FG and FF argue over Cork city boundary vote

A major spat has broken out between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael county councillors as the fall-out over the proposed agreement on Cork City’s boundary extension continues.

FG and FF argue over Cork city boundary vote

Fianna Fáil councillor Bob Ryan insisted that a meeting must be held where it is put on record who is in favour of and who is against the plans.

He first made the suggestion at last Monday’s marathon discussion of the compromise document.

Tempers were already frayed when that meeting got underway at 6.30pm, even though it had been scheduled to start more than three hours earlier. It concluded, without a vote, shortly before midnight.

Mr Ryan asked for a special meeting to take place on December 15 at which he wanted a vote to take place.

However, that has been overtaken by the likelihood that the Cabinet will discuss it next Tuesday.

It is now likely that a vote may be taken by councillors at a statutory monthly meeting scheduled for County Hall next Monday.

“Even if a decision has already been made people should put their vote on record,” said Mr Ryan.

He said that when he called for a vote at Monday’s behind-closed-doors meeting, he was told it was only a briefing session and, as such, a vote could not take place.

However, he claimed later on in the evening Fine Gael then asked for a vote to take place after taking a head count and saw they could push it through as some opposition councillors had left the building.

The mayor of Co Cork, the Independent, Declan Hurley, also refused that request.

“The whole thing is now farcical,” said Mr Ryan. “I believe the people I represent in rural parts of Inniscarra and Blarney [to be ceded to the city] have been sold out so the county council can keep its lucrative rates bases in Little Island and Glounthaune.

“It makes no sense for these rural areas to be included within the city.”

However, Fine Gael councillor Aidan Lombard described the Fianna Fáil stance as disingenuous.

“Fianna Fáil and the Independents hold the balance of power in the council,” said Mr Lombard. “They had representatives at the meeting [between the two local authorities] who decided on the wording of the document. It’s disingenuous of Fianna Fáil to now try and distance themselves.”

Fine Gael councillor Pádraig O’Sullivan also maintained that the negotiated position received at last Monday’s meeting “was not endorsed” by councillors.

“It was essentially ‘noted’ and an official vote will have to be called at our next statutory meeting so everyone will be on the record as to where they stand,” he said.

Mr O’Sullivan said he viewed the inclusion in the city of areas such as Matehy, Vicarstown, and Ballygibbon as “a betrayal”, adding that the “county council was more concerned by financial incentives rather than keeping communities intact”.

He said the compromise document went too far as it gave the city four-fifths of what had been proposed by Mackinnon.

“Cork City is now geographically twice the size of Dublin City with one -fifth of the population,” said Mr O’Sullivan said.

Fine Gael councillor John O’Sullivan said he was disappointed in the outcome because he believes it is not in the best interests of either local authority and they should have been amalgamated.

“But I think at the end of the day we have no choice but to go for it,” he said.

Mr O’Sullivan said it was the lesser of two evils because if Carrigtwohill and Little Island were ceded the county council would lose so much revenue it would seriously affect the delivery of services in already hard-hit rural areas.

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