'We have to do it for the children': Minister pledges to work to resolve issues at Cork halting site

'We have to do it for the children': Minister pledges to work to resolve issues at Cork halting site

Peter Burke ,Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning speaking to reporters at Elbow Lane Restaurant on Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

PETER Burke, the junior minister with responsibility for local government and planning, has committed to working with stakeholders to resolve issues at Spring Lane halting site, for the good of the children living there.

Mr Burke visited the halting site on the northside of the city yesterday and said that there were “huge issues” there, but that there was great engagement with members of the community living there and work would be done to resolve the issues.

“It’s about time we absolutely resolve this issue because I know, as a father of two young children, no one wants to see anyone and children living in those types of horrific conditions,” he said.

“One thing I would say is we have to do it for the children, to resolve this, and I am fully committed to working with the council and working with the co-operation of the community on Spring Lane.”

Prior to yesterday’s visit, Mr Burke had met with the executive and key members of Cork City Council to discuss issues raised in relation to the site.

Resumption of indoor dining 

While in Cork, Mr Burke met Lord Mayor of Cork Colm Kelleher for lunch at Market Lane on Oliver Plunkett St.

Asked about the plans for the resumption of indoor dining, he said that he was confident a solution would be found shortly.

“One thing we know is you can’t predict the path of Covid-19,” said Mr Burke.

“The common enemy is the virus and the Government has been very agile in responding to changes in the path of the virus.

“We are meeting with key stakeholders from our hospitality sector.

“We have supported them with huge interventions, unprecedented in the history of the State, and we are working with them to get a viable solution for [July] 19th that is workable,” he added.

Mr Burke said that, while these are difficult times, he felt confident about finding a solid solution.

“There has been huge community buy-in throughout Covid-19. There are a lot of people who have taken on their own public responsibility. I’m happy and I’m confident we will get a solid solution in advance of the 19th that people can implement because I know it is so important.

“Every single day in July and August is critical for the hospitality sector and we need to ensure they have their doors open and they can trade properly over that period.”

Boundary extension 

During the visit, Mr Burke also met members of the implementation oversight group for Cork boundary alterations, including John O’Connor, who led the review in terms of the boundary extension implementation plan.

“I wanted to talk to him about a few teething problems that have arisen post that,” said Mr Burke.

“There are issues that Oireachtas members have been raising with me from planning enforcement, that were originally Cork county now in the city jurisdiction, so we discussed a number of issues around that.

“Hopefully, we will get a positive outcome to ensure that a lot of these cases are dealt with promptly.”

The minister of state said that it was important that lessons were learned from the boundary extension for other local authorities as well as for the good of Cork.

During the visit to Cork, Mr Burke also visited the site of a new rightsizing housing scheme under construction on the Blackrock Rd as well as the rightsizing project at Arus Mhuire in Blackrock.

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