Denis Kelly, the organisation’s development officer, said the board of Cork County Federation Muintir na Tíre has expressed serious concerns about the impact on rural communities, especially as the county council would lose an estimated €40m-plus annually in rates, which are used to prop up services in such areas.
The ability of the city council to pay the annual compensation has also been brought into question and the Mackinnon report suggests only a 10-year compensation package, to be reviewed after five years.
“We are very worried because any loss of income to the county council will have an impact on rural services,” Mr Kelly said.
He said the national voluntary organisation would use its weight to try and get a number of questions answered, such as the legal status of the Mackinnon report, given that the statutory ‘Smiddy’ report is in place since 2015.
Muintir na Tíre’s board said the implementation of the large-scale boundary extension has the potential to create a “mortally-weakened county council” which may be unable to keep rural services at current levels.
Mr Kelly said that the first Muinitir na Tíre meeting will be held in Carrigtwohill next month and will be followed by more in August.
He said they will take place in all areas of the county, both within the proposed boundary extension and outside it “because everybody will be affected”. “Carrigtwohill has a rural hinterland and there are no suggestions about where the proposed (city/county boundary) will be drawn there and who will draw it,” Mr Kelly said.
“How can this report not be seen as an attack on rural Cork if it will have a severe impact on development in rural communities?”
Mr Kelly said Muintir na Tíre in Cork will be organising town and village hall meetings in conjunction with local community groups, to get answers to some of these and other questions about the report.