County seeks legal advice on city limits

Cork County Council is seeking legal advice to prevent the Mackinnon report’s recommendation to massively extend the city boundary.

County seeks legal advice on city limits

Also, in an effort to delay the report’s implementation, the county council is proposing to use Section 29 of the Local Government Act 1991 as a stalling instrument.

This enables it to put its own views on the city boundary extension out to public consultation via a statutory function, which is allowed under the Local Government Act, and means the city council has up to six months to reply to the offer that the county council has already put on the table.

If Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy, who is in charge of the oversight implementation committee, decides to railroad the Mackinnon recommendations through, he will be faced with a double-edged sword which could hold up the Government for a considerable time in litigation.

Despite furious debate in a four-hour behind closed doors meeting in County Hall yesterday, county councillors refused to cede any more territory to the city council.

The Mackinnon report recommends that the city council takes over Cork Airport Cork Airport, Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Little Island, Glounthaune, and Carrigtwohill.

The county council, however, responded by offering land it controls in Frankfield, Douglas, Grange, and Ballyvolane to the city.

The city councillors responded to this with a resounding no, saying that the full steak meal they were getting with Mackinnon was being snatched away for a rather pathetic-looking sandwich, as one city councillor put it.

It was expected that the county council might offer to cede Cork Airport and Glanmire in an effort to resolve the impasse.

However, while some county councillors toyed with the idea, in the end they stuck to their guns, declaring that the first offer was the last they would make.

They were no doubt buoyed with the Irish Examiner survey published on Monday which showed that 15 of the 22 TDs and senators in Cork were against the full implementation of the Mackinnon recommendations.

In addition, their resolve was strengthened by 1,200 IFA farmers opposing the extended boundary and the Public Participation Network, which represents about 900 community and voluntary groups in the county which are vehemently opposed to a major extension of the city boundary.

Community groups and businesses in the areas earmarked to be ceded have said that they do not want to be handed over to the city council’s control, citing concerns that the city has over-increased commercial rates and local property tax, which they believe the city authority will need in order to pay compensation to the county council for loss in revenue and to sustain services in the areas it then occupies.

The Mayor of County Cork, Declan Hurley, said there is serious annoyance and frustration in the county council at the fact that there has been no response whatsoever from the minister about the council’s queries in relation to the role and remit of the implementation oversight group.

The county council’s stance will become clearer at next week’s council meeting.

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