Cllr. Dermot Sheehan   

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In light of the chaos caused by extreme weather conditions for the past two winters, the Government has launched a Winter Ready campaign. The campaign includes a website which will display weather related advice and information from Government departments, the Gardaí, the HSE, Local Authorities and the various transport providers.


The objectives of the campaign are to provide practical advice as to how best prepare for the coming winter and any potentially extreme weather, to ensure the public are aware of where to find advice and help if required and to reassure the public that adequate arrangements have been put in place to ensure that there will be a fully coordinated response in the event of severe weather.


The Government has also spent €16 million on 200,000 tonnes of gritting salt to account for the possibility of freezing weather This is double the salt levels purchased last year and three times what might be expected to be required in an average winter. In addition, the State's airport authorities have invested €7m in equipment which would allow them to clear runways twice as fast as they were able to do last year. Posted 29/11/2011




Now we find ourselves with an opportunity to assess where we have been, where we are, and where we would like to be. Global, National, and even Local happenings not alone indicate and suggest, but also insist that a major reassessment of our ideology must now occur and take place. One train of thought emanating suggests the adoption of the “KISS” philosophy of [ K eep I t S imple S tupid ] . Often in a time of crisis the adoption of this philosophy can be the “Acorn – out of which great Oak Trees Grow”.

Within our present concepts, the over supply of zoned lands within the Bantry Electoral Area is to many minds a myth as no independent research into its immediate or long term availability has been undertaken. Suitable access to some of the currently zoned areas has not been fully investigated. Pending taxation legislation governing the disposal of such lands, along with the difficulty in attaining necessary finance will curtail and stagnate the availability of such areas as witnessed in the mid 70's to late 80's early 90's.

It is contended by some that the 2009 Development Plan and the strategies / objectives / targets contained therein are now questionable in so far that their conception may well be open to legal argument as to the basis of their formulation and can now be considered as being misleading and guided by what has now been proven as being non-existent, and therefore cannot be taken as a measuring device of accuracy by which our “LAP's” can be based on. Our physical economic status as a nation is now so diminished, the Global – National – degeneration of what was sacrosanct, taken for granted, expected to last for ever, now only resembles the remnants of a bad nightmare. We have to conduct an immediate autopsy. The onus is now on us to dissect the present day situation as it is on the ground – and not adhere to what are now unattainable aspirations over the next five years.

It is now evident that we will have to revert back to getting the basic fundamentals of survival correct. The term “Small is Beautiful” is one that should constitute part if not the main part of our mantra. It is clear that the strategy and objectives and targets relating to “Gateway's” and “Hub's” are unattainable at this present time and unquestionably into the foreseeable future. The population trends predicted for 2020 are now in a very serious questionable and problematic position. The 70% / 30% is a strategy which because of the now non - guaranteed status of their origin questions their viability going into the future, and which of us will take responsibility for the devastating effect's they may have on our rural hinterland and it has to now be crystal clear that this matter of urgency must be immediately addressed. In this plan greater emphasis must be tolerated towards the unique social, cultural, living vibrant communities and their preservation, maintenance, and continued progression and growth must be guaranteed, enhanced, and encouraged to maintain the ethnic tradition of our countryside / rural inhabitants, by our acknowledging the importance of the “Townland” “The Local School” “The Local Village” “The Parish Jersey” – which are all part of the unique “DNA” of this resilient tribe.

Our Towns must grow – but not at the expense of they maturing into no go “Ghettos”. Our Villages must grow –but not at the expense of they becoming lethargic hamlets. Our natural economic resources are potentially the key to the door we so urgently need to open.

Agriculture has and will be the core of our rural existence. I would like to see this plan explore and encourage the boundless opportunities which exist within this asset / resource. We are perceived by our European brothers and sisters as being the suppliers of top quality produce. Let's explore and implement the necessary strategies and objectives which will make it possible, to see the emergence with support of more opportunities for the on site and in region processing of our local produce.

Tourism has a large part to play in our future progression. Let's move towards the implementation of the marine Leisure Infrastructure Strategy for West Cork rather than have it as a paper objective. Let's produce a realistic five year implementation plan. In West Cork we have 719 km of coastline with 172 piers and slips scattered throughout. Let us explore why the inshore fisherman is all but extinct, and let us progress to saving this unique and self preservable species. Aquaculture is fine but it has its limitations as regards to job creation, community economic gains, and now it appears it has its own evolving environmental problems.

Our Rivers / Lakes / and Streams are slowly being strangled. Fish cannot navigate to spawning grounds. Beauratric red tape between our different agencies and the absence of dialogue between same are responsible for much of our woes. Let us strive to produce a plan which is going to be pro active in rejuvenating our electoral area.

In the Bantry area we have three peninsulas – which are fed off the N71 - we must ensure that proper access to all three is part of our deserved infrastructure as the right of citizens.

We must encourage the migration of people who will be of a value to the “indigenous community” and “accommodate them” because of the input they can offer our “continued existence” . We must encourage their integration within these communities, not create a continuous line of obstacles for them to navigate. For example recent research indicates that parts of West Cork are most suitable for vine growing that would lead to a co-operative wine industry, which would supplement present farm incomes, create new and exciting opportunities in tourism, and help to elevate the decline in the rural population. This can only come about if we are proactive in enabling the expertise to integrate within our communities.


Many if not all of the foundations of my submission can and will be financed by Europe . The schemes are there only for us as a unit aspire to what the electorate we represent expect from “Local Government”









We together can make it “happen” and be the leaders of the rejuvenation for our proud nation.


Cllr. Dermot Sheehan.

End: Posted 13/03/2010










12th May 2010

I contend that the following points appertain to sections if not the whole draft and subsequently to the future impact of the region:

Leading from the first Regional Planning Guidelines which were prepared and adopted in 2004, we are now charged with preparing and adopting a strategy for the next strategic planning period 2010 > 2022. This indeed is an onerous task in its complexity alone. The draft Planning and Development Bill 2009 has significant implications for the role of the regional planning guidelines – which in turn will have practically a total control over County and City Development Plans. In this regard it is imperative that we undertake a full autopsy of the out come of the past six years – and try to assess the impact the proposed Planning and Development Bill 2009 will have on our region for the future period 2010 > 2022. Allowing for the review in 2016 which if we get it wrong now will have the region emerging from a twelve year limbo at this junction.

Our physical economic status as a nation is now so diminished, the Global – National – degeneration of what was sacrosanct, taken for granted, expected to last for ever, now only resemble the remnants of a bad nightmare. We have to be vigilant that we do not commit ourselves to unattainable aspirations at the expense of an ethnic extinction of what has fundamentally been recognised and proven as having a self making endurance.

Sustainability is a question – a big question. Through out this draft its utilisation and use determines that because of its origin in this context it represents an oxymoron, and one whose attainability under the present national climate indicates it as an impossible goal presently and into the foreseeable future.

An over reliance on the accuracy of the 2002 National Spatial Strategy is questionable in so far as to my knowledge it has currently no legal status, and as a region can we rely on and should we allow ourselves to be forced into accepting non negotiable targets which to my understanding, have never had any in-depth analysis of real and true delivery to the region as a whole from existing strategies. Evidence- based core strategies are the fundamental basis of these targets, but how reliant or how perfect is the evidence that was used.

Emphasis and not reference must be tolerated towards the unique social, cultural, living vibrant communities and their preservation, maintenance, and continued progression and growth must be guaranteed, enhanced, and encouraged. We must learn from past experiences and realise where the region’s true potentials are actually located, and thus eliminate the prospect of hierarchies being established. Cartels have yet to prove themselves beneficial to the ordinary citizen. We must as a Regional Authority represent all our citizens and therefore resist everything that can point to forced urbanisation in any form.

Within our region we must acknowledge the input of our “Local Area Plan’s” in their current form, and any interference with same should be resisted. These are a useful means of having regular analysis of the condition of our region, and one who’s brief should be enhanced and not obliterated from existence.

This authority must be conscious of the fact, and it is the belief of many, that some undemocratic centralised control elements are being introduced to the planning area by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government along with the Minister, and as it is proposed that all future “County Development Plans” will have to adhere to “Regional Planning Guidelines” rather than have regard to, as a member of the authority in view of the above, I ask myself the following:

(a) At this time can I adjudicate confidentially on the information provided to me !

(b) Am I confident that I will be exonerated from complicity in adapting what will most likely be proven to be a flawed document to the determent of the region !

(c) Considering the above mentioned – “NO”

End : Cllr Dermot Sheehan Posted 16th May 2010






Dermot Sheehan| Goleen | West Cork
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