County councillors urged to declare stance on boundary report

Pressure is mounting on Cork’s county councillors to declare their position on the landmark city boundary extension report.

County councillors urged to declare stance on boundary report

They are due to meet today to discuss the 26-page implementation oversight group (IOG) document which recommends the first city boundary extension since 1965. It was accepted by the Cabinet on Tuesday.

It will be councillors’ third meeting since the compromise boundary extension proposal emerged last week. The council has, to date, only noted the report’s contents.

The city is set to formally endorse the report at a special meeting on Monday.

The boundary has still to be defined in five small pockets, but the adjustments were described as relatively minor by sources close to the process.

The county council’s stance on the report will, however, determine which course of action Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy takes next. He can sign a ministerial order, which could deliver the extension within days, or he can introduce legislation which could take several months and would require a Dáil vote.

Mr Murphy said he was prepared to legislate in the absence of agreement from the two councils.

Last Tuesday, he urged both councils to embrace the process urgently and support the implementation of the boundary.

“It has taken almost three years to get to this position — a position that will allow Cork to have a more appropriate local government structure which is essential to help it reach its full potential and serve the people of both the city and county as effectively as possible,” said Mr Murphy.

“The Government now call upon the elected members and executive of both councils to embrace the boundary alteration process as a matter of urgency and to provide full and active support for the significant programme of associated implementation actions that lie ahead.

“I am open to using the statutory procedures in part V of the Local Government Act 1991 if the local authorities can confirm, as a matter of priority, agreement using this approach.

“Alternatively, I will bring forward primary legislation to implement the boundary alteration, and have received government approval for this course of action, as necessary.”

Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald confirmed last night that he will be recommending to the city council next Monday that it agrees to using the part V process to ensure the “city boundary extension is advanced with the urgency and full and active support that the minister is seeking”.

As first reported by the Irish Examiner last week, the proposed boundary includes Ballincollig, Cork Airport, Glanmire, Tower, and Blarney, but excludes the Monard strategic development zone.

Little Island and Carrigtwohill will remain in the county, as will smaller settlements such as Glounthane, Killumney, Ovens, Ballinora, and Waterfall.

It will see the city’s population almost double from the 2016 Census figure of over 125,000 to nearly 210,000, to include almost 70% of the population of the Metropolitan Cork region.

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