Vicarstown councillor Bob Ryan’s remark was just one of several comments made by angry Cork county councillors at a special meeting on the Mackinnon report’s proposals to dramatically extend the city boundary. The meeting took place in County Hall yesterday, at the request of the Mayor of Cork, Seamus McGrath, who said he had “grave concerns” about the proposals.
County council chief executive Tim Lucey said the county council did not accept the report. He also said his local authority “wouldn’t be a sustainable entity going forward”, unless adequate compensation was paid by the city council.
Ballincollig councillor Daithí O’Donnabhain said the report was “an extreme piece of arrogance” and he was “shocked” there was no public consultation.
“This is nothing short of a money grab and a land grab,” he said. “Patrick Street is effectively derelict above ground level and Grand Parade virtually derelict. Some premises there have been vacant for more than eight years.”
Bantry councillor Pat Murphy said the McKinnon report was “poorly researched” and would create a two-tier Cork: “The peripheral rural areas will be eating off crumbs coming from the metropolitan area. There are people in the county very angry about this, who will not take it lying down.”
“If we surrender any part [of the county], it’s goodbye to Cork County Council,” said Ballincollig councillor Derry Canty. “We should shred the report.”
Fermoy councillor Frank O’Flynn said “the land grab” would devastate rural areas and he proposed an urgent meeting be sought with the report’s authors and Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy.
Mr Ryan said the boundary extension would divide parishes.
“It’s obvious these people [report authors] have no idea of how rural Ireland operates,” he said.
Ballyvourney councillor Gobnait Moynihan said the only reason the city council wanted rural Killumney was because it contained the cash-cow ratepayer, EMC.
Skibbereen councillor Joe Carroll said lip-service was being paid to rural regeneration, but that the report was a “kick in the teeth” to it.
“It will sound the death-knell of towns and villages in West Cork,” said Mr Carroll. “They’re going to take anywhere that’s worth anything. They’re only taking what they want. If the Amgen site was on the other side of Midleton, they’d have taken Midleton.”
Having a vastly expanded city, 35km from east to west, made no sense to Carrigtwohill councillor Anthony Barry, especially as it contains agricultural hinterland.
“I can’t see how the city can take on this and then still focus on the development of the city centre,” he said.