One of my motions in September’s MD meeting was;
‘Given the significant delays from the director of service in replying to requests by some constituents who wish to know who to contact regarding the use of Newbridge Town Hall juxtaposed with the apparent speedy (and differing) responses to others, that the council explain:
A) the Protocol for the application and use of the Town Hall?
– Who does an applicant apply to in the first instance?
– Is there an application form to be filled in?
– What criteria are used to decide whether the applicant is successful?
– Who decides if the applicant is successful?
– What is the mechanism for decision making?
– What is the Councils function vs. the management team in relation to applications for use of the town hall?
– Are the management team aware of, and using, the same code of conduct as applies to Councillors/Officials regarding potential conflicts of interest?
B) As per the best practice model used by the council in the setting up of committees, that the council clarify the formation criteria for the setting up of the management board of the Town Hall, their role, short-term/long-term goals and the accountability structure and any other information that may be relevant in explaining any policy change since the months of lobbying by this and many other Councillors for the Town Hall to be opened as a multipurpose
community facility with youth at its core.
Here is the report issued by: Peter Minnock, Director of Services, Planning, Community & Culture. In relation to protocols, applications for use and associated issues, these queries will in large measure be addressed in the context of the operation and management of the town hall into the future and a service level agreement currently being negotiated. The events that have taken place in the Hall to date have served to assist the Board of Management, Officials of Kildare County Council and the public in general to understand the issues that are relevant relating to use of the Hall, and to assist in the development of processes and policies for regulation of future access, and appropriate charge rates. The Board of Management in consideration of the fact that the Town Hall is only recently restored, and given the unique nature of the building, appropriate uses are still emerging. It is anticipated that the formation of an overall strategic plan will be in place by Q4, 2016. The
Board, is currently working towards this objective with council and in consultation with community interests. The Board is fully aware of the strategic policy objective of the council that the refurbished hall be used for community activities, be established as an attractive community destination and a community event centre for the town and wider municipal district. With regard to reference to conflicts of interest and Codes Of Conduct, The Board of Management is chaired by Mr Niall Bradley, retired County Manager who is bringing all his experience in such matters to guide the Board who as a voluntary group continue to act in the interest of the common good. The members of the board are experienced in acting in
the public interest, and are very mindful of the importance of openness and transparency in their dealings. Uses of the Town Hall continue to evolve and have helped crystallise the view that uses such as occasional space for a youth centre needs to be satisfied, but elsewhere in Newbridge. This matter was raised at the start of the whole debate and is now the subject of a separate exercise which is receiving attention.