The government has delivered on the boundary extension for Cork city - now it’s time for city management to deliver for citizens.
That was the message from Seanad leader, Fine Gael’s Jerry Buttimer, last night after the city’s first boundary extension since 1965 increased its footprint almost five-fold and increased its population by some 85,000 to 210,000.
“The extension must be met with real delivery for the city’s new citizens," Mr Buttimer said.
"There is a real need for management to deliver services and not just to issue glossy magazines and press releases. They will be judged on the delivery of services to and for the people.”
His comments came as Tánaiste Simon Coveney confirmed that the issue of a directly-elected mayor for Cork and Waterford is unlikely to be revisited in the short-term.
Mr Coveney said a directly elected mayor for the expanded Cork city would have given it “a powerful voice”.
“If there was a little bit more unity across political parties this would have passed comfortably in Cork,” he said.
We now need to reflect on why people made the decisions they did. We are now preparing legislation for a directly elected mayor in Limerick which will become the template for this.
But he said if the proposal is ever put to the people again, it would be helpful if the information campaign started earlier and was presented in “a less party political way”.
Most people on the ground said the extension will have little impact on their daily lives. In Ballyvolane’s Ashgrove Villas, the old city boundary ran through Dave Downey’s front garden. He said the fact that his front gate was in the county while his front door was in the city was never an issue for him.
"The line makes no difference to me at all. What matters to me is that there is nowhere to park in town at the moment. The whole place is torn up," he said.
Gemma Guckian, who manages Decky’s Store in Glenheights, said people often remarked about attending Mass in St Oliver’s Church just across the road in the county and then strolling to her family’s shop in the city to buy the papers.
"People know the boundary was changing but they weren't sure when it was happening. They say there’ll be improved bus routes and transport links but I’d be concerned about it having a negative impact on rates,” she said.
City Hall said the commercial rate in the old city boundary area will actually reduce by a fraction of a percent to come into line with the county’s slightly lower rate until councillors begin debating rates and other budgeting issues later this year.