Proposed expansion of Cork city not a land grab, say city councillors

Cork city councillors say it’s time to get on with implementing Mackinnon expansion

A map of the Cork City Council area with areas (in yellow) which Cork County Council proposed to transfer.

A map of the Cork City Council area with areas (in yellow) which Cork County Council proposed to transfer.

 

The proposed expansion of Cork city as recommended by the Mackinnon report on local government reform in Cork is not a land grab, members of Cork City Council have insisted.

The city council last night rejected an offer from Cork County Council to cede land to the urban local authority.

Some 21 councillors from the 31 member council were present at the special meeting and they unanimously backed a report by Cork City CEO, Ann Doherty rejecting the county council offer of land to the city as being contrary to the principles and rationale of the Mackinnon report.

Sinn Féin Cllr Chris O’Leary said that Minister for Housing, Environment and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy had accepted the Mackinnon report with its proposal for a sizeable expansion of Cork city and it wasn’t for Cork City Council to entertain any other proposal.

“The Mackinnnon report isn’t about a land grab or seizing of territory - it’s about creating a city with a population of 500,000 that can serve as a driver of economic growth in the entire Cork region for the benefit of everyone,” said Cllr O’Leary.

Fine Gael Cllr John Buttimer said that the genesis of the reform stemmed from former Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan back in 2012 when he warned that if Cork City Council and Cork County Council could not agree an expansion for the city, then a solution would be imposed.

“This isn’t about a land grab or money and it isn’t about a line on a map - it’s about delivering local services to people in a coherent manner,” said Cllr Buttimer, adding there was need for clarity on the boundary so estates aren’t cut in two as happens with the current city/county divide.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Tim Brosnan was scathing in his criticism of Cork County Council’s approach, pointing out that Cork City Council had been raising the issue of an expansion of the city for over 20 years but it had fallen on deaf ears at County Hall until it was now faced with the Mackinnon report.

He said that Cork County Council knew the time for negotiation was over and he was highly critical of comments by Cork County Council member Cllr Michael Hegarty of Fine Gael who suggested at a recent county council meeting that the county would allow the city have Glanmire.

“I have never heard anything so cynical - as if local government was some sort of horse-trading - I quoted Michael Hegarty from Fine Gael but I could have just as easily quoted some of them in my own party - some of these county councillors are on another planet on this issue,” he said.

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy welcomed Cork County Council’s recognition of the fact that the city needs to expand but the county council offer was far too modest, excluding the likes of Glanmire and Cork Airport which were integral to the growth of the city.