No movement on works at Oldcourt
MEMBERS of Bray Muncipal District have agreed to write to the Minister for the Environment with regard to works at the Oldcourt estate.
Cllr Michael O’Connor said that there are eight houses boarded up there despite a homelss emergency, ‘and people living in substandard and unsafe accommodation.
‘ There doesn’t appear to be any movement on Oldcourt and it needs to be resolved. I propose that we write to the minister asking why it is taking so long and ask to have this addressed as a matter of urgency.’ Cllr Joe Behan seconded the proposal and said he fully agrees with Cllr O’Connor. ‘I have been raising this with Wicklow County Council,’ said Cllr Behan.
Cllr Steven Matthews said that the members need to keep the pressure on the department with regard to Oldcourt.
Members have previously been told that officials have furnished the department with reports regarding the works.
Cllr Matthews asked Cllr O’Connor to provide the wording for the letter. CLLR STEVEN MATTHEWS was named cathaoirleach at last week’s annual general meeting of Bray Municipal District.
Outgoing Cathaoirleach Brendan Thornhill nominated Cllr Matthews, with Cllr Oliver O’Brien seconding the proposal.
‘ This is a great honour and privilege,’ said Cllr Matthews. ‘ Thank you to the members of your support and giving me this opportunity. I will be fair and straight with everyone throughout the year.’
He thanked Cllr Thornhill for steering the members through the past year. ‘It’s no easy task in your second year after being elected. You handled it very well and I hope you enjoyed it.’
He paid particular tribute to his partner Erika and their children. ‘You can’t do this job without your family. They suffer for the amount of time you are not present with daddy “spending time on boring council stuff ”. The next 12 months might be slightly busier.’
Cllr Matthews was on the previous body, Bray Town Council, for a period of 18 months. Since that time town councils were disposed of. ‘ This made me aware of the massive difference be- tween the Municipal District and Town Council. The abolition of the Town Council was bad for the town, bad for the public representatives, has had a negative impact on the staff and how we can represent the people. We have lost authority, resources and autonomy.
My objective this year as Cathoirleach will be to pull us together as a district, and wrestle back authority from Wicklow. We have the biggest district, the biggest population. We generate the most income from property tax, housing, and parking. We need to see some of our authority come back so that we as councillors can do our job properly. I think we can do it. The ‘ big ticket items’ for Cllr Matthews include housing, the Florentine centre and the town development plan as well as applying for a Blue Flag.
‘Housing is a critical issue. We have a crisis not just in Bray or Wicklow but nationally. We need to keep pressure on the Department to provide funding for housing. We can do that collectively as a council. Murphy’s land should be ready in about 18 months. The Director of Housing has been looking at sites and I think we will see movement. We need a lot more than we have.’
Cllr Brendan Thornhill hands the chains of office to Cllr Steven Matthews.