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15 May 2017

Cllr McCarthy: Criticism over burning the EU Flag

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   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy and member of Cork City Council has criticized the burning of the EU flag outside Cork City Hall by recently elected County Cork Councillor Diarmuid O’Cadla. Cllr McCarthy, who is a member of the European Committee of the Regions in response to Cllr O’Cadla’s actions, noted; “it is very strange that the Councillor continues to pick on Cork City Council despite having a mandate on a much larger Council, where he can put down a motion calling for an Ireland exit and have a proper debate and vote on it; There are more democratic ways of voicing concern on the work of the EU than staining the ground with a burnt flag outside Cork City Hall”.

   “Ireland has benefitted from membership in so many ways – from receiving vast EU structural funds to having a voice on the future of large scale regions like the Atlantic and the associated Atlantic Maritime Action Plan. The annual Europe Day allows citizens to reflect on the four freedoms of the EU and its range of positive work, which needs to be communicated more effectively. Recently I presented Cork’s story of the Erasmus Plus programme in UCC and CIT to Committee of the Regions colleagues – Erasmus allows for the exchange of thousands of students between colleges per annum across the continent. I also certainly value the opportunity to be able to travel, live and work across 28 member states (Britain still included). There are many many Irish companies who travel back and forth across the continent with successful businesses under their belt”.

  Cllr McCarthy continued; “the EU is not the silver bullet to solving all problems within member states; that’s not its job; it was born after a crisis, has fought crises and remains to fight crises – it has brought peace to the continent and it has brought together member states to work together”.

 “Cork has also benefitted so much from European Structural Funds. All of our dual carriageways and motorways were part funded by EU money as well the regeneration of our streets and even the insulation of attic spaces in our social housing units are paid for by EU taxpayer’s money. To jeopardise our trade links, access to the four freedoms, research grants such as Horizon 2020, Erasmus Plus programme and future partnerships with EU members is one that shouldn’t be made likely. Burning the EU flag is like burning up the four freedoms and would reduce Ireland to isolationalism, which in a globalized world is not useful to any Irish citizen”.

11 May 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 11 May 2017

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894a. Painting by Burnell Poole, 1925. Depicting three U.S. Navy destroyers fighting heavy seas while on World War I escort service, off Queenstown, Ireland

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 11 May 2017
The Wheels of 1917: The Queenstown Patrol


   Sir Lewis Bayley of the British Navy gave Commander Joseph Taussig’s four days to mobilise the six American destroyers, which arrived into Queenstown on 4 May 1917 (see last week’s column). In the ensuing days of preparation work and strategy creation, stories were shared of the engagement between the British flotilla leaders Swift and Broke on one side and six German destroyers on the other side, as well as German submarines.

    According to Taussig’s diary entries, by 7 May 1917, a naval strategy had been worked out – some of the core points of which are below. The destroyers, British and American, were to work in seven pairs for the short term. Taussig’s fleet were to replace the larger British naval destroyers, which in time were to be sent back to the British base at Plymouth in the English Channel. The destroyers were to be made to work six days at sea. Ships chasing a submarine on the sixth day with two thirds of their fuel gone were to stop chasing their folly and come home. Shelter was to be taken in bad weather. When ship-wrecked crews were picked up, they had to be brought directly into the harbour. As German submarines were returning to torpedoed and floating steamers to get metal out of them, destroyers were encouraged to wait and approach them with the sun at their back. If they met what appeared to be a valuable ship in dangerous waters they were to escort her. If an SOS call was received, and they thought they could be in time to help, they were to go and assist the ship; but as a rule, they were not to go over 50 miles from their area.

   Destroyers were to be careful not to ram boats to sink them as cases had occurred whereby they had been left with bombs in them ready to explode when struck. Senior officers of destroyers were to give the necessary orders with regard to what speed to cruise at, orders for zig-zagging; they knew the capabilities of their ships best. When escorting, it had been found best as a rule to cross from bow to bow, the best distance away being about 1,000 yards; however, this depended on a myriad of factors, which included sea conditions and visibility. Reports of proceedings were not required on arrival in harbour unless for some special reason such as signalling for preparing for attacking submarines and rescuing survivors.

   Much confidence was placed in the strategic mind of Commander Taussig. Like his father before him, Joseph was noted as well-known figure with exceptional ability as a naval officer. Joseph Knefler Taussig was born of American parentage in 1877 in Dresden, Germany, where his father, who also became a rear admiral in the Navy, was stationed. His father was Edward David Taussig, a native of St Louis, Missouri, and his mother, Ellen Knefler Taussig, was a native of Louisville, Kentucky. Joseph’s father graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1867 and retired in 1909, ten years after his son completed his work at the Academy. Joseph graduated from high school in Washington, DC, in 1895 and was appointed to the Naval Academy that same year. At Annapolis, young Taussig was known primarily as an all-around athlete: he won first-place medals in the high jump, broad jump, and 200-yard hurdles; he was a member of the crew, varsity football team, and runner-up for the wrestling team.

   In 1900, whilst a midshipman, a member of the naval forces, Joseph was sent to China with other members to squash a violent anti-foreign and anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901. Near Tientsin, Joseph was wounded and sent to a hospital to recover with an English Captain John Jellicoe who was Chief-of-Staff to Admiral Seymour, who was in charge of the British forces. It was a legend of sorts that grew up around Joseph and that diplomatic relations were something not new to him. In addition, a letter from Admiral Jellico was handed to Joseph in Queenstown in May 1917 welcoming him and the American Navy to the battle zone.

   In a public speaking engagement at Carnegie Hall, New York on 30 January 1918, Joseph Taussig recalls that in the three weeks before his arrival to Queenstown, German submarines had sunk 152 British ships in the nearby Atlantic area. Hence, he had depth bombs installed so as to fight off the submarines. He noted in his speech; “we escorted many ships and we saved many lives. I cannot say we sunk any submarines. The submarine I found was a very difficult bird to catch. He always sees you first. Only once did my vessel, in seven months, succeed in actually firing at a submarine. He then went down after the fifth shot was fired. At that he was five miles away. But they were afraid of the depth bombs. I saw results on several occasions, which led me to believe that I had at least damaged one of two”.

   Joseph Taussig found the patrol duty very difficult as the ocean was strewn with wreckage for a distance of 200 miles off shore. Judgement was important; “it was hard to tell a telescope when we saw one. We fired at fish, floating spars and other objects because we could afford to take a chance. The submarines grew less active or did less damage as the summer [of 1917] wore on”.


894a. Painting by Burnell Poole, 1925. Depicting three U.S. Navy destroyers fighting heavy seas while on World War I escort service, off Queenstown, Ireland (source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington).

894b. Commander Joseph K Taussig in the 1920s (source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington).


894b. Commander Joseph K Taussig in the 1920s

10 May 2017

Cllr McCarthy: New Plan needed for Blackrock/ Mahon Library

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   Cllr Kieran McCarthy has expressed concern that the plan for the Blackrock/ Mahon Library is now to be shelved in the short term. In a question to the Chief Executive of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty, at the last Cork City Council meeting, it was revealed that due to continued concerns and risks surrounding anti-social behavior and vandalism at the former Abode Centre site, Mahon the building has now been demolished and the property fully cleared and properly secured from unauthorised entry. It is now proposed to sell the property on the open market with a specific requirement to develop the property within a specified timeframe. The relevant disposal will be put before Council in due course. Plans were advanced for the development of a branch library on the site, however capital funding to enable that project to proceed to construction was not available. Alternative options for the provision of a branch library can be explored with the Department of Local Government in the context of any future capital funding programme.

            Cllr McCarthy noted; “It is worrying that the City Council has not laid down an alternative plan for the development of the Blackrock / Mahon library; it is now dependent on government funding for the library – whereby earlier in this year, the Council were unsuccessful in its bid for said funding . The Blackrock/ Mahon library project now seems to be in limbo. Great architectural plans had been created for the Abode building but now a new site is to be sought; it feels like the quest for the library has gone backward. The area has fantastic recreational amenities around the area but does need due to population interest a library to support reading and educational initiatives in schools and in the community plus also it can become an important cultural hub in this corner of the city. A new plan by the City Council to deliver the library in the short term is needed”.

8 May 2017

Kieran’s Question to the CE & Motions, Cork City Council Meeting 8 May 2017

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Question to CE:

To ask the CE for the future plans for the now demolished Abode site in Mahon? and the ongoing plan for the Blackrock/ Mahon library? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)


That the Council pursue the resurfacing of Douglas Pool car park and hill as a matter of priority (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

To get an update from TEAM on the development of the Little Museum of Cork concept (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

4 May 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 4 May 2017

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893a. Bernard F. Gribble's Painting, The Return of The Mayflower; Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D Roosevelt commissioned the painting in 1919.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 4 May 2017

The Wheels of 1917: The American Navy Arrives in Queenstown

   The morning of 4 May 1917, one hundred years ago today, coincided with an important event in the history of Queenstown, now Cobh. The news was not printed in British or American papers, yet in some mysterious way it reached nearly everybody in the town. A squadron of American destroyers, which had left Boston on the evening of 24 April had already been reported to the westward of Ireland and was due to reach Queenstown that morning. At almost the appointed hour, six warships came into view under the command of senior officer Commander Joseph K Taussig,. The American flag of the Stars and Stripes was decked on public buildings, on private houses and on nearly all the water craft of the harbour. This was the first contingent of the American Navy to arrive in Irish waters.

  Media sources for this significant event offer an insight into the faithful day of 4 May – not at that time due to secrecy – but certainly in the ensuing year 1918 as the American Navy relayed agreed positive narratives in East Coast North American newspapers and in speaking engagements at sites such as Carnegie Hall in New York. With the modern digital age, more and more of American newspapers have also been digitised and these offer the researcher wider lenses to study Cork’s role in a World War. In addition, the personal papers of Commander Joseph K Taussig are contained in the Naval Historical Collection Division of Washington DC. Published is the diary that Taussig kept during his time in command of the first US destroyers to arrive in the Atlantic war zone in 1917.

   Taussig’s flagship was the Wadsworth. The other vessels of the division and their commanding officers were the Conyhgham (Commander Alfred W Johnson), Porter (Lieutenant Commander Ward K Wortman), McDougal (Lieutenant-Commander Arthur P Fairfield), Davis (Lieutenant Commander Rufus Zogbaum), and the Wainwright (Lieutenant Commander Fred H Poteel). At the outbreak of the hostilities these vessels comprised the US’s Eighth Destroyer Division and were stationed at base no 2 in the York River in Virginia, USA. At 7pm on 6 April 1917, the day that the US Congress declared war on Germany, Commander Taussig received a signal from the Pennsylvania, the flag-ship of the Atlantic fleet – “mobilise for war in accordance with department’s confidential mobilisation plan of March 21”. By 14 April 1917, Commander Taussig received a message to take his flotilla to Boston and there fit out for “long and distant service”. Ten days later he sailed with instructions to go 50 miles west due east of Cape Cod and there open his sealed orders.

  At the indicated spot, Commander Taussig broke the seal and read the subject “Protection of Commerce near the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland”. The instruction signed by Josephus Daniels read, “Proceed to Queenstown, Ireland. Report too senior British officer present and thereafter co-operate fully with the British navy. Should it be decided that your force act in co-operation with the French naval forces your mission and method of co-operation under French admiralty authority remain unchanged…when within radio communication of the British naval force off Ireland, call G CK and inform the Vice-Admiral at Queenstown in British general code of your position, course and speed. You will be met outside of Queenstown. Base facilities will be provided by the British admiralty. Communicate your orders and operations to Rear Admiral Sims at London and be guided by such instructions as he may give. Make no reports of arrival to navy department direct”.

    It took ten days to make the trip across the Atlantic due to a south-east gale, which accompanied the ships for seven of the ten days. So rough was the sea that Taussig recalls in his memoirs that they could not set their mess tables and ate off their laps. On the ninth day off the south coast of Ireland, the fleet were met by a small British destroyer, the Mary Rose, who came along side flying a flag with “welcome to the American colours” on it. The small ship led the fleet past Daunt Rock lightship off Robert’s Cove where a tug boat was waiting on which was an official photographer sent from London, who took moving pictures of the division as they passed. They stopped just outside Roche’s Point, and a British naval officer came on board each destroyer to pilot them to their berths. Despite the secrecy, the news that the destroyers had reached Queenstown appeared in the German newspapers several days before. For the first time in many months, a German submarine laid a mine field of twelve mines directly off the entrance to Cork Harbour. British mine sweepers swept them up.

   The fleet berthed safely at the naval pier where the American Consul, Mr Wesley Frost, met them. There were several automobiles in waiting and they were whisked to the Consulate’s office. There Lord Mayor Thomas C Butterfield made a speech of welcome, where he laid stress on the close relations between the Irish and the American race. He was followed by the Resident Magistrate, Walter Callan. All the time proceedings were filmed by the London photographer. The American guests then proceeded to Admiralty House and reported to British Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly to receive their orders.

To be continued…


893a. Bernard F. Gribble’s Painting, The Return of The Mayflower; Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D Roosevelt commissioned the painting in 1919. In 1933, when Roosevelt became President of the United States, the painting hung in the oval office (source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington).

893b. Mr Wesley Frost, American consul, and British Naval officers greeting Commander Taussig and the other officers of the destroyer flotilla upon their arrival in Queenstown, May 4, 1917 (source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington).

893b. Mr Wesley Frost, American consul, and British Naval officers greeting Commander Taussig and the other officers of the destroyer flotilla upon their arrival in Queenstown, May 4, 1917.

27 Apr 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 27 April 2017

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892a. Sketch of Cork Exchange, c.1750

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 27 April 2017
Kieran’s May Historical Walking Tours

  Early summer is coming and the weather is improving. So below are details of the next set of my public walking tours for the first week of May,

Tuesday 2 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran of Eighteenth Century Cork, from the walled town to an eighteenth-century Venice of the North; meet outside Cork City Library, Grand Parade, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes on St Patrick’s Street)

   For nearly five hundred years (c.1200-c.1690), the walled port town of Cork, built in a swamp and at the lowest crossing point of the River Lee and the tidal area, remained as one of the most fortified and vibrant walled settlements in the expanding British colonial empire. However, economic growth as well as political events in late seventeenth century Ireland, culminating in the Williamite Siege of Cork in 1690, provided the catalyst for large-scale change within the urban area. The walls were allowed to decay and this was to inadvertently alter much of the city’s physical, social and economic character in the ensuing century.

   One of the most elegant additions to eighteenth century Cork was the Exchange or Tholsel, which was built on the site of Roches Castle (now the site of the Catholic Young Men’s Society hall on Castle Street). It was an important building of two stories. On its opening in 1710 the Council ordered the upper floor room be established as a Council Chamber with liberty for the Grand Jury of magistrates and landlords to sit. The lower part was used for commercial purposes. where a pedestal known as “the nail”, was used for making payments (still in existence in Cork City Museum). In later times the room was used for public sales. A figure of a dragon made of copper and gilt surmounted the cupola of the building as a weather vane. The Exchange declined as a market in time – through the erection of a Corn Market on the Potato Quay (popularly known as the Coal Quay) and improved facilities for the transaction of business offered to merchants.

Wednesday 3 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran on the Walk of the Friars, from Red Abbey through to Greenmount; meet at Red Abbey Square, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes near Deerpark)

   The central bell tower of the church of Red Abbey is a relic of the Anglo-Norman colonisation and is one of the last remaining visible structures, which dates to the era of the walled town of Cork. Invited to Cork by the Anglo-Normans, the Augustinians established an abbey in Cork, sometime between 1270 AD and 1288 AD. It is known that in the early years of its establishment, the Augustinian friary became known as Red Abbey due to the material, sandstone, which was used in the building of the friary. It was dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity but had several names, which appear on several maps and depictions of the walled town of Cork and its environs. For example, in a map of Cork in 1545, it was known as St Austins while in 1610, Red abbey was marked as St. Augustine’s.

   In the mid eighteenth century, part of the buildings of Red Abbey were used as part of a sugar refinery. This refinery was burnt down accidentally in December 1799. Since then, the friary buildings with the exception of the tower have been taken piecemeal. The tower is maintained by Cork City Council who were donated the structure by the contemporary owners in 1951 and also own other portions of the abbey site. Today, the tower of Red Abbey approximately thirty metres high is one of Cork’s most important protected historic structures. The remaining tower cannot be climbed but medieval architecture can still be on the lower arch of the structures and in the upper windows. The adjacent street names of Red Abbey Street, Friar’s Street and Friar’s Walk also echoes the days of a large medieval abbey in the area.

Thursday, 4 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran of Blackrock Village, from Blackrock Castle to Nineteenth Century Houses and Fishing; meet outside Blackrock Castle, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes at railway line walk)

   The earliest and official evidence for settlement in Blackrock dates to c.1564 when the Galway family created what was to become known as Dundanion Castle. Over 20 years later, Blackrock Castle was built circa 1582 by the citizens of Cork with artillery to resist pirates and other invaders. In the early 1700s, the prominent Tuckey family, of which Tuckey Street in the city centre is named, became part of the new social elite in Cork after the Williamite wars and built part of what became known in time at the Ursuline Convent. The building of the Navigation Wall or Dock in the 1760s turned focus to reclamation projects in the area and the eventual creation of public amenity land such as the Marina Walk during the time of the Great Famine. Soon Blackrock was to have its own bathing houses, schools, hurling club, suburban railway line, and Protestant and Catholic Church. The pier that was developed at the heart of the space led to a number of other developments such as fisherman cottages and a fishing industry. This community is reflected in the 1911 census with 64 fishermen listed in Blackrock.


882a. Sketch of Cork Exchange, c.1750 (now the site of YMCA hall, Castle Street, one of the city’s primary market sites, subject of eighteenth century Cork tour (source: Cork City Library)

882b. Map of north east marsh, Paul Street & St Paul’s Church, 1726 by John Carty (source: Cork City Library)

26 Apr 2017

First Call: McCarthy’s ‘Make a Model Boat Project’ 2017

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    Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the eighth year of McCarthy’s ‘Make a Model Boat Project’. All interested must make a model boat at home from recycled materials and bring it along for judging and floating at Cork’s Lough on Wednesday 24 May 2017, 6.30pm. The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘Cork Harbour Boats from 100 years ago inspired by the 1917 Naval commemorations’, which is open to interpretation. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. There are primary and secondary school categories. Cllr McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted “I am encouraging creation, innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits for all of us to develop; places like the Lough are an important part of Cork’s natural and amenity heritage and in the past have seen model boat making and sailing. For further information and to take part, please sign up at www.corkharbourfestival.com. Registration is to open very shortly.

25 Apr 2017

Cllr McCarthy: May Historical Walking Tours

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Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy will give three historical walking tours in early May across the southside of the City.

Tuesday 2 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran of Eighteenth Century Cork, from the walled town to an eighteenth-century Venice of the North; meet outside Cork City Library, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes on St Patrick’s Street)

Wednesday 3 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran on the Walk of the Friars, from Red Abbey through to Greenmount; meet at Red Abbey Square, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes near Deerpark)

Thursday, 4 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran of Blackrock Village, from Blackrock Castle to Nineteenth Century Houses and Fishing; meet outside Blackrock Castle, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes at railway line walk)

Commenting Cllr McCarthy noted;
“It is said that the best way to get to know a city is to walk it – in Cork you can get lost in narrow streets, marvel at old cobbled lane ways, photograph old street corners, look up beyond the modern shopfronts, gaze at clues from the past, be enthused and at the same time disgusted by a view, smile at interested locals, engage in the forgotten and the remembered, search and connect for something of oneself, thirst in the sense of story-telling – in essence feel the DNA of the place”.

“Cork has a soul, which is packed full of ambition and heart. Cork is a city packed with historic gems all waiting to be discovered at every street corner. These three walks provide insights into the development of just three of the city’s historical suburbs”.

25 Apr 2017

McCarthy: Skehard Road Re-alignment: Engagement with Residents Critical to Success

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   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for continued engagement with local residents along Skehard Road as the various phases of road’s re-alignment are evolving. Parts 2, 3 and four are in various stages of development – some are part designed and awaiting funding. As part of phase 3, the Roads Directorate of Cork City Council plan to develop detailed traffic models at Mahon CSO junction. This will involve traffic counts, assessment of turning patterns, queue lengths, traffic demand etc. Cllr McCarthy noted; “the modelling will form part of a Council proposal to the National Transport Authority whereby it forms part of phase 3 of the large Skehard Road’s realignment and traffic management scheme”.

   Phase 3 involves Skehard Road to be widened from and including the Church Road junction up to and including the CSO/ Mahon Link Road junction. An outbound bus will be introduced on Skehard Road between the Church Road junction and the CSO/ Mahon junction. An inbound cycle lane will be introduced on Skehard Road. All entrances to housing estates will be realigned and radii tightened to slow entry and exit traffic thereby making the area safer for pedestrian. Pedestrian friendly table top ramps will be introduced on the entrances to all side roads. The Bessboro Road junction and the CSO junction will be upgraded and realigned to improve its operation for the benefit of all road users. All traffic signals will be upgraded and real time passenger information displays installed. All bus stops will be upgraded and real time passenger information displays installed. Footpaths will be re-aligned repaved and widened where necessary. Additional public lighting will be installed where necessary. Soft and hard landscaping will be provided. Water mains and other utility will be provided.

   Cllr McCarthy noted; “The widening of the road of phase 3 involves taking some land from residents along the phase 3 section. I welcome the fact that the Council has already been in contact with affected residents regarding compensation. Submissions by members of the public have also been received and points added in to the evolving project layout”.

  Continuing Cllr McCarthy, “ultimately the completion of phases 2, 3 and 4 are dependent on funding being forthcoming from the National Transport Authority under the Regional Cities Accessibility Programme”.

24 Apr 2017

Kieran’s Question to the CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 24 April 2017

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Question to the CE:

To ask the CE for an update on the re-surfacing of Douglas Pool carpark and hill? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)


That the Council review the parking situation and road layout outside the shopping parade near the Silver Key bar. At present there is very little parking for the five businesses trading here. There can be a lot of congestion and illegal parking around busy times and this affects business and causes problems for local residents who are left with no option but to call the Gardai. A strip of cycle lane on the main road was formerly much used and greatly appreciated parking (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

That the Council resurface the stretch of road outside Galvin’s Off-Licence on Douglas Road. It has been in a deteriorating state for many years now (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)