County Hall may mount legal challenge to Mackinnon

Cork county councillors may consider instructing the County Hall executive to mount a legal challenge to prevent full implementation of the Mackinnon report’s recommendations for the extension of the city boundary.

It is one of the options being mulled over by some elected members, concerned that full implementation of the report would spell the death knell for the local authority.

“We will have to take all measures to defend the future of the county, including a legal challenge if people don’t listen,” said Fine Gael councillor John O’Sullivan.

The county council’s last offer to City Hall included ceding Frankfield, Douglas, Grange, and Ballyvolane.

The proposal was given short shrift by city councillors who want the full Mackinnon recommendation, which includes Cork Airport, Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Little Island, and Carrigtwohill.

The county council offer was viewed as an opening gambit with the hope it would encourage their city counterparts to negotiate.

However, Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty said the county offer was contrary to the Mackinnon report and her recommendation to reject it was firmly endorsed by city councillors.

Some county councillors believe County Hall may have to offer further enticements to ensure both authorities enter into talks.

The most likely concessions are Glanmire and Cork Airport, while Blarney may also be surrendered.

With public meetings being considered in a number of towns anxious to retain a county status, county councillors are strongly opposed to conceding Ballincollig and rates cash cows Little Island and Carrigtwohill.

Mr O’Sullivan said to allow Cork City Council to expand and increase its borrowing power to pay back the county council for loss of rates revenue was totally unsustainable for both local authorities.

He said he was firmly of the opinion there should be one united authority for the region.

“It’s appalling there’s no future vision for how the overall region will develop. No one seems to be examining the broader picture,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

Meanwhile, Alf Smiddy, who published an initial report into the expansion of the city boundary, said everyone in Cork should be concerned about what the Department of Local Government is attempting to ram through.

“It is just politics at play, big time, as Cork is totally carved up by the D4 bureaucrats with all our citizens in Cork losing out,” he said.

Mr Smiddy wants a plebiscite held to gauge the attitude of residents and businesses in the city and county.

“This is nothing more than an attempted reverse takeover of the county by the city; it’s a pile of nonsense being driven by Dublin,” he said.

The Mayor of Co Cork, Declan Hurley said the Mackinnon solution was unworkable, claiming a new-look Cork City would surpass, in size only, Belfast and Dublin city councils.

County council revenue losses in terms of commercial rates and local authority property tax has been estimated at €50m.


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