Concern over peninsula’s future as Barryroe is annexed in boundary changes
BY MARTIN WALSH
WEST Cork now has its own Brexit – the ‘Barryroe exit’ – a meeting on the changes to local election boundaries heard this week.
The West Cork municipal district is to be controversially split in two, with Barryroe, along with the villages of Ring, Darrara, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry, Lislevane and Butlerstown, being moved into the Bandon/Kinsale municipal district.
But the message from the packed meeting in Courtmacsherry on Monday night was: ‘West does not want to go East.’
The meeting, which was called by SF Cllr Paul Hayes and attended by Dáil deputies Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) and Michael Collins (Ind), along with Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF), heard the Boundary Commission’s recommendations are due to be in place for next May’s local elections.
Cllr O’Sullivan gave a simple geographical representation of the situation. ‘Everybody knows where SuperValu in Clonakilty is. Well, just go down the Ring Road about 100m and, according to the proposal, you will then be in the Bandon/Kinsale Electoral District. How ridiculous is that?’
There were apologies from county mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy and Cllr Danny Collins, both of whom are opposed to the proposal.
An email on behalf of FG TD Jim Daly stated that neither he, nor or any other minister or TD, has any input ‘whatsoever’ into the decisions of an independent electoral commission.
It added that Minister Daly did not believe that politicians should decide where an electoral boundary should be drawn.
A member of the attendance promptly responded: ‘Wait until he comes around at election time.’ But Cllr O’Sullivan claimed: ‘Minister Daly is wrong, the independent electoral commission cannot make decisions, they can only make recommendations and the Minister (Murphy/ Phelan) has it within his own remit to make the decision.’
The meeting heard views that the region would be in a ‘state of limbo’ for two to three years if the proposal goes ahead.
Others claimed it could become ‘a forgotten peninsula’.
Deputy Collins said the changes were against the will of the people, while Deputy Murphy O’Mahony added that the Boundary Commission had no real West Cork person involved and the area should continue to be linked to Clonakilty.
One attendee queried Fianna Fáil’s Mícheál Martin’s stance on the matter, given that he holidays in Courtmacsherry and intimated that the party leader should make it an issue under the confidence and supply deal with Fine Gael.
Former Clonakilty town councillors John Loughnan and Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin also added their support to retain the status quo.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony added: ‘This community must be listened to, not someone in Dublin putting a pin on a map.’
When contacted by The Southern Star, Cllr Declan Hurley explained that he had a prior commitment with a youth meeting in Dunmanway and he had told Cllr Hayes that it was unlikely that he would be there.
He added that he would prefer to see Courtmacsherry and Timoleague and the other areas mentioned staying in West Cork.
Cllr Hurley added that it was still worth pursuing the matter. Meanwhile, Cllr John O’Sullivan did not respond to efforts to seek a comment on the issue.