90 submissions on local government reform

Up to 90 submissions have been made to the group tasked with reviewing local government structures in Cork.

90 submissions on local government reform

The figure was confirmed by review group chairman Alf Smiddy after Friday’s deadline passed. It had been extended by a week to allow more time for submissions.

“In recent weeks we have received very detailed and informative presentations from the two primary stakeholders — Cork City and Cork County Councils — and comprehensive submissions were made by both authorities specific to our mandate and terms of reference,” Mr Smiddy said.

He confirmed up to 90 submissions had been made by the deadline and that the submissions from Cork’s two local authorities were by far the most detailed.

It is understood the city council’s submission runs to more than 70 pages. Cork Chamber’s submission is nine pages long.

The review group, which was established by Environment Minister Alan Kelly on January 15, is examining the case for an extension to the city boundary or a possible merger of the two local authorities into a super council.

Supporters of the boundary extension option say it will help drive growth in metropolitan Cork and foster a strong national second city, while those arguing for a merger of the two councils say it will eliminate duplication of services and help deliver huge savings.

Me Smiddy said now that the review group has gathered all of the relevant information specific to its work, including submissions and relevant reports, it will continue to supplement this with meetings with key stakeholders over the next few weeks.

“As part of the process we have agreed with the mayors and council CEOs a schedule of further meetings in March, including meetings with all members of each council,” he said.

“We are very confident that we will be in a position to issue our report with recommendations to the minister by September 30 — the deadline set by Minister Alan Kelly — if not sooner.”

The group has written to and advised Cork-based members of the Oireachtas and MEPs of its plan to meet them in March.

The review group has already had several meetings with the CEOs and senior management of both councils, including the lord mayor of the city and the mayor of the county.

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