WATERFORD City and County Council published their annual report last week, which revealed plenty about the performance of the county, and indeed its councillors.
Councillors are required to attend a number of meetings throughout the year, which include Plenary Council, Municipal and Metropolitan District, Strategic Policy Committees (SPC) and Joint Policing Committees (JPC). Three councillors had 100% attendance records in 2018 –Eddie Mulligan (38/38), Blaise Hannigan (32/32) and Sharon Carey (3/3). The meetings included Plenary Council, Municipal and Metropolitan District, SPCs and JPCs. Three Councillors missed 10 or more meetings – Adam Wyse (11), Joe Conway (11) and Ray Murphy (10).
In respect of training events, conference and expenses, 10 councillors did not attend any training events or conferences, thus did not receive any expenses. These were Breda Brennan, Sharon Carey, Pat Fitzgerald, Jim Griffin, Blaise Hannigan, John Hearne, Joe Kelly, Seamus O’Donnell, Lola O’Sullivan and Adam Wyse. Five councillors each claimed more than €5k in expenses, they were Tom Cronin, Jason Murphy, John O’Leary, Cha O’Neil and John Pratt. In total, there were €62,505 spent on training for councillors and €10, 258.31 on conferences.
In 2018, 890 people presented as homeless, which was a 15% increase on 2017. There were 269 new council tenants and a total of 5,166 council houses. In terms of new housing applications, there were a total of 996 applications received in 2018, 656 of which were approved.
The report also included information on the total amount of people who were on the waiting list at the time of the 2017 assessment. 887 were Irish citizens (80%), 191 were European Economic Area (EEA) citizens (17%) and 39 were non EEA citizens (3%). 629 were unemployed (56%), 572 were from single persons (51%), 196 were from couples with children (18%) while 34 were from Travellers (3%).
324 people have been on the list for more than five years (full amount of time not specified), 225 for three to five years and 568 for less than three years.
Waterford City and County Council received a total of 892 planning applications in 2018, 649 of which were granted and 56 refused.
There are a total of 10 fire stations in Waterford City and County, employing 137 people. In 2018, there were a total of 1,451 calls made to Waterford Fire Service – 798 of these were for fires, 457 were for special services and 196 were false alarms. The turnout time for full-time firefighters is 1minute 12 seconds and for retained firefighters, its 5minutes and 1 second.
During Storm Emma, which brought huge levels of snow to Waterford at the end of February, 2018, the Council deployed 200 people, using 117 machines, 2,500 tonnes of salt and 500 tonnes of sand.
With regard to littering and illegal dumping, there were just 96 litter fines issued in 2018 and just two cases made it to court. A “mystery shopper” type operation was carried out to secure evidence in a case where a person was illegally collecting waste. The “man in a van” waste collector advertised the service on social media and following co-operation with WERLA (Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities) and An Garda Síochána, a vehicle was taken to a secure compound for investigation and a prosecution of the illegal waste collector is pending.
143 semi-mature trees were planted throughout parks and residential spaces but it didn’t state how many were cut down.
In 2018, there were 329 dogs in the pound, 83 of which were reclaimed, 242 were rehomed and four had to be put down. There were 28 horses seized, three of which were reclaimed, one was rehomed and 24 were put down.