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Region will suffer under merger says Fianna Fáil leader

September 17th, 2015 8:03 PM

By Southern Star Team

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By Siobhan Cronin

 

and Brian Moore

WEST Cork is likely to suffer hugely if the proposed merger of the City and County Councils goes through, Fianna Fáil party leader Micheal Martin has said.

Deputy Martin, a former Lord Mayor, said there are serious flaws with the argument put forward in the Smiddy Report published this week.

The report recommends the merger, adding that the county should have three separate divisions within the one Council – Cork Metropolitan, Cork North and East, and Cork West and South.

‘This is simply unworkable and will hamper Cork’s ability to attract investment and employment,’ said Deputy Martin. ‘I genuinely believe that the south-west region will suffer hugely if a strong independent Cork city is not driving investment, promotion and job creation.’

He added that many towns had already lost local democratic councils and more centralised power would ‘further isolate many communities from decision making’.

However, former County Mayor Alan Coleman, who left Fianna Fail to become an Independent councillor this year, disagrees with Deputy Martin.

‘I feel that West Cork has got the best possible outcome from the boundary review committee,’ he told the Southern Star. ‘West Cork can benefit hugely .There will be cost savings from synergies which can be reinvested in front line services and improving infrastructure and roads in our region.

There is proof that there will be savings. Joining of forces will save money as seen in the Tipperary amalgamation which has yielded savings of €3m in just 10 months. This would be, on a relative scale, be a far larger sum in Cork. These extra funds could be invested in necessary services, economic development,housing and enhancing roads,’ he suggested.

There was also a mixed reaction when members of the West Cork Municipal District met in Bantry on Monday.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said he was in favour of the merger, while Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he had strong reservations about it. ‘I can see areas such as the islands and the peninsulas being forgotten about,’ he said.

The meeting’s chairman, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, said he would prefer to see the status quo remain. ‘There is a serious risk that rural areas in West Cork will be set back should this merger go ahead,’ he said.

His fears were echoed by Cllr Michael Collins: ‘‘At the moment we are all coming to terms with the fact that we have gone from 12 down to eight councilors, representing this huge area. My biggest worry is that rural villages and towns will lose out if this merger should go ahead.’

Fianna Fail election candidate Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony is also against the plan. ‘I’m concerned about the erosion of local democracy and how strong a voice towns like Bandon, Bantry, Clonakilty and Skibbereen would have in a major new structure that’s being proposed. Centralised power isn’t always better for local communities. We’ve already lost a huge connection to local government when the government scrapped town councils,’ she said.

It is unlikely there will be any immediate move to merge the Councils, as the report suggests that ‘substantial elements’ of the new system should be developed and implemented in the run-up to the next local elections, due in mid-2019.

 

By Siobhan Cronin

 

and Brian Moore

WEST Cork is likely to suffer hugely if the proposed merger of the City and County Councils goes through, Fianna Fáil party leader Micheal Martin has said.

Deputy Martin, a former Lord Mayor, said there are serious flaws with the argument put forward in the Smiddy Report published this week.

The report recommends the merger, adding that the county should have three separate divisions within the one Council – Cork Metropolitan, Cork North and East, and Cork West and South.

‘This is simply unworkable and will hamper Cork’s ability to attract investment and employment,’ said Deputy Martin. ‘I genuinely believe that the south-west region will suffer hugely if a strong independent Cork city is not driving investment, promotion and job creation.’

He added that many towns had already lost local democratic councils and more centralised power would ‘further isolate many communities from decision making’.

However, former County Mayor Alan Coleman, who left Fianna Fail to become an Independent councillor this year, disagrees with Deputy Martin.

‘I feel that West Cork has got the best possible outcome from the boundary review committee,’ he told the Southern Star. ‘West Cork can benefit hugely .There will be cost savings from synergies which can be reinvested in front line services and improving infrastructure and roads in our region.

There is proof that there will be savings. Joining of forces will save money as seen in the Tipperary amalgamation which has yielded savings of €3m in just 10 months. This would be, on a relative scale, be a far larger sum in Cork. These extra funds could be invested in necessary services, economic development,housing and enhancing roads,’ he suggested.

There was also a mixed reaction when members of the West Cork Municipal District met in Bantry on Monday.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said he was in favour of the merger, while Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he had strong reservations about it. ‘I can see areas such as the islands and the peninsulas being forgotten about,’ he said.

The meeting’s chairman, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, said he would prefer to see the status quo remain. ‘There is a serious risk that rural areas in West Cork will be set back should this merger go ahead,’ he said.

His fears were echoed by Cllr Michael Collins: ‘‘At the moment we are all coming to terms with the fact that we have gone from 12 down to eight councilors, representing this huge area. My biggest worry is that rural villages and towns will lose out if this merger should go ahead.’

Fianna Fail election candidate Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony is also against the plan. ‘I’m concerned about the erosion of local democracy and how strong a voice towns like Bandon, Bantry, Clonakilty and Skibbereen would have in a major new structure that’s being proposed. Centralised power isn’t always better for local communities. We’ve already lost a huge connection to local government when the government scrapped town councils,’ she said.

It is unlikely there will be any immediate move to merge the Councils, as the report suggests that ‘substantial elements’ of the new system should be developed and implemented in the run-up to the next local elections, due in mid-2019.

 

By Siobhan Cronin

 

and Brian Moore

WEST Cork is likely to suffer hugely if the proposed merger of the City and County Councils goes through, Fianna Fáil party leader Micheal Martin has said.

Deputy Martin, a former Lord Mayor, said there are serious flaws with the argument put forward in the Smiddy Report published this week.

The report recommends the merger, adding that the county should have three separate divisions within the one Council – Cork Metropolitan, Cork North and East, and Cork West and South.

‘This is simply unworkable and will hamper Cork’s ability to attract investment and employment,’ said Deputy Martin. ‘I genuinely believe that the south-west region will suffer hugely if a strong independent Cork city is not driving investment, promotion and job creation.’

He added that many towns had already lost local democratic councils and more centralised power would ‘further isolate many communities from decision making’.

However, former County Mayor Alan Coleman, who left Fianna Fail to become an Independent councillor this year, disagrees with Deputy Martin.

‘I feel that West Cork has got the best possible outcome from the boundary review committee,’ he told the Southern Star. ‘West Cork can benefit hugely .There will be cost savings from synergies which can be reinvested in front line services and improving infrastructure and roads in our region.

There is proof that there will be savings. Joining of forces will save money as seen in the Tipperary amalgamation which has yielded savings of €3m in just 10 months. This would be, on a relative scale, be a far larger sum in Cork. These extra funds could be invested in necessary services, economic development,housing and enhancing roads,’ he suggested.

There was also a mixed reaction when members of the West Cork Municipal District met in Bantry on Monday.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said he was in favour of the merger, while Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he had strong reservations about it. ‘I can see areas such as the islands and the peninsulas being forgotten about,’ he said.

The meeting’s chairman, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, said he would prefer to see the status quo remain. ‘There is a serious risk that rural areas in West Cork will be set back should this merger go ahead,’ he said.

His fears were echoed by Cllr Michael Collins: ‘‘At the moment we are all coming to terms with the fact that we have gone from 12 down to eight councilors, representing this huge area. My biggest worry is that rural villages and towns will lose out if this merger should go ahead.’

Fianna Fail election candidate Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony is also against the plan. ‘I’m concerned about the erosion of local democracy and how strong a voice towns like Bandon, Bantry, Clonakilty and Skibbereen would have in a major new structure that’s being proposed. Centralised power isn’t always better for local communities. We’ve already lost a huge connection to local government when the government scrapped town councils,’ she said.

It is unlikely there will be any immediate move to merge the Councils, as the report suggests that ‘substantial elements’ of the new system should be developed and implemented in the run-up to the next local elections, due in mid-2019.

 

By Siobhan Cronin

 

and Brian Moore

WEST Cork is likely to suffer hugely if the proposed merger of the City and County Councils goes through, Fianna Fáil party leader Micheal Martin has said.

Deputy Martin, a former Lord Mayor, said there are serious flaws with the argument put forward in the Smiddy Report published this week.

The report recommends the merger, adding that the county should have three separate divisions within the one Council – Cork Metropolitan, Cork North and East, and Cork West and South.

‘This is simply unworkable and will hamper Cork’s ability to attract investment and employment,’ said Deputy Martin. ‘I genuinely believe that the south-west region will suffer hugely if a strong independent Cork city is not driving investment, promotion and job creation.’

He added that many towns had already lost local democratic councils and more centralised power would ‘further isolate many communities from decision making’.

However, former County Mayor Alan Coleman, who left Fianna Fail to become an Independent councillor this year, disagrees with Deputy Martin.

‘I feel that West Cork has got the best possible outcome from the boundary review committee,’ he told the Southern Star. ‘West Cork can benefit hugely .There will be cost savings from synergies which can be reinvested in front line services and improving infrastructure and roads in our region.

There is proof that there will be savings. Joining of forces will save money as seen in the Tipperary amalgamation which has yielded savings of €3m in just 10 months. This would be, on a relative scale, be a far larger sum in Cork. These extra funds could be invested in necessary services, economic development,housing and enhancing roads,’ he suggested.

There was also a mixed reaction when members of the West Cork Municipal District met in Bantry on Monday.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said he was in favour of the merger, while Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he had strong reservations about it. ‘I can see areas such as the islands and the peninsulas being forgotten about,’ he said.

The meeting’s chairman, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, said he would prefer to see the status quo remain. ‘There is a serious risk that rural areas in West Cork will be set back should this merger go ahead,’ he said.

His fears were echoed by Cllr Michael Collins: ‘‘At the moment we are all coming to terms with the fact that we have gone from 12 down to eight councilors, representing this huge area. My biggest worry is that rural villages and towns will lose out if this merger should go ahead.’

Fianna Fail election candidate Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony is also against the plan. ‘I’m concerned about the erosion of local democracy and how strong a voice towns like Bandon, Bantry, Clonakilty and Skibbereen would have in a major new structure that’s being proposed. Centralised power isn’t always better for local communities. We’ve already lost a huge connection to local government when the government scrapped town councils,’ she said.

It is unlikely there will be any immediate move to merge the Councils, as the report suggests that ‘substantial elements’ of the new system should be developed and implemented in the run-up to the next local elections, due in mid-2019.

 

By Siobhan Cronin

 

and Brian Moore

WEST Cork is likely to suffer hugely if the proposed merger of the City and County Councils goes through, Fianna Fáil party leader Micheal Martin has said.

Deputy Martin, a former Lord Mayor, said there are serious flaws with the argument put forward in the Smiddy Report published this week.

The report recommends the merger, adding that the county should have three separate divisions within the one Council – Cork Metropolitan, Cork North and East, and Cork West and South.

‘This is simply unworkable and will hamper Cork’s ability to attract investment and employment,’ said Deputy Martin. ‘I genuinely believe that the south-west region will suffer hugely if a strong independent Cork city is not driving investment, promotion and job creation.’

He added that many towns had already lost local democratic councils and more centralised power would ‘further isolate many communities from decision making’.

However, former County Mayor Alan Coleman, who left Fianna Fail to become an Independent councillor this year, disagrees with Deputy Martin.

‘I feel that West Cork has got the best possible outcome from the boundary review committee,’ he told the Southern Star. ‘West Cork can benefit hugely .There will be cost savings from synergies which can be reinvested in front line services and improving infrastructure and roads in our region.

There is proof that there will be savings. Joining of forces will save money as seen in the Tipperary amalgamation which has yielded savings of €3m in just 10 months. This would be, on a relative scale, be a far larger sum in Cork. These extra funds could be invested in necessary services, economic development,housing and enhancing roads,’ he suggested.

There was also a mixed reaction when members of the West Cork Municipal District met in Bantry on Monday.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said he was in favour of the merger, while Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he had strong reservations about it. ‘I can see areas such as the islands and the peninsulas being forgotten about,’ he said.

The meeting’s chairman, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, said he would prefer to see the status quo remain. ‘There is a serious risk that rural areas in West Cork will be set back should this merger go ahead,’ he said.

His fears were echoed by Cllr Michael Collins: ‘‘At the moment we are all coming to terms with the fact that we have gone from 12 down to eight councilors, representing this huge area. My biggest worry is that rural villages and towns will lose out if this merger should go ahead.’

Fianna Fail election candidate Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony is also against the plan. ‘I’m concerned about the erosion of local democracy and how strong a voice towns like Bandon, Bantry, Clonakilty and Skibbereen would have in a major new structure that’s being proposed. Centralised power isn’t always better for local communities. We’ve already lost a huge connection to local government when the government scrapped town councils,’ she said.

It is unlikely there will be any immediate move to merge the Councils, as the report suggests that ‘substantial elements’ of the new system should be developed and implemented in the run-up to the next local elections, due in mid-2019.

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