THE first, and possibly the last, West Cork Municipal District to be held in Courtmacsherry, took place recently.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF), who lives in the coastal village, welcomed the elected representatives and the officials to the Courtmacsherry Hotel, but described the meeting as ‘bittersweet’ because Courtmacsherry might be coming under the jurisdiction of the Bandon Kinsale Municipal District.
The impending decision by the Government-appointed Boundary Commission could, in fact, see the entire Timoleague, Courtmacsherry and Seven Heads Peninsula region taken out of the West Cork district altogether.
The boundary review is a follow-on from the city boundary extension, and it is now being proposed that West Cork be split into two electoral areas.
Towns and villages – such as Bantry, Castletownbere, Schull and Glengarriff – will be in the west of the constituency with Skibbereen, Clonakilty and Dunmanway in the east. But areas east of Clonakilty – including Ring, Darrara, Butlerstown, Lislevane, Courtmacsherry and Timoleague – could be moved into the Bandon area.
Cllr Hayes said: ‘This goes against the wishes of the vast majority of people in Courtmacsherry and Timoleague, who have long established ties with Clonakilty and West Cork.’
A number of organisations and individuals have already made submissions to the Boundary Commission, including Courtmacsherry Development Association, asking for Courtmacsherry to be kept in the West Cork Municipal District.
Cllr Hayes said: ‘If this goes ahead I will have a tough decision to make as to where to stand in the local elections next year.
‘Do I stand in the West Cork area where I have been working with communities for the last four years, at least, since being elected in 2014, and potentially lose out on the votes around where I live in Courtmacsherry? Or do I leave my natural base of Clonakilty and stand in the Bandon Kinsale Municipal District instead?’
Because Cllr Rachel McCarthy (SF) will not be seeking re-election, Cllr Hayes is likely to have the backing of his party wherever he decides to stand.
But the councillor said: ‘My preference would be to remain in the West Cork Municipal District with Courtmacsherry still a part of West Cork.’