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'It's more like a child's scribble on a map': Cork County Mayor furious at plans for city expansion

Councillor Declan Hurley said plans outlined in a government-commissioned report are “simply madness”.

Cork County Council says that the new boundaries proposed are not proportionate.
Cork County Council says that the new boundaries proposed are not proportionate.
Image: Cork County Council

THE MAYOR OF Cork County Council has issued a strong statement criticising the recommendations in a report that would redraw the boundary with Cork City Council.

Councillor Declan Hurley said that the suggestions outlined in the MacKinnon report were “more reminiscent of a child’s scribble on a map than a logical, considered conclusion”.

The report – which was commissioned by the Department of Housing – recommended “an expanded city council” to ensure that Cork is not left behind in terms of economic and social development, and retains its status as Ireland’s second city.

It proposes extending the current remit of the city council to include Ballincollig, Carrigrohane, Blarney, Glanmire, Carrigtwohill and Cork Airport, which would see the population of the city almost double to 225,000 people.

Cork County Council had made a set of proposals to Cork City Council on a section of land it would cede, but councillors on the city council voted unanimously to reject these earlier this week.

While it offered areas such as Doughcloyne, Donnybrook, Grange, Rochestown, Kilbarry and Kilcully, it did not go far enough to include all the areas outlined in the MacKinnon report.

cork google map 1 Cork County had proposed changing the boundary to include Kilbarry and Doughcloyne within the city council's remit. Source: Google Maps

Cork City Councillor Sean Martin told TheJournal.ie that the MacKinnon report is the “only show in town”.

“It’s about making Cork a global city,” he said. “What we want to see is the recommendations in that report implemented.”

County Lord Mayor Hurley, however, said that the offer made to the city council was more than sufficient, and he rejects the recommendations in the MacKinnon report.

He said: “It is quite clear that whoever sketched the boundary line for the Mackinnon Committee has little or no knowledge of the geography of Cork.

Actually, it’s more reminiscent of a child’s scribble on a map than a logical, considered conclusion. It is a matter of complete wonder to me how anyone could believe that it would work in reality.

He said that communities in these areas would suffer from a reduction in funding, and said that for residents of Carrigtwohill to be regarded as city dwellers “is nothing short of a joke”.

“Except that this is no joking matter,” he said. “For businesses in Blarney to become city ratepayers is ridiculous. It’s simply madness.”

Hurley also said that expanding the city boundaries to the areas recommended would be “nothing short of reckless” and that the Cork metropolitan area was already viewed as having a large population.

Cork is already viewed externally by investors as an area with a metropolitan population of 399,216 – just ask Google and Wikipedia.

The government is taking steps to ensure that boundary changes to Cork are implemented, and has created an oversight group to that effect.

In response to a query from TheJournal.ie, the Department of Housing said: “The group’s first task is to present a detailed implementation plan by September 2017 and the chief executives of Cork City Council and Cork County Council will work with the group to develop detailed and comprehensive proposals for the boundary alteration and to ultimately implement agreed recommendations”.

In the terms of reference for this implementation group, it says that the group “shall provide such direction, guidance and advice to the local authorities… as it considers appropriate”.

Furthermore, it says that CEOs and staff at both councils are required to “cooperate fully” with the implementation group.

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Sean Murray

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