Offaly County Councillors are briefed by Video Conference - 8th April 2020
Speaking after a meeting of the Corporate Policy Group and a briefing for all Council members hosted remotely from Áras an Chontae on Wednesday, Cllr. Peter Ormond, Cathaoirleach, said that the essential services of the Council are still available even with the current restrictions in place. He thanked the management and staff of Offaly County Council for keeping these services going and said that ‘Councillors are also available, as always, to answer queries and source assistance. We are available by phone and email and can source assistance for those who need it at this time.’
The Chief Executive, Ms. Anna Marie Delaney, advised members that ‘Business Continuity Plans are in place, essential services are continuing and a call centre is in place to take calls on the Community Helpline 1800818181. This is a confidential service manned by OCC staff and I would encourage any members of the community to contact us should they need to do so. Appropriate assistance will be made available to them through the network of the Community Response Forum’.
The Management Team of Offaly County Council updated the elected members on issues arising from the on-going crisis. Some services have been restricted to emergency response only in the interests of health and safety and in compliance with national restrictions. New technologies and new systems have been used to continue with essential services and to host meetings remotely. Municipal District meetings will be hosted remotely by the Municipal Districts of Birr, Tullamore and Edenderry. An update was given on the Community Call Helpline and meetings of the inter-agency Community Response Forum. Members discussed the impact the emergency may have on its rates income and work programme for this year. Other issues discussed at the meeting included restrictions to the planning process and extended timeframes for planning decisions, and illegal dumping and capacity issues at bottle banks. Members also raised queries on Housing, the roadworks programme and essential maintenance works.
Cllr. Ormond stated that the next monthly Council meeting will be held on 20th April, as scheduled, and will be held remotely to comply with social distancing requirements. At the April meeting Local Enterprise Office will give an update on supports provided to businesses through the crisis as well as plans for recovery as well as arrangements being made by the EU START Programme to consult with communities around Offaly in May on EU supports for a Just Transition.