O’Malley refuses to back call for boundary extension to city

JUNIOR Minister Tim O’Malley yesterday rejected a call by the Mayor of Limerick to join the four other Limerick East TDs in backing a proposal to have an independent committee decide on the city’s boundary extension demand.

Mayor Diarmuid Scully said Mr O’Malley was the only TD in the constituency out of line on the issue, refusing to support the initiative.

Mr O’Malley hit back saying one bigger council to administer both city and county was the way forward rather than a change of boundary between the two existing city and county councils.

He accused the mayor of engaging in megaphone diplomacy.

Mayor Scully revealed that Defence Minister Willie O’Dea has rowed in, joining TDs Peter Power, Michael Noonan and Jan O’Sullivan in calling on the Minister for the Environment to establish an independent committee to adjudicate on Limerick City’s application for a boundary extension.

Mayor Scully said: “I am delighted that Limerick’s cabinet minister has come out publicly in support of the city council’s request for a fair and impartial hearing. This adds real political weight to our cause. Four of our five TDs now support the establishment of a commission. I have not yet heard from our junior minister Tim O’Malley. I hope that he will not stand aside from this emerging cross party consensus, a consensus that promises at last to resolve this contentious issue in a fair and equitable manner.”

However, Mr O’Malley said he had received no communication from the mayor on the matter.

Mr O’Malley said: “I have made my position perfectly clear that there should be one local authority for the whole of Limerick. This merger would be best for the management of Limerick.”

He said one authority would lead to greater efficiency in planning.

“A boundary extension would just lead to an extension the donut effect as more development would continue to take place outside an extended boundary as a lot of people will still prefer to stay with the county,” he said.

Two authorities, he said, causes huge unnecessary duplication.

“It is not the most efficient governance of a small area. Some people argue that one authority would be too big, but that does not stand up as there are other authorities such as Fingal which are bigger than a combined Limerick authority,” he said.

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