Expressing deep disappointment at the failure to reinstate on-site pre-planning meetings for councillors, mid-Waterford Fine Gael representative Liam Brazil said: “I am not happy to sit here and pass budgets and there is not much point in being here if I cannot get the co-operation of the County Manager and the Directors of Services.”
Having submitted a motion calling for the re-instatement of pre-planning meetings only to see it rejected by the officials, he felt it was very unfair when people are utterly frustrated trying to get planning permission for houses. He was there to represent the people, no-one else, he stressed.
“This issue is now going before a SPC meeting but I think it should be considered by the full Council in January so that we can get the New Year off to a good start,” he argued.
Meetings Administrator Martin Walsh said the Mayor, Cllr Nora Flynn, ruled that the matter should go the SPC. The Mayor, a party colleague of Cllr Brazil’s, said if a member was not happy the door to the County Manager’s office was always open to discuss any problems at any time.
Under standing orders, she said she could not accept the motion proposed by Cllr Brazil because it referring to operational staffing policy.
Liam Brazil said he believed the Council had taken a backward step because a dividing line had been drawn between the officials and the members.
Director of Services Brian White advised that protocols had been put in place some months previously with a view to streamlining efficiencies and avoiding duplication of visits in the light of limited resources. He confirmed that site visits would take place following submission of an application if deemed necessary.
County Manager Ray O’Dwyer said he would contact the SPC chairman to see if a meeting could be held prior to the January Council meeting.