CORK County Council has unanimously resolved to seek the immediate appointment of an independent mediator in order to resolve the boundary alterations impasse with Cork City Council.
While expressing regrets that it’s calls for a negotiated outcome have not been heeded to date, the County Councillors decided to request Minister Eoghan Murphy TD (Minister for Housing Planning & Local Government) to appoint an independent mediator to facilitate an agreed boundary solution between the two Councils.
The elected members set a timeframe of 7 days for the Minister to accede to their request, or else the Council would move to initiate legal proceedings to prevent the Minister from altering the boundary of the City and County Councils. The appointment of a mediator would avoid further unnecessary litigation and legal costs that would inevitably arise.
While the Council has contributed freely to the process to date, the elected Council has been forced to act in this manner as a result of the recent appointment by the Minister of the Chair of the Oversight Group as a statutory officer having legal authority to complete a report to the Minister on the boundary alteration, thus removing all avenues for achieving an agreed negotiated outcome.
The County Council unanimously directed that the County Mayor would convey the views of the Councillors to the Minister. The key message that they wished to have conveyed is that there is no basis for pursuing the existing implementation process as a consequence of the Minister’s action.
The Council made it clear that it is prepared to challenge the authority of the Minister because, in its opinion, the Minister has exceeded his statutory powers. The members are of the collective view that seeking an immediate independent mediation process is of paramount importance to avoiding unnecessary litigation.
In the event of the Minister not acceding to the request of the Council, Council will convene following the expiration of the 7 day period. Such meeting will be to hear further advices in relation to the legal process to be pursued.