Cork City Council to mount legal challenge against merger plan

Cork City Council to mount legal challenge against merger plan

Eoin English

Cork City Council is to seek a judicial review of the administrative actions of the review group which has recommended a controversial merger of the city and county councils.

The council is also expected to become the first local authority to challenge the constitutionality of government policy in relation to combining local authority areas.

The bold legal challenges were sanctioned tonight at a council meeting which was addressed by former Cork Local Government Review (CLGR) member Dr Theresa Reidy.

She co-authored a report with Prof Dermot Keogh opposing the merger recommendation which was presented to Environment Minister Alan Kelly last week.

Dr Reidy told the meeting that it was clear from the review process that cities are engines of regional growth and must have independent autonomous governance to drive economic development.

A merger could result in a loss of focus on policies and services in both city and county areas, and a loss of vital funding for the city, she warned.

A super-council would also take decision making one step further from citizens, she said.

Meanwhile, the former chairman of the CLGR, Alf Smiddy, who announced plans yesterday to host a series of meetings in a bid to diffuse the controversy, said the Lord Mayor and County Mayor have accepted his invitation to meet him in the coming weeks.

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