County councillors, who were given an update on the city council boundary extension yesterday, have demanded that all Cork TDs attend a meeting in County Hall to explain whether they are for or against the new city boundary map, which is currently being finalised.
The chief executive of the county council, Tim Lucey, said that Ballincollig, Blarney, Ballyvolane, Cork Airport, and all of Glanmire west of the Cork-Dublin motorway are included in the city council’s boundary extension. There will also be extensions of its territory in Rochestown, Douglas and Grange.
Mr Lucey said that some tweaking of the map was ongoing in the Monard area, near Blarney, where the county council has plans to build a 5,300-house town.
He said the Department of Local Government hopes to have primary legislation proposed in the Dáil before the summer recess after which the Boundary Commission will start work on redrawing constituencies and municipal district areas.
Mr Lucey said it was important to understand the massive amount of work which has to be undertaken by the county council to transfer the areas its ceding to the city council. He said this would require extra resources and new personnel would have to be employed to carry the project over the line, so he needs approval from the Department to hire them.
It is envisaged that these people will have to be employed for anywhere between 12-18 months.
“It’s been agreed by end of March that a transition plan will be developed. It’s effectively a roadmap to have it transitioned by the June 2019 local elections,” said Mr Lucey. “In the interests of all transiting to the city council, our restructuring has to be as dealt with as speedily as possible. The sooner this is done and dusted the better for everybody. The speed and effectiveness will be down to the Department resourcing us with additional staff.”
Some councillors reacted angrily to the news that the city extension was being effectively railroaded through, especially as they had made it clear they are still against the extent of the territory being ceded.
Their anger worsened when the mayor of Co Cork, Declan Hurley, said he had just been told that junior minister at the Department, John Paul Phelan, had refused to meet him to discuss the boundary extension.
Independent councillor Kevin Conway said that it would be “hypocritical” of members to engage in this process when they had voted against it.
His fellow Independent councillor, Mary Linehan-Foley, won support from colleagues when she asked that Cork-based TDs and Senators be invited to County Hall to tell councillors what their views are on the proposed boundary extension.
“The buck stops with the TDs. They’re the people to lobby,” said Fine Gael councillor Kevin Murphy.