City groups back plan to extend boundary

A network representing 120 community and voluntary groups in Cork City has given full backing to a boundary extension — unlike its county counterpart.

Cork City Public Participation Network (PPN) said its members were “unanimously” in favour of extending the boundary. The PPN also favours the retention of two autonomous local authorities.

The statement from the city PPN comes on the heels of a pledge from Cork County PPN to lobby against the expansion.

The proposal to extend the city boundary to an area that would increase the size of the city eightfold and include rates-rich areas such as Ballincollig, Little Island, Carrigtwohill, Blarney and Cork Airport, is recommended in the Mackinnon report which has the backing of Government.

Martha Halbert, co-ordinator of Cork City PPN, said prior to their meeting the MacKinnon expert group earlier this year, the network had held a secretariat meeting, an emergency plenary meeting and conducted a survey among members to formulate their response.

“Unanimously the Cork City PPN members were in favour of the retention of two autonomous local authorities [as per Mackinnon] and, furthermore, the expansion of the boundaries of Cork City to enable the city to grow to a sustainable size, with compensation for the county for the loss of revenue as a result of the expanded boundary,” Ms Halbert said.

Siobhán O’Dowd, a social inclusion secretariat representative on Cork City PPN, said while she understood the anxiety in the county, she believed the city council “is cognisant of the unique and distinct identity of communities”.

“As a community worker and an individual I’ve had direct experience of their involvement and can honestly say they take the lead from communities themselves,” Ms O’Dowd said.

The city view is entirely at odds with the county PPN which believes a boundary extension will be a fiscal disaster.

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