Smiddy report torn to shreds - Councils’ amalgamation debate

EARLIER this week the Smiddy report was published and — unsurprisingly — it supported the expressed views of Environment Minister Alan Kelly by recommending, by the narrowest possible margin, that Cork City and County Councils be amalgamated.

Yesterday UCC’s Centre for Planning Education and Research, experts in the field, published a rebuttal. We publish it on the facing page and it is essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of Cork city and county. It will make excoriating reading for the three-out-of-five committee members who endorsed the Smiddy report and those who support the idea of a single authority. The UCC document could hardly be more critical, indeed it begs an obvious question: did the Smiddy group have any engagement with the university’s experts? If they did how did they form a view so very contrary? If they did not engage why not and what would that mean for the Smiddy report’s credibility?

It is hard not to think that the UCC report is a game changer in this deeply flawed and suspect process — or at least it should be. One line from the UCC document says it all: “The majority report appears to disregard the evidence on what makes cities and regions work effectively.” Evidence disregarded? How can that be? What’s really in play here?

The questions the welcome UCC intervention raises must be answered before this white elephant takes one step more.

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