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Clare’s current grass cutting policy for houses in estates owned by the Council is to be continued for the foreseeable future with a senior engineer observing that community groups tend to be “much more attentive” when taking on a role than paid employees.

O’Callaghans Mills Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) asked Clare County Council to outline their grass cutting policy for houses in estates that fall under the Council’s control at the October meeting of the local authority.

“Most of the public open spaces in the county are maintained by entities such as Community Groups, Tidy Towns Committees, Social Employment Schemes,” senior engineer John Leahy stated. He said that “nearly all of the grass cutting” done by the Council is “maintained for historical reasons”.

Policy changes in the 1990s led to the open spaces of housing estates being the responsibility of the communities “which benefit from them”. Leahy believed such a move develops community spirit, “a much more attentive” role than the local authority is done and the Council saves money.

In large urban areas such as the Ennis and Shannon Municipal Districts, the majority of grass cutting and green maintenance “is carried out by contract”. Leahy concluded, “Given that the current approach is working well and given the benefits of such an approach, I would recommend that we continue with the current arrangement especially when roads own resource funding is still limited and has not recovered to 2008 funding levels”.

Cllr Cooney was satisfied with the reply. “I would like to compliment committee groups, tidy towns and community enterprise schemes who doing great works around the county. Hopefully the support will continue into the future”. His motion was seconded by Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF).

Although the policy is to be retained, current contractors are to be reviewed with plenty of criticism aired regarding the standards in Shannon. Speaking at a September meeting of the Shannon Municipal District, Shannon Tidy Towns Treasurer, Noel Mulderrig remarked, “From next year we want the contractor to show a commitment and there will be a proper frequency of grass cutting. We consider ours to be a second rate shoddy service”.

At the previous meeting of the Shannon MD, Director of Service Liam Conneally stated, “Where contracts are not being carried out to the satisfaction of the local authority, we should really consider invoices where they are sent in for payment, they will only be considered when the work is done to the standard of the Council”. His comments came in response to a motion from Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) who sought details on reasons “behind the lack of quality maintenance on the green infrastructure in Shannon”.

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