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While much useful work has been carried out by the Cork Local Government Committee, the report itself is disappointing.
The committee is evenly split between those supporting a single authority for Cork and those supporting the continuation of Cork city and county councils with a boundary extension for the City.
Including the views of the chairman, the majority view is for a single authority. It would seem to me that the Minister should give the committee an extension and to present him with a report that the full committee, picked by him, could subscribe to.
In this regard the chairman would have a key role in bridging the gap between the current majority and minority reports. To do this, a look at Section 32 of the Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1993, might be beneficial.
This provides for the principal authorities to consult with and have regard to certain interests, referred to as “metropolitan interest” in the Act. This mechanism, as I see it, appropriately modified for Cork, should enable all five members of the Committee subscribe to a single set of recommendations for Cork.
The full committee are agreed that to leave the status quo is not an option and that a larger metropolitan area is needed. With a little more time and input it should be possible to come up with a set of recommendations that all five members can agree to.
In the long run it will be worth it.
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