Future uses for council offices to be assessed

The future of town council buildings in Co Cork and the staff who work in them will be revealed before the end of the year, according to the county manager.

Martin Riordan made his comments following a call for town council offices in Fermoy to be retained as an administrative headquarters for part of North Cork.

The request was made by Labour councillor Noel McCarthy, who lives in the town and who said the modern offices — which also contain a courthouse and which opened in 2008 at a cost of €7.2m — should be retained.

Mr Riordan said this would be “premature”, as a huge amount of work needed to be undertaken before the county council subsumes the functions of town councils when they are abolished next year. He said he had appointed a team under the direction of one of the council’s most senior officials, Maurice Manning, to compile a report on this.

It is extremely unlikely that all town council offices will be maintained.

However, as yet, it is unclear if those found to be surplus to requirement will be sold on the open market or, as some councillors have requested, be given to community organisations.

Mr Riordan said he expected a full assessment to be completed before the end of the year.

Mr McCarthy said many town council staff were concerned about their futures, as they may be surplus to requirements or may be transferred to different offices.

Mr Riordan said he understood these concerns and agreed to keep staff informed of any changes as soon as he received the report from Mr Manning.

The county manager said at that stage he would also consult with councillors.

He asked Mr McCarthy to withdraw his motion and await the outcome of the report, which was agreed to.

Meanwhile, Lee Valley Enterprise Board and Macroom Town Council will host a public meeting at 8pm on Monday at the Castle Hotel, Macroom, to discuss the fall-out from the abolition of town councils. Guest speaker will be Aodh Quinlivan from UCC.

The discussions will focus on the impact the move will have on rates, social housing, planning and aid to local clubs and organisations.


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