Statement from the Leaders of Political Party’s represented on Cork County Council, namely Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Independent Grouping, The Social Democrats and Labour.
Council has serious concerns regarding the Role and Terms of Reference of the Cork Local Government Implementation Oversight Group and seek urgent clarification from Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.
The Leaders of all Political Parties on Cork County Council today expressed a strong sense of disquiet regarding the approach being taken to the oversight and implementation of the “Mackinnon Report” on the future arrangements for local government in Cork.
The Implementation Oversight Group (IOG) has been specifically charged with overseeing the development of detailed and comprehensive proposals for the boundary alteration and their implementation by both Councils.
The Party Leaders and Council, having considered in more detail the IOG’s stated interpretation of their remit, stated that it is completely at odds with what the Council was led to believe arising from commentary expressed in a number of fora in recent months.
In this regard both the then Minister, and also the current Chairman of the IOG, at the launch of the report last May commented that the boundary indicated was “not written in stone” and that matters were open for discussion and negotiation. This view was confirmed by the Expert Advisory Group’s chairman, Mr. Jim Mackinnon, when he attended a Council meeting in July.
However, the Oversight Group has now indicated in the strongest terms that it considers that the boundary line is drawn and effectively finalised with towns and communities such as Blarney, Carrigtwohill, Little Island/Glounthaune, Ballincollig, Kilumney, Ovens and Tower all lying within the new proposed City Council area.
The Council’s Party Leaders stated that this is contrary to the clear undertaking given to the Members of Cork County Council.
The Mayor and Party Leaders on behalf of Council are therefore seeking urgent clarification from the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Mr. Eoghan Murphy TD on the role of the IOG as they believe the group’s interpretation of their remit effectively precludes the Council from presenting any alternative boundary alteration for consideration through the workings of the Group.
The party leaders also noted that the Terms of Reference of the IOG do not fully reflect the recommendations of the April 2017 Report. The report included a further 12 specific recommendations relating to strengthening and developing co-operation between the two Councils, powers and functions devolved to Local Authorities and the terms of office of the Mayor and Lord Mayor. The cherry picking of just 1 of 13 recommendations is not acceptable as it fails to provide for the future necessary integration of policy between the two Councils as envisaged in the Cork 2050 report.
The Party Leaders, representing the full Council, urgently request the Minister to address the Council’s justified concerns.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley
Councillor Seamus McGrath, Leader Fianna Fail Party
Councillor Kevin Murphy, Leader Fine Gael Party
Councillor Des O’Grady, Leader Sinn Fein Party
Councillor John Paul O’Shea, Leader Independent Grouping
Councillor Cathal Rasmussen, Leader Labour Party
Councillor Joe Harris, Leader Social Democrats party