Cork council capacity to run larger city queried

Management of Cork City Council have not “earned the right or demonstrated sufficient capacity or expertise” to run an expanded city.

Cork council capacity to run larger city queried

The comments were made by John Leahy, a spokesman for the Wilton Road Residents Association, against the backdrop of the ongoing battle over the proposed city boundary extension.

Mr Leahy has been campaigning for several years on behalf of local residents for safety upgrades to the busy arterial route following almost 100 road traffic accidents since its layout was changed and a bus lane introduced in 2003.

However, council management has ruled out scrapping the bus lane as part of a planned €4m transport corridor revamp along the route.

Mr Leahy said dealing with the city for over two decades on a range of issues in the area has been “fruitless, frustrating and pointless”.

“The standard response is initially to dismiss and then ignore any evidence provided, even by their own surveys, or by those of the community,” he said.

“Inexplicably, many proposals and advice on serious safety issues provided by senior officers of An Garda Siochána have been and continue to be ignored.”

He said communities living in Ballincollig, Blarney, Douglas, Carrigaline, Passage West, Little Island, and Carrigtwohill — county areas earmarked to become part of an expanded city — are right to be sceptical and worried about the proposed boundary extension.

Mr Leahy said the condition of some city roads is abysmal, that road design in many areas is haphazard and dangerous, that city footpaths are broken, pitted, poorly maintained, and dangerous, and that the safety of cyclists is compromised by poorly planned roads and dysfunctional bus lanes.

He branded the city’s €33m compensation payout bill since 2000 an “outrageous waste of hard-earned public funds” and questioned its €9m spend on external consultants over the last three years.

He said the city’s focus on the city centre is a “myopic strategy” which could “suck the life blood out of the suburbs” and one which doesn’t “augur well for an expanded city”.

“Unless there is serious change of management group-think and mindset, based on experience and hard evidence to date as a yardstick, there is no doubt that in an expanded city, community and peoples’ welfare, health and safety, as well as indigenous businesses will be sacrificed on the altar of traffic requirements and rate generating requirements,” said Mr Leahy.

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