The county insisted yesterday that it is engaging fully with the government-appointed group tasked with drawing the new boundary as the city suggested that both sides should “explore the potential” for reaching agreement by working with that group.
City council chief executive Ann Doherty wrote to county chief executive Tim Lucey yesterday explaining why the city rejected his proposal for "bilateral talks" on the boundary. She said such talks would be “inconsistent" with the wishes of Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy and the earlier unanimous decisions of the city council that the boundary line should be defined through the oversight group process.
But she said she would be happy to “explore the potential for reaching agreement” on the boundary by working with the oversight group.
“Failing agreement, the oversight group can then perform the necessary mediation as outlined by the Minister,” Ms Doherty said.
While the county is opposed to the scale of the proposed Mackinnon extension which could see Ballincollig, Cork Airport, Blarney, Glanmire, Little Island and Carrigtwohill becoming part of the city, Mr Lucey said he and his team have engaged fully with the group, and have already agreed an implementation framework with the city to guide the implementation of any boundary alteration.
“This is a significant development as it sets out at a high level, without specific timelines, the range of matters that would need to be addressed to successfully implement a boundary alteration,” he said.
But he said it was still the county view that bi-lateral talks should take place first, with mediation from the oversight group only if agreement couldn’t be reached.
Fianna Fáil city councillor Terry Shannon welcomed the signals from County Hall but said its Section 29 boundary alteration process should be parked to allow for talks under the auspices of the oversight group.
“I would also suggest that councillors be involved on the fringes of those talks to ensure clarity, and to ensure that we can bring this to an agreed conclusion within the timeframe left,” he said.