Cork City Council to agree plan today to increase city boundary

While city council supports plan, county council warns of potential negative impacts

Cork City Council is expected to approve a local government reform report today which recommends a boundary extension that would increase the city's population by 100,000.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Des Cahill said he would formally seek approval from the 31 member council for Report of the Expert Advisory Group on Local Government Arrangements in Cork which was published on Friday.

The report, which follows a review chaired by former chief planner for Scotland, Jim Mackinnon, recommends the retention of two separate local authorities but with Cork city granted a boundary extension.

Under the plan Cork city would expand to include Douglas, Donnybrook, Grange, Frankfield, Rochestown, Ballincollig, Tower, Blarney, Rathpeacon, Glanmire, Little Island, Carrigtwohill and Cork Airport but Passage West, Monkstown, Carrigaline or Ringaskiddy would remain in the county.

The report proposes Cork City Council would pay €40 million per year for ten years to Cork County Council to compensate for the loss of revenue from local property tax and commercial rates which it will lose with the transfer.

Cllr Cahill said Cork City Council had consistently and unanimously asserted a boundary extension was the correct solution for a new model of Local Government for Cork.

“A healthy and independent city is critical to drive economic growth and the wealth of the region,” he said.

"Ireland needs a rebalancing of growth and prosperity. The country is crying out for a counterbalance to Dublin."

However, the position adopted by the city council contrasts strongly with Cork County Council which is "deeply disappointed" with the report, describing it as "a missed opportunity" and calling for clarification on a number of points.

Cork County Council is seeking clarification on the status of the new report given the existence of the previous statutory Smiddy report from 2015 which advocated a merger of the two local authorities.

The county council also wants clarity on the exact position of the proposed boundary expansion as well as specific information on the financial compensation.

The county council also wants information on the proposed timeline for implementation of the city expansion and more information on the membership and terms of reference of an implementation body included in the report’s recommendations.

Mayor of Cork County Cllr Seamus McGrath said his council was “not in a position to accept the report until such time as the council ..... has received satisfactory responses to a wide range of clarifications, including issues in relation to the above key areas”.

Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey said the proposed changes would have a major impact on the county and the challenge was to ensure the provision of services was not negatively impacted.