County Mayor says city boundary proposals are ill conceived

The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley, has described the Mackinnon report as “ill conceived”.

The County Mayor made his comments in the context of the proposed boundary line as put forward by Mackinnon.

The Mayor commented, “It is quite clear that whoever sketched the boundary line for the Mackinnon Committee has little or no knowledge of the geography of Cork. Actually, it’s more reminiscent of a child’s scribble on a map than a logical, considered conclusion. It is a matter of complete wonder to me how anyone could believe that it would work in reality. It would appear to me that the authors have no practical knowledge of Cork or of how local government services are best delivered. For community groups in Ballincollig and the affected areas to be denied access to community funding programmes – such as LEADER to name but one – is “a stake in the heart” for those communities.

“For residents and farmers in Carrigtwohill to be regarded as city dwellers is nothing short of a joke. Except that this is no joking matter. For businesses in Blarney to become City ratepayers is ridiculous. It’s simply madness. This report has had little regard to its own terms of reference in relation to service delivery or financial and resource implications. To proceed with implementation of this proposed boundary in the complete absence of such assessment is nothing short of reckless.”

The County Mayor highlighted the ridiculousness of the situation, “What people may not realise is this: the Mackinnon report provides for Cork City to be more than double the physical size of Dublin City. How crazy is that? Dublin being the capital, Cork being the second city, and yet Cork would be two and a half times larger than Dublin in geographic area. In fact, the population density in Dublin would be 6 times greater than that of Cork. There is no sense or meaning to that. What will that achieve? Cork is already viewed externally by investors as an area with a metropolitan population of 399,216 – just ask Google and Wikipedia.

“A line on a map is of little significance. Furthermore, can we realistically believe that the City Council could manage such an area effectively given its extent? It is certain that services will suffer and the cost to ordinary people will increase. Mark my words. Belfast is an interesting example which the City have identified as a comparator. Belfast was granted a sizeable extension in 2014, and it is still half the size of Mackinnon and that’s with a population in Belfast of 338,907 people as opposed to a proposed 225,000 population in a Mackinnon Cork. And its not just Dublin and Belfast – Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Paris – all would have a population density of at least 5 or 6 times that of Cork. Can anyone see the sense or reasoning to that?”

“On the one hand Government is talking about growing Cork and promoting city living, yet Mackinnon will deliver the exact opposite by diluting the city. This is what happens when outsiders with no local knowledge are brought in to tell Cork people how to run their County and City. How have we maintained our position as the country’s most productive region over all these years? Cork is different and the future of Cork should be decided by the people of Cork. Some would like to divide us, but Cork people working together will make Cork a real success”.

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