Council Update by Cllr Tom Behan
Over the past number of months there has been much debate over the beach access, specifically that of beach parking, currently our beaches are closed to vehicular access. At our last meeting of the Environment committee I managed to ensure that there were parking spaces provided directly on the beach for elderly and people with disabilities to access the beach. When the environment committee met last week i put forward a proposal to increase the provision of parking on the beach to address the ongoing issues with parking along the coast road. My intention was to allow a greater number of cars to park in a cordoned area which would reduce the impact of along the coast road and would leave the beach safe as cars would only be able to access the sectioned off area, unfortunately this proposal was not adopted and the committee agreed to review the matter in march of next year.
In the mean time the council have been working hard to try and secure additional parking spaces for beach users and are at advanced talks to secure an area adjacent to Funtasia which would provide additional parking spaces for beach users. The council have also committed to additional signage for the parking facilities provided.
Beach wardens have now completed the works for the summer season, it is hoped that the life guard station will be moved closer to the seaview terrace. The environment department were also asked to look at the possibility of providing Lifeguard stations at both Laytown and Mornington beaches.
Vandalism in Laytown
One of our park benches in Laytown was set alight last week, it is clear that this was an intentional fire as the benches were constructed from recycled material so to get it to burn an accelerator such as petrol would have been needed. The Fire department we called out to extinguish the fire but the bench was ruined. The remains were cleared away and I have spoken with the area engineer and I have allocated funding from our members discretionary fund to ensure the bench is replaced as soon as possible. The council have indicated that they will look into reinstating CCTV in the area unfortunately this will not be done until October.
Local property tax
Each year the council meet to discuss and review the Local property tax. The councillors then vote to either amend the tax by increasing or decreasing it up to 15%. This year there will be no change to the local property tax and will be reviewed again in 2021
Climate change adaptation allocation
Meath County Council were approved for 5 projects for climate change adaptation works. The R151 Mornington road was included in this scheme and was allocated €142,000 to alter the level of the road to mitigate flooding and reduce road closure frequency, there are three specific sections of the road that currently can become impassable due to high tides. Meath county council will now begin the design stage of the project and will hope to have that complete by November.
E-Cigarettes and Vaping
I have been working hard trying to get the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to introduce a vaping ban similar to that of the smoking ban that would see a ban on the use of E-cigarettes and Vaping in public areas such as the workplace, education facilities, cafes bars and restaurant. With the current Pandemic I believe it is foolish that legislation is not introduced that we see this ban implemented. Vaping is known to cause irritation and inflammation of the respiratory system which may enhance the severity of Covid-19 illness. The potential role of it in onwards transmission is not currently well understood but as Covid-19 is a droplet spread infection, anything which accelerates the distance droplets can travel should be guarded against, and from a precautionary point of view, it would seem wise that vaping in places where other people are likely to be present is, at best, unwise.