BY SIOBHAN CRONIN and Â
THE people of West Cork are not fully aware of the huge consequences for the region, if the current proposals to redraw the City Council's boundary go ahead, according to a local councillor.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said this week that many people do not realise how West Cork will lose out hugely in funding and Council staff, if the plans get the green light.
And he added that local councillors are hoping to call a public meeting within days to inform the public about the boundary changes which could begin as soon as next month.
There was a lot of anger expressed locally after a meeting of the City Council on Monday rejected suggestions offered by the County Council for a revised boundary.Â
Under current plans, the City would extend to include Blarney, Ballincollig, Killumney, Ovens and Tower, among other outlying areas.
The new City area would then be entitled to recover lucrative extra rates, including from large companies like EMC/Dell, which was previously in the County area.
The County Council has since produced an alternative boundary extension, which it hoped would satisfy both local authorities. This would not include Ballincollig or Ovens, but would instead take land from parts of the docklands areas, Mahon, Blackpool, Kinsale Road and Tivoli.Â
But the City Council appeared to reject that alternative outright at Monday's meeting.
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said he was disappointed with the City Council's response in dismissing the well-thought-out proposal and to not even enter negotiations with the County to see how it could be adjusted.
Cllr Carroll said that five Cork TDs had come on board promising to write to Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy â Billy Kelleher, Michael McGrath, Aindreas Moynihan, Michael Moynihan and Kevin O'Keeffe â to outline their opposition to the current plan.
âWe were under the impression that we could debate this with the City Council, but now it appears as if the Expert Advisory Group has been told to go ahead and implement this, and possibly as soon as September,' said an angry Cllr Carroll.
âPeople in West Cork don't realise what this will mean. It will have huge consequences for funding in outlying areas, and if you think the roads are bad now, they will be even worse then. There is talk of about 500 staff moving from the County Council to the City if this goes ahead,' he claimed, adding that this would be a disaster for the county and cause a lot of upset, as it had already been estimated that just 50 staff would make the change if the move was voluntary.
âThis is going to get much more serious,' he said. âWest Cork will just get a pittance if this goes ahead, and they mention compensation, but that will only last a few years and then it will be gone, so that means nothing to us.'
Cllr Murphy agreed, saying: âWe are looking at a potential loss of budget of â¬86m in rates and property tax â¦ if you lose this amount of a budget naturally the rural periphery areas like West Cork will suffer,' added Cllr Murphy.
Cllr Carroll also issued a warning about jobs: âI don't see any factory ever coming to West Cork again if this goes ahead, with the space the City will then occupy. The big problem here is that MÃcheÃ¡l Martin and Simon Coveney are driving this.'