Election of Chairperson
Councillor Hussey thanked Members, Officers and Administration Staff for their support throughout his term as Chairperson of the Corporate and Regulatory Services Committee (CARS). He proceeded to invite Members of the Sinn Fein (SF) party to make a nomination for Chairperson under the D’hondt system.
Councillor McNulty, thanked Councillor Hussey for carrying out his duties throughout the year.
On the proposal of Councillor McNulty, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, Councillor McHugh was duly elected as Chairman of the CARS Committee.
Councillor McHugh proceeded to take the Chair and thanked Councillors for proposing him as Chair. He also thanked Councillors Hussey and Breslin for carrying out their duties as Chair and Vice-Chair over the past year. He then invited Members of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) party to make a nomination for Vice Chairperson under the D’hondt system.
Election of Vice-Chairperson
On the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, Councillor Donnell was duly elected as Vice-Chairperson of the CARS committee.
Councillor Donnell proceeded to take his seat as Vice-Chairperson and thanked the Councillors for nominating him.
Chief Environmental Health Officer’s Report
The Chief Environmental Health Officer (CEHO) presented his monthly report and the following was discussed:-
The CEHO advised Members that as reported at the Audit & Staff Committee, Council had received a request to exhume the alleged remains of Mr Paul Slattery. He further advised that the Chief Technical Services Officer (CTSO) and himself contacted an ex-employee who dug the grave for the remains in 1974. The CEHO stated that it was over 30 years ago and unfortunately the employee was unable to give the exact location. He did indicate however, that the grave could be one of six or seven graves in the vicinity.
In response to Councillor McNulty, the CEHO stated that the last records for those particular graves dated back to the 1940’s, however there was no record of anyone being buried there since that period.
Councillor McMenamin recommended that an audit be carried out of all the graves. He also stated that he would enquire with Mr Michael Quigley, Undertaker, if he had any recollection as to where the remains may have been buried.
Councillor Barr stated that he had sympathised with the family’s plight, however given that the former gravedigger could not be certain, he felt it was immoral to open graves at random. He further stated that he fully appreciated the difficulty for Mr Slattery’s parents and felt that it was unfortunate that a relative could not have identified the remains at the time when they were recovered from the river.
On the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Foley it was agreed that without precise information, Council could not endorse opening the grave. It was also agreed that should further information become available, Council would endeavour to assist the family.
Councillor Kerrigan and Councillor O’Kane expressed their sympathy towards the family and stated that it was an unfortunate situation.
Councillor McGill attended the meeting – 8.05pm.
Councillor Hussey declared an interest in the above issue.
On the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Foley it was agreed that Members’ laptops would be replaced at a cost of £9984.00.
The CEHO requested that Members report any faults with their current laptops to the IT department, via email.
Councillor Barr requested the CEHO investigate the possibility of a buy back option for Councillors, should no alternative use be identified for the existing laptops.
The CEHO referred to correspondence from the Environment & Heritage Service (EHS), which was in response to a request from Council to instruct the developer to remove all waste off the site.
The CEHO reported that the Health & Safety Executive had advised that a contractor was currently removing asbestos pipe lagging on site. He further reported that the EHS stated that they had urged the contractor to remove the waste as soon as possible, however they had no statutory power to enforce such until after a one-year period.
Councillor O’Kane stated that he was very concerned that specialists have been employed to remove asbestos, after Council had been assured that there was no asbestos on the site. He further stated that residents were very concerned and felt that the contractor should be compelled to remove the waste.
The CEHO stated that he would make the EHS aware of the concerns.
The Chief Executive (CE) stated that Beechmount Developments have again expressed an interest in meeting with Council, despite being invited on three different occasions. He advised Members that he would contact them again and try to arrange a suitable date and time.
Smoke Free Areas
Councillor Hussey queried if it was a requirement for places of worship to display no smoking signs.
In response, the CEHO stated that at this stage the Environmental Health Department was not enforcing such, however he would seek clarification on the matter and report back to Council.
On the proposal of Councillor Foley, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan the CEHO’s report was adopted.
Land at Gas Yard Site
On the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Emery it was agreed to accept a presentation from the Strabane Rugby Club in relation to the above at the next available meeting.
On the proposal of Councillor McNulty, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan the meeting went ‘in committee’.
On the proposal of Councillor Foley, seconded by Councillor McGuire the meeting when ‘out of committee’.
Child Protection Policy, Procedures & Guidelines
On the proposal of Councillor Foley, seconded by Councillor McMenamin the above was approved.
Councillor McNulty requested that a copy be forwarded to him.
Social Renewal Health Forum
On the proposal of Councillor Foley, seconded by Councillor McMahon, Councillor McNulty and the CEHO were nominated to represent Strabane District Council on the above.
Closure of Vehicle Licensing Offices
Councillor O’Kane requested that a letter be forwarded to the relevant authority expressing Council’s concerns relation to the above.
Emergency Flooding Plans
In response to Councillor Donnell, the CEHO advised that if there was any indication that flooding could occur, there was an Emergency Action Plan to manage such an incident.
The meeting ended at 9.20pm.