Eoghan Murphy: Senior civil servants did not push for Cork merger

Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy has rejected claims senior civil servants pushed a pro-merger agenda during the controversial 2015 review of Cork’s local government structures.

Eoghan Murphy: Senior civil servants did not push for Cork merger

Mr Murphy also insisted the city boundary saga would be resolved “within a matter of weeks”.

He was speaking in Cork yesterday as the group he established to implement the Mackinnon-recommended boundary extension met representatives of the city and county councils again.

Earlier this week, the Irish Examiner revealed correspondence released under Freedom of Information to former Lord Mayor, Cllr Chris O’Leary, which showed how senior civil servants prepared pro-merger documents for the chairman of the statutory Cork Local Government Review group, Alf Smiddy, during its review work in 2015.

However, Mr Murphy said: “Department officials didn’t push a pro-merger agenda. That’s not what was reflected. The officials are there to help, to answer questions for the work that needs to be done. We have our report (Mackinnon), we have a committee that’s doing its work. I think it’s important that we give it a bit of space and time to continue to do that work. It’s very important that we come to a resolution on that in the next number of weeks. We need this to be resolved shortly, because a lot of other things are depending on having this issue resolved so we can move onto other aspects of local government reform.”

The minister was speaking at the formal opening of the 39-bed supported student accommodation facility in Bishopstown, Cork.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy meets residents at Cúl Árd on Station Road, Carrigtwohill, where 18 of 29 three-bedroomed homes have been completed under a new ‘turnkey housing model’, which sees Cork County Council working with private developers to build social housing on council land. The scheme aims to provide more than 270 social homes next year on sites across the county Pictures: David Keane

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy meets residents at Cúl Árd on Station Road, Carrigtwohill, where 18 of 29 three-bedroomed homes have been completed under a new ‘turnkey housing model’, which sees Cork County Council working with private developers to build social housing on council land. The scheme aims to provide more than 270 social homes next year on sites across the county Pictures: David Keane

He turned the sod on the next phase of the Knocknaheeny regeneration project, where 29 houses are due to be completed next month, and where building work on 47 new homes is due to start in December. He visited a site on Gerald Griffin Street, Blackpool, where 41 new homes and a new community centre should be completed in February 2020.

He then visited Cúl Árd on Station Road, Carrigtwohill, where 18 of 29 three-bedroomed homes have been completed under a new ‘turnkey housing model’, which sees Cork County Council working with private developers to build social housing on council land. The scheme aims to provide more than 270 social homes next year on sites across the county.

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