund a range of projects to benefit everyone.
This year’s budget was €370,000 and we carried an overspend of €35,000 from 2022, which was due to price inflation in roads resurfacing contracts.
The largest part of the budget was €230,000 towards resurfacing sections of three estate roads and repairing the concrete surface in Bellevue Park (€22,192). The three estates were chosen from a priority list assessed by city engineers. These were 16–52 Glenthorn Drive (€82,615), 1–12 St Christophers Walk (€33,046) and the entrance to Castlejane, Glanmire (€92,147).
We agreed to top-up the €20,000 traffic calming budget by another €40,000. Specific locations agreed in principle for traffic calming were raising a pedestrian crossing near Scoil Oilibhear in Ballyvolane, adding radar-activated signs on the approach to St Luke’s Cross and adding a pedestrian guard outside St Patrick’s GNS on Ballyhooly Road.
We also agreed to top up the budget for footpath repairs by an additional €20,000 on top of an existing €60–100,000 budget that’s expected. A small budget of €20,000 was set aside for small amenities like park benches, bins and planting.
Each year so far, we have funded a larger amenity project too. In previous years these have included the purchase of disability play equipment or a biodiversity project. This year, we agreed to put €25,000 towards part-funding a very progressive carbon sequestration project in Meelick Park in Ballyvolane.
If you have any comments on these or suggestions for the location of traffic calming or small amenities in the ward, please let me know as these items will be agreed at later meetings of the ward councillors.
New bus routes
I received confirmation this month from the National Transport Authority (NTA) that a new bus network for Cork is set to roll out in three stages beginning in 2024.
The new network will increase the number of bus services by 53% across the city, including two 24-hour services between Ballincollig and Mahon, and Hollyhill to Carrigaline, as well as seven new high-frequency routes running every 15 minutes or better. I’m also engaging with the NTA about the potential to include Mayfield and Glanmire to MTU among the 24-hour services.
This is particularly good news for areas that were previously under-served by public transport. Two of the new routes, to Upper Glanmire and Kilcully, are likely to be in the first phase of the rollout. I know from residents living in those areas, those buses cannot come soon enough.
The rollout of the new network is a significant undertaking, which requires significant investments in fleet, personnel and additional depot space, as well as a considerable amount of planning work such as timetable and new bus stops. Only electric buses are to be purchased for new urban services. This further reduces current depot capacity and the installation of charging equipment.
I’m extremely grateful for the commitment and engagement of the NTA and their support for progress in Cork’s transport network.
Increased frequency and coverage is one part of the jigsaw to transforming public transport in the city. Two other major pieces are the reliability of public transport and bringing down the price of fares.
New fare structures will be part of the new services, with a single 90-minute fare allowing transfer between services on top of the 20% reduction in fares already brought in by my Green Party colleague, Eamon Ryan.
The reliability of services will depend on the outcome of the consultations that are on-going with residents about public transport priority measures. The next iteration of those plans is expected now at the end of March or early April. However, I know from speaking to residents groups in the ward that great progress has been made in arriving at solutions that work for everyone.
Last month, public representatives in Cork and Limerick received an update from Transport Infrastructure Ireland on the Cork–Limerick transport project.
The difference in a year between updates to representatives like this took me by surprise. The project now has a renewed focus that reflects a more genuinely multi-modal project, with details on how the scheme will provide active travel, public transport and mobility hubs alongside an upgraded roadway.
This shift in approach will offer better opportunities to mix and match along the route depending on what someone needs. It seems the penny is dropping that this needs to be more than just a motorway project as normal. As well as being more forward thinking, that more rounded approach is a vision that local communities can get behind.
It includes local walking and cycling routes connecting communities all along the way, as well as new mobility hubs for car sharing and public transport pick-up.
Few people are going to walk or cycle all the way from Cork to Limerick but in every local area it helps make that place easy and safer to live in. At the micro-level, it means joining neighbours and villages together all the way from Cork to Limerick. It means students being able to cycle to the bus, pensioners being able to walk to their neighbours, and tradespeople having dedicated places to carpool to work.
Closer to the city, the project now includes the ambition for a fully-integrated park and ride, mobility hub and railway station at Blarney. There’s potential for that to be delivered in advance of the overall project and it ties in with work already happening on the Cork commuter rail network.
It was confirmed as well that there’s no infrastructural barriers to a direct Cork–Limerick rail service either. I think that should now be delivered immediately by Irish Rail as a start of this realignment of the overall project.
In the news…
As housing developments continue at pace in the historic city area of Blackpool, Amy Nolan asks Oliver Moran if services and infrastructure will match the influx of new residents.
Echo, Sunday, 5 March
Green Party councillor Oliver Moran said he had attended the rally to show that Ireland is a welcoming place, and he felt that message had been sent out by the vast majority of Cork people.
Echo, Sunday, 5 March
Oliver Moran described lifting the ban without putting new measures in place for renters as “putting the cart before the horse” and that the same conditions that existed before the ban still exist now.
Irish Examiner, Wednesday, 8 March
Keep in touch
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Have a great month!
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