The war of words between two local authorities over a boundary extension intensified yesterday when the mayor of one council outlined a number of reasons why people would be better off in his jurisdiction.
The mayor of Co Cork, Declan Hurley, said people living in areas within the county earmarked to be subsumed by the city — Cork Airport, Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Little Island, and Carrigtwohill — would not have a better quality of life after the transition.
Mr Hurley said the city had the second highest concentration of unemployment blackspots in the State and people would be faced with a significant lack of, and access to, quality and affordable housing.
He also pointed out that the Age Dependency Ratio in Cork City is significantly higher than the national average (21.4% versus 17.4%).
“Cork City is aging at the third-fastest pace of all 31 administrative cities and counties,” he said. “Almost one in three of those aged over 65 are living alone. Cork City’s population declined from 123,062 in 2002 to 119,230 in 2011. Thankfully, it has since recovered.”
Mr Hurley said these figures were readily available in the Cork City Local Economic and Community Plan.
He then referred to a satisfaction survey among city residents.
Mr Hurley said although that survey is somewhat dated, as it was undertaken in 2004, it provides some interesting comparisons to more recent data from the county.
Around 77% of residents rated the city as a fairly good or very good place to live.
A similar and more recent survey carried out in the county shows that 92% of residents said they were living in a great place.
While, overall, Cork’s residents are relatively happy, Mr Hurley said it was important to note that the county survey confirmed that residents living in the county municipal districts adjoining the city expressed similar satisfaction ratings to those in municipal districts in West and North Cork.
“During the course of the current city boundary debate, there have been claims and counterclaims made. What is important is that we all avoid stark statements which are not supported by verifiable facts,” said Mr Hurley.
He said it was abundantly clear that residents in county areas adjoining the city are highly satisfied with their lot in the county.
A statement issued by Cork City Council said it is focused on working constructively with the Oversight Group established by the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.
“The Lord Mayor made known his views on the MacKinnon report on three occasions — on the day of publication, following a special council meeting, and this week in an open letter to the people of Cork,” said the statement.
According to the statement, the consistent position of the city council is that the city boundary requires a substantial extension to accommodate a population of 500,000 and this is vital if the city is to compete internationally for investment and if it is to put sustainable transport and housing policy in place.
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