Minister remains quiet on county’s offer to cede land

Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy has remained tight-lipped on a surprise offer from Cork County Council to cede land to the city.

The county’s proposal emerged in the wake of a report recommending the first extension of Cork’s City boundary in more than 50 years. It is set to be discussed by city councillors at a special meeting on Monday.

The Mackinnon report calls for the retention of Cork’s two local authorities in tandem with a significant expansion of the city boundary to include areas such as Cork Airport, Douglas, Grange, Frankfield, Rochestown, Ballincollig to the west; Tower, Blarney, Monard, and Rathpeacon to the north; and Glanmire, Little Island, and Carrigtwohill to the east. If sanctioned, the extension would increase the city’s population by 100,000 to 225,000.

The inclusion of the rates-rich areas of Ballincollig, Blarney, and Carrigtwohill has sparked controversy in the county, which is opposing the scale of the extension.

Last month, Mr Murphy established an oversight group to implement the Mackinnon recommendations.

In a surprise move last week, the county council proposed a more modest expansion that does not include Blarney, Ballincollig, Little Island, Carrigtwohill, Cork Airport, or Monard.

It said the county is prepared to cede areas including Doughcloyne, Ardrostig, Frankfield, Donnybrook, Grange, Castletreasure, and Rochestown on the southside, and Kilbarry, Carhoo, Kilcully, and Ballyvolane on the northside.

This move, if sanctioned would see the city’s population increase by about a third to just over 164,000, and the geographical area of the city increase by 84.5%.

A department spokesman said Mr Murphy is not in a position to comment on the process pending a report from the implementation oversight group.

“The minister has established the implementation oversight group to oversee arrangements for the alteration of the boundary between the respective areas of jurisdiction of Cork City Council and Cork County Council, in light of the recommendation in the report of the Cork Expert Advisory Group,” he said.

“The group’s first task is to present a detailed implementation plan by September and the chief executives of the city council and the county council will work with the group to develop detailed and comprehensive proposals for the boundary alteration and to ultimately implement agreed recommendations.

“At this stage, the minister is not in a position to make any comment in advance of the detailed work to be undertaken by the implementation oversight group.”

On Monday, city council chief executive Ann Doherty is due to present members with a report in response to County Hall’s offer.

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