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Proposal to redraw Waterford - Kilkenny boundary 'will leave a very bitter taste'

A report from Waterford Boundary Committee recommended redrawing the boundary between south Kilkenny and Waterford
Feb 14th 2017, 4:53 PM 28,293 67

 

MapofBoundaries2 Proposed Kilkenny and Waterford border change. Source: Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Updated: 11:45 15/02/2017

PROPOSAL TO REDRAW the boundaries between Waterford and Kilkenny has drawn criticism in the Marble County.

“We don’t want our identity to be changed,” said Councillor Ger Frisby after Kilkenny County Council unanimously rejected a proposal to redraw the boundaries between the two counties.

The proposed change is contained in a report by the Waterford Boundary Review committee, which was published last week. It recommended a redrawing of the boundary where land from south Kilkenny would be transferred to Waterford, affecting approximately 4,500 people, to make it easier for local governments to be more effective in the area.

Frisby, who lives in the the area that would be affected by the boundary change, said the parish of Slieverue will effectively be split in two between Kilkenny and Waterford.

Speaking to theJournal.ie  he said: “We completely object [to the boundary change], you are talking about a person’s county, a person’s parish”.

Frisby added “[it] is so divisive, people in the area are so proud of their identity and  any change will leave a very bitter taste”.

Yesterday, Kilkenny County Council voted unanimously to give “not an inch” of Kilkenny land to Waterford and it is demanding a meeting with Minister Simon Coveney to discuss the matter.

However, former Mayor of Waterford Councillor John Cummins disagrees and has called on the boundary recommendations to be implemented.

Cummins said, “Using historic boundaries in modern day Ireland is not appropriate, cities in particular must be allowed to expand into what is their natural hinterland and for too long Waterford has been like a bird with one wing with only south side development in evidence.

The reality is Waterford City has to expand Northwards in the decade ahead as South side development land is limited and it is only natural therefore that this area is administered by Waterford City and County Council.

Cummins has called on the government to implement the recommendations of the report as a matter of urgency.

“This has the potential, along with the Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework which is focusing on the growth of regional cities to be game changer for Waterford and the entire southeast region.” said Cummins.

Waterford Boundary Review Committee

The committee that produced the boundary report was established under the previous government to review the administrative boundaries between the city and county of Waterford and County Kilkenny.

It is one of four such boundary reviews that are being carried out around the country.

The committee was asked to make recommendations on the boundary between Waterford and Kilkenny on what it considers to be necessary in the interests of what would be effective and convenient for local government.

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Over the course of the review the committee received close to 20,000 submissions.

Most of the submissions were opposed to the boundary change, citing a sense of identity and belonging to County Kilkenny, as well as financial implications to Kilkenny due to loss of tax revenue.

However, the committee did receive submissions advocating for the changing of the boundary, with many of the respondents saying that Kilkenny County Council has never invested properly in the area and that residents would benefit from a closer proximity to a service provider.

Kilkenny County Council 

After the vote yesterday, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Matt Doran wrote to Minister Coveney to convey the council’s dismay, anger and disappointment about the issue.

Frisby went on to say that the council will be engaging in the consultation process going forward for Ireland 2040, the new National Planning Framework, which is a national strategy for long-term planning and development across Ireland. 

But Frisby feels that the 20,000 submissions from the public were not taken into account by the boundary review committee when making their recommendations.

However, the decision on the boundary change has not been made yet and it is yet to be considered by Minister Coveney.

A spokesman for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said that “The Minister will consider the report and its implications very carefully in the context both of ongoing work in relation to the future of local government in Ireland and also the development of Ireland 2040, the new National Planning Framework over the coming months.

“We would encourage people in the counties included in the boundary reviews to use the Reports to take part in the consultation process on the Plan. This is an important opportunity for them to get their views across on the future of the country, their regions, their counties, their local areas and their communities.”

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Ronan Smyth

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