It is not often that one sees ‘people power’ achieving almost instant success but that’s what happened in the case of Oxigen’s application to establish a waste transfer facility on the North Wharf. There was a public outcry led by Ferrybank-based Councillor Davy Walsh and the company was left in no doubt as to the strength of public opinion and opposition.

So, congratulations to all those who stood up and voiced their opinions but congratulations also to the Oxigen management who were reasonable, fair and gracious in the way they dealt with the situation. They didn’t wade in with a mixture of bluster and blather as some lesser companies would have done. They weighed up the situation and immediately recognised and bowed to public opinion and withdrew their planning application.

Oxigen’s enlightened attitude should be an example to all and, if that is an indication of the way they go about their business, then I’m not surprised that they are a successful, progressive company.

City and County

Councils likely to be merged

Last year, a Local Government Committee set up by the then Fianna Fail/Green Party Coalition recommended that a number of city and county councils should merge, including Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council. There was fierce opposition at the time but the matter was placed on the back-burner in the face of the nation’s financial crisis.

However, if the way the wind is blowing in Limerick is anything to go by, we could now be experiencing the last, separate city and county authorities. Apparently, Environment Minisster Phil Hogan was all set to recommend to the cabinet last week that Limerick City and Limerick County Council be merged into one body with savings of about €20m. At present there are 43 councillors on both bodies but Minister Hogan believes they can get rid of about 12 to 15 of those.

As things turned out, the matter was deferred and not put to cabinet because Limerick-based Minister, Michael Noonan, was in the United States on business.

If Minister Hogan intends to merge the two main Limerick local authorities then he will almost certainly do the same in Waterford and elsewhere. Any new, merged authority cannot be set up until 2014 when the lives of the current councils expire. But, in the meantime, Implementation Committees are likely to be set up to commence the process of merging the different bodies. Expect much weeping and gnashing of teeth!

The bitter-sweet sound of street buskers

Members of the public have always had different attitudes to buskers and street entertainers. Some people love them, others are indifferent but, to some, they are the devil incarnate sent to drive them to distraction. Last week, Galway City Council adopted new bylaws that will make it an offence for buskers and street performers to make noise after 10pm in winter and after 11pm during the summer months.

But not everybody is happy. Many people feel that the Council has not gone far enough and have asked that new bylaws be introduced to deal with daytime situations. A number of Councillors expressed concern that musicians were using amplification during the day which caused a huge nuisance to office and shop workers. One politician said he was in Galway city on a recent Saturday and the noise from the amplification was so annoying it made him go home early. Office and shop workers complain bitterly that they are being driven mad by buskers who seem to have only one tune!

The Council’s Director of Services, Kevin Swift, said the local authority had examined byelaws in other cities and decided that the simplest thing was to prohibit performances between certain periods. He acknowledged that submissions received while the new regulations were being drafted did show that there was a huge concern about amplification.

A true-blue, rock’n’roll bride

There was a big wedding in the Tower Hotel last week involving a very interesting out of town couple. The bride was a famous ‘rock chick’ who had already been married three times and the groom was a millionaire undertaker and taxi company owner.

Music was provided by Dylan and Amanda Bible, Dick and Dave and Brass and Co and the rich and famous enjoyed themselves enormously as they celebrated into the small hours.

In her speech, after the meal, the bride acknowledged that she had been married three times previously. “My first husband was a millionaire, my second was a circus ringmaster, my third was a clergyman and now my new, and hopefully my last, husband is an undertaker,” she confided to her guests. “You certainly picked an odd bunch,” heckled somebody from the back of the room to gales of laughter.

“Ahha,” cried the bride, “you forget that I live by the creed of rock’n’roll so my choice of husbands was actually very predictable. One for the money, two for

the show, three to get ready and four to go!”