CORK County Council looks set to lose Cork Airport, Blarney, Douglas and Ballincollig to Cork City Council, under the revised boundary plans, amid fears that West Cork will suffer as the county area could lose out on almost €19m in annual rates.
While Glounthaune and Little Island will remain in the remit of Cork County Council, one West Cork councillor said he was very unhappy with the outcome of the negotiations.
Speaking to The Southern Star, following a lengthy briefing on the proposal at the Council chambers on Monday night, Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan described it as ‘a sad day for Cork.’
‘It’s a huge land grab by Cork City Council of the more lucrative parts of our county. West Cork, in particular, will suffer from the huge loss of rates income that Cork County Council will experience by losing towns like Ballincollig and Blarney. As a local authority, we will now find it very difficult to provide simple services in areas like West Cork,’ predicted Cllr O’Sullivan.
He also cited this as another example of how the roles of county councillors have been eroded, and that their relevance is ‘very quickly deteriorating’ – a ‘worrying trend.’
‘We have even lost Cork Airport, which the Council has been working hard to develop and enhance. We have just thrown away all our good work,’ he claimed.
However, county mayor Cllr Declan Hurley has welcomed the revised boundary plan and expressed his satisfaction that both sides have achieved ‘considerable progress’.
The Dunmanway farmer said the developments ‘provide a solid basis to move forward – on a joint collaborative basis – to drive the entire city and county of Cork as the leading economic region outside of Dublin, and that is great news for Cork.’
While Cork County Council is ceding ‘significant territory’ to the city, he admitted, it will continue to retain responsibility for a large portion of its overall strategic employment areas. ‘Both Councils acknowledged that it was unlikely that they would each achieve all that they individually sought to achieve,’ said Cllr Hurley.
The agreed boundary changes will be submitted to Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy for cabinet approval next Tuesday and it is expected to be debated intensely at next Monday’s Cork County Council meeting.
It has also been mooted that a vote should be taken at Monday’s meeting to allow the public to see which councillors were in favour of the move, and which ones opposed it.