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County mayor talks up 'quality of life' as Cork boundary row rumbles on

It’s the latest twist in a row about the boundary between the city and the county.

The new boundaries proposed for Cork City.
The new boundaries proposed for Cork City.
Image: Cork County Council

THE MAYOR OF Cork County Council has issued a statement about the “excellent” quality of life for residents of the local authority area, in an apparent response to similar claims made about the Cork city area.

It’s the latest twist in a row about the boundary between the city and the county. Recommendations were released last week to redraw the boundary between the two areas.

The comments from the county mayor, Councillor Declan Hurley, were made in response to Cork City Council Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald’s recent open letter to the citizens of Cork that county residents would experience a better quality of life within a city boundary.

“I am saddened by the tenor of the Lord Mayor’s recent letter which appears to reflect a view from within City Hall that it should not have to work jointly with its counterparts in County Hall into the future,” Hurley said.

The dispute between both mayors has arisen following recommendations to redraw the city’s boundaries within the MacKinnon report.

The report – which was commissioned by the Department of Housing - 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 last week.

In the letter to some 100,000 people who live in the county council area, city mayor Tony Fitzgerald looked to reassure those affected by the proposals that being part of the city would offer Cork the best opportunity to grow.

Fitzgerald said that he was “deeply disappointed by recent attempts to whip up unnecessary fear in communities”.

“In Cork City, a growing economy has not led to a growing population as it was strangled by an outdated city boundary that had not been extended since 1965,” Fitzgerald said.

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Fitzgerald stated that the extension of the city boundary would not stop access to national or EU rural funding streams.

He also stated that the move would mean “greater spending per citizen in the expanded area”. He claimed that in 2017, the city council spent €1,363 per citizen on public services, while the county council spent €717.

I am very happy that citizens will enjoy an improved quality of life in strong communities.
Citizens will benefit from Cork City Council’s proven track record in community development, sports funding, social inclusion, arts and recreation as well as in meeting housing needs.

Arguing that the quality of life in Cork County was better than that of Cork City, Hurley referred to a 2004 city residents’ satisfaction survey.

“The city’s document shows Cork City’s rating as a place to live at 77% (77% of residents rate the city as a fairly good or very good place to live),” Hurley said.

“Cork County Council’s own recent Local Economic and Community Plan contains similar county-related quality of life survey data. It shows that 92% of county residents agree that where they live is a great place to live.”

Rounding off his comments, Hurley said:

I detect a departure from what has been a fruitful joint approach to the Cork region’s development since the 1970s.

Government plans

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 that the group’s first task is to present a detailed implementation plan by September 2017.

“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”.

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

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

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