Dáil will pass legislation to allow for Cork city expansion, FF predicts

FF and FG will support legislation to give effect to controversial extension, says Terry Shannon

Legislation allowing Cork city to expand to become a city of 200,000 will be passed in Dáil Éireann later this year, a close confidante of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has predicted.

The former lord mayor of Cork and current Fianna Fáil councillor for Cork South East, Terry Shannon, said that he was confident that Minister for Local Government Eoghan Murphy will receive the necessary support from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs to extend Cork city's boundary to include Ballincollig, Cork airport, Glanmire, Blarney and Tower.

The proposed boundary represented a compromise as it excluded Carrigtwohill and Little island which had also been recommended for inclusion in the city in the Mackinnon report on local government reform in Cork published in June 2017.

But the compromise deal agreed between Cork City Council CEO, Ann Doherty and Cork County CEO, Tim Lucey to expand the city into these areas, which was then recommended by the Government appointed Implementation Oversight Group (IOG), has not been without controversy.

Cork County Council voted by 28 votes to 5 on December 15th to reject the compromise deal with some of the most vociferous opposition, particularly to the inclusion of Blarney and Tower in the extension, coming from Fianna Fáil members of the council.

But Cllr Shannon expressed confidence that Fianna Fáil TDs would back the primary legislation to give effect to the changes when it comes before Dáil Éireann despite the fact that many rural Cork Fianna Fail TDs expressed opposition to the Mackinnon report upon which the extension is based.

Fianna Fail TDs, Aindrias Moynihan (Cork North West), Margaret Murphy O'Mahony (Cork South West) and Kevin O'Keeffe (Cork East), all former county councillors, were present at a council meeting on December 11th when many Fianna Fail councillors criticised the compromise deal.


And the strong Fianna Fail opposition to the compromise deal, and in particular the inclusion of Blarney and Tower, came despite a plea before the meeting from Mr Martin to accept the compromise proposal as being in the best interests of Cork city and county.

However Cllr Shannon, who is a close confidante of Mr Martin, told The Irish Times he was confident the primary legislation will pass in the Dáil despite the stated opposition by some rural Cork TDs to the Mackinnon proposal in an Irish Examiner survey of Cork TDs and Senators in September.

“I think there will be a bit off huffing and puffing but they (rural Cork Fianna Fail TDs) will do well to remember that they are city councillors as well as county councillors they have to be mindful of - people need to get away from the parochial and look at the bigger picture here for Cork,” he said.

Meanwhile a former Sinn Féin lord mayor of Cork, Cllr Chris O’Leary has accused some members of Cork County Council of engaging in the worst kind of “gombeen” politics in their opposition to the compromised deal agreed between the two councils’ CEOs.

"A deal was agreed between the two CEOs and both the Lord Mayor of Cork city and the County Mayor issued a statement welcoming the deal and then a week later, the county council voted to reject it - they are deluded gombeens if they think this is going to stop the expansion of Cork city," he said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times