Councillor Declan Hurley today commented on the excellent quality of life of Cork County residents. His comments were in response to the Lord Mayor’s recent assertion in his open letter to the citizens of Cork that somehow some Cork County residents would experience a better quality of life within a city boundary.
“Cork City’s Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) in 2015 included a Draft Socio-Economic Statement. I believe that the following summary points extracted from that statement are of some relevance in relation to the current debate. “
Cork City’s population declined from 123,062 in 2002 to 119,230 in 2011. (Thankfully, it has since recovered.)
The Age Dependency ratio of Cork City is significantly higher than the national average (21.4% versus 17.4%).
Cork City is ageing at the third fastest pace of all 31 administrative cities and counties. Almost one in three of those aged over 65 are living alone.
Cork City had the second highest concentration of “unemployment blackspots” in the state.
Significant lack of availability and access to quality, affordable housing in the city is a challenge including the short-term rented sector
Potential for new residential and employment development though redevelopment and intensification of ‘brownfield land’ in areas such as the City Centre, Docklands, Mahon and Blackpool
The Mayor also referenced a second document of interest which was a City resident’s satisfaction survey. Although the survey is somewhat dated, as it was undertaken in 2004, it provides some interesting comparisons to more recent county data from the County’s LECP.
“The City’s document shows Cork City’s rating as ‘a place to live’ at 77% (77% of residents rate the City as a fairly good or very good place to live). Cork County Council’s own recent LECP contains similar County related quality of life survey data. It shows that 92% of County Residents agree (or agree strongly) that where they live is a ‘great place to live.’ “
The Mayor continued by commenting that while overall Cork’s residents are relatively happy, it was important to note that the County survey confirmed that residents living in the County Municipal Districts adjoining the City expressed similar satisfaction ratings to those in Municipal Districts in West and North Cork, i.e. over 90 % positive.
On this topic, he concluded, “During the course of the current City boundary debate, there have been claims and counter claims made. What is important is that we all avoid stark statements which are not supported by verifiable facts. The Lord Mayor has wrongly stated that the County’s position was not backed up by facts and we have already addressed this. He has fallen foul of his own advice in relation to quality of life. What is abundantly clear from the above is that residents in county areas adjoining the city are highly satisfied with their lot in the county. “
The Mayor continued, “On a more general note, I am saddened by the tenor of the Lord Mayor’s recent letter which appears to reflect a view from within City Hall that it should not have to work jointly with its counterparts in County Hall into the future. I detect a departure from what has been a fruitful joint approach to the Cork region’s development since the 1970’s and which has been reflected in the rankings quoted for the metropolitan area quoted by the Lord Mayor. ”
“ Although I realise that I am beginning to sound like a broken record, I continue to seek real dialogue with the City Council to seek a resolution to this impasse.”