Little Island Business Association (LIBA), which represents around 1,000 small, medium and large businesses, has confirmed it has sought legal advice from a senior counsel about how it could prevent such a move.
LIBA chief executive Michael Mulcahy said his members were against a takeover of their area by Cork City Council should the Mackinnon Report be implemented and are prepared to fight it “tooth and nail”.
Cork County Council is also seeking legal advice on how it could prevent Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy, who is in charge of the oversight implementation committee, from pushing through the Mackinnon recommendations.
Those recommendations propose the extension of the city’s boundary to take control of Cork Airport, Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Little Island, Glounthaune, and Carrigtwohill.
Mr Mulcahy said LIBA members had held a number of meetings and their legal advice was that there could be an opening to challenge the report’s implementation.
He said the Smiddy report was a statutory one approved by Cabinet. It proposed to merge the two councils, but was later shelved.
“The Mackinnon report is non-statutory and it wasn’t given the remit to create a statutory report,” he said.
He said that while LIBA was prepared to go it alone with a legal challenge, his members were also willing to assist the county council financially if it decided to mount its own legal action.
Mr Mulcahy also proposed that LIBA, the county council, and about 30 large groups opposed to the extension could jointly mount a legal challenge “which would clearly show the courts the level of opposition to this simply unworkable plan.”
The IFA, which represents 12,000 farmers in Cork, has said it is also opposed to the massive extension.
Vehement opposition has also been expressed by the Public Participation Network, which represents more than 900 community and voluntary groups in the county.
Mr Mulcahy said his members were concerned that the city council couldn’t afford to provide proper services with such a vastly expanded boundary and at the same time pay compensation to the county council for the loss of commercial rates and Local Property Tax.
The county council is publish its views on the extension which, via a statutory instrument allowed under Section 29 of the Local Government Act, would go out to public consultation.
The city council will have up to six months to comment on the county council’s document.