Entertaining the county’s offer would effectively accede to the rewriting of the boundary proposals contained in the Mackinnon report, which has been accepted by Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy, said city council chief executive Ann Doherty last night.
In a detailed report to councillors during a special city council meeting called to discuss the county’s offer, Ms Doherty said considering the county’s offer would only serve to “deflect focus and thwart progress” in bringing conclusion to the review process of local government arrangements in Cork.
Following almost two years of controversy since the review began, the Mackinnon group published its report in June, recommending a large expansion of the city, to include areas such as Ballincollig, Cork Airport, Blarney, Glanmire, and Carrigtwohill.
Cork County Council, which is opposed to the scale of the Mackinnon line, offered last week to cede a smaller area to the city, excluding Blarney, Ballincollig, Little Island, Carrigtwohill, Cork Airport, and Monard.
Ms Doherty told councillors last night that the Mackinnon report warns that a “minimalist expansion” would have only modest benefits, and would not be a long-term sustainable solution.
She said the county’s proposal cannot be interpreted in any way other than to run contrary to the substantial boundary changes recommended in the Mackinnon report.
Ms Doherty said the city has consistently argued for a substantial boundary extension to accommodate the expansion of the State’s second-largest urban area to some 500,000 people over the coming decades.
“In addition, city regions require an urban-focused governance based on authority, accountability, and responsibility,” she said.
“This position was taken in the context of city regions as recognised drivers of future growth and prosperity.
“The recent proposal from Cork County Council subverts this position by offering a minimalist boundary extension.”