Clare hurlers might have to play for Limerick if boundary changes, Dáil told

McKinnon report calls for the Cork city boundary to be extended into the county area

Independent Clare TD Michael Harty: claimed many successful Clare hurlers were from parts of the county that might end up in Limerick under proposed boundary changes in the McKinnon report

Independent Clare TD Michael Harty: claimed many successful Clare hurlers were from parts of the county that might end up in Limerick under proposed boundary changes in the McKinnon report

 

Clare hurlers might end up having to play for Limerick if proposed county boundary changes are implemented, the Dáil has been warned.

Independent Clare TD Michael Harty claimed many successful Clare hurlers were from parts of the county that might end up in Limerick under proposed boundary changes in the McKinnon report.

He was speaking during debate on a private member’s motion by the Rural Independent group of TDs calling for the Government to reject the McKinnon report recommendations.

The document’s main proposal calls for the Cork city boundary to be extended into the county area which has provoked deep division within the county council and threats of legal action to prevent it going ahead.

The McKinnon expert report also proposes boundary changes between Clare and Limerick, Waterford, Kerry, Roscommon and Westmeath.

Minister of State for Environment John Paul Phelan said there would have to be change. “I do think, for the provision of local authority services and to be representative of the communities they serve, it is my position that the status quo cannot remain in place,’’ he said, acknowledging that some of the concerns raised were legitimate.

Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy is to introduce a Bill requiring any proposed boundary changes to be subject to a plebiscite in the affected communities.

The Rural Independent group is supporting consideration of the Local Government (Amendment) Bill which the Roscommon-Galway TD will introduce on Thursday.

Local opposition

Dr Harty said the boundary change had been previously proposed in 2010 and provoked huge local opposition which resulted in the plan being abandoned.

He said “boundaries should not be interfered with lightly by technocrats and bureaucrats” who took no account of sporting, historical and cultural factors.

The “annexation of southeast Clare” would not help Clare.

And he believed boundary changes were another part of the dismantling of local government.

Rural Independent group TD Michael Collins introduced the motion calling for the Government to reject the McKinnon report which proposes the expansion of Cork City Council into the county boundary.

The Cork South West TD said the McKinnon report should be “binned”.

Mr Collins said the population would nearly double from 125,000 to 225,000 and it would further exacerbate the urban/rural divide within Cork county council.

He said the proposed change would result in an estimated €80 million in losses for the county through property taxes and commercial rates and would further deprive the county of public infrastructure services. Businesses were concerned that they would be “hit by increased commercial rates and insurance” by moving from county to city status.

He said the negativity was felt on both sides of the boundary and it sent the message that the Government “does not like rural Ireland”.

The Minister of State said no final decision had been made at this point.

Recommendations

A local government committee had been established in 2015 to carry out a review of arrangements in Cork and make recommendations on whether the boundary between the city and county should be altered.

The committee had recommended the amalgamation of the two city and county authorities.

In view of the lack of consensus on the issue, a Cork local government expert advisory group was established to advise on relevant options.

He said any boundary change would be predicated on sound financial due diligence.

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae claimed the move was a “blatant attempt to pauperise the people of Cork and Kerry and other local communities that would be affected by boundary changes”.

He warned Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil that “you’ll be doing a lot of wrong to the people you represent if you go through with this”.