Cork County Councillors Say End This Farce Now

By Seamus Whelehan

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Game of Thrones season 7 hit our screens last weekend, here in Cork, both City and County Councillors are playing out their own version of the saga.
While there may not be a Cersei Lannister or Jon Snow in this real-life drama, there are the political undertones of who’s got the biggest kingdom, the strongest and the wealthiest.
The County Councillors have raised their concerns the McKinnon report into local government arrangements was more focused on coming up with an alternative to the Smiddy report published in 2015, which recommended an amalgamation of City and County, rather than considering what’s best for both.
Under the McKinnon report 110,000 people would be added to the City’s population with 50% of the county’s rate base wiped out overnight, an estimated loss of €80million.
The expert report has recommended a city expansion taking in Ballincollig, Douglas, Rochestown, Glanmire, Little Island, Carrigtwohill and Cork Airport.
Cobh, Monkstown, Passage West and Carrigaline would remain in the County forming a lower harbour municipality.
The County would be gaining an additional councillor with the City seeing an increase in its representation by a further 4 councillors.
As Mr McKinnon jetted into Cork yesterday (Wednesday 19 July) to defend his report on the City boundary extension, Cork County Councillors called on the Minister for Local Government to stop wasting their time.
While all Cllrs are in agreement of some boundary changes the majority say they are sick and tired of the ongoing saga and want Minister Eoghan Murphy to step in.
The representatives say they would like to see the M8 as being the new boundary with the city taking in areas like Watergrasshill and Glanmire.
Both the Northern and Western boundaries of the new city remain the most contentious.
Under current rules a boundary extension can be made by ministerial order however a merger of City and County must be put to a Dail vote.
It’s understood Mr McKinnon is to travel to Dublin later today to report back to Government following his discussions in Cork.
Independent Cllr Noel Collins a long time campaigner against local government reform said the process was “lunatic in the extreme” and “will create more problems than it is likely to resolve.”
“If the extension proposal of the City is approved, rural communities have no hope of survival. They will be the forgotten people, left with nothing, other than the crumbs of the Bureaucrats table.”
The Midleton based Cllr added the current proposal “is a Me Fein plan cooked up to facilitate Cork City Only, with Cork County left out on its own.”
He said “the City boundary should be extended to a reasonable and appropriate extent, and that separate City and County Councils continue to exist.”

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