At their first full council meeting since the publication on Friday of the Mackinnon review, city councillors agreed last night to accept its findings. They did so without debate.
But they have also agreed to discuss the review in detail next Monday — behind closed doors.
In what was his last full council meeting as Lord Mayor, Cllr Des Cahill welcomed the conclusion of the Cork Local Government review process and the publication of the Mackinnon report.
“I particularly want to welcome the fact that a two-authority approach is recommended unanimously by the Mackinnon group,” he said.
“Accepting that considerable work will be required in the implementation of the review recommendations, we in city council have always acknowledged that a boundary extension would require a significant compensation element to ensure that the entire Cork county would benefit from the review of local government arrangements.
“A strong Cork county is also in the best interests of our city.”
He pointed out that the review of Cork’s local government arrangements started in January 2015 and said for the benefit of Cork and the role that Cork city needs to play as the country’s second city and as the driver of economic development of the region, it is essential that the process would now move quickly to implementation.
He proposed that councillors formally accept the recommendations of the Mackinnon report.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy expressed his concerns about accepting the findings in their entirety — he said he had concerns about the compensation package and the five-year mayoral term.
But speaking afterwards, the mayor said the city council has been “steadfast and unanimous” during the entire process in asserting that the extension of the boundaries of the city was the correct solution for a new model of local government for Cork.
“I believe passionately that a boundary extension is the right solution not just for the city, but for the county too, as well as for the southern region, and for Ireland,” he said.
“A healthy and independent city is critical to drive economic growth and the wealth of the region. Ireland needs a rebalancing of growth and prosperity,” Mayor Des Cahill said.
“The country is crying out for a counterbalance to Dublin.”
The implementation of the McKinnon report is fundamental if Cork is to fulfil its role as the State’s second city.
“The formal approval of council represents the vital next step on that journey,” he said.