COUNTY Hall administrative staff and departments should be moved into the centre of county towns, a West Cork councillor has urged.
Fine Gael representative John O’Sullivan is to bring a motion to Cork County Council on Monday seeking to start a debate on moving County Hall departments into the areas that they serve.
County Hall has been in the city jurisdiction for the last 50 years but the 2019 local elections will see areas such as Douglas, Rochestown, Cork Airport and Ballincollig become part of the city, meaning the core local authority services will be further from the functional area of the council then they have ever been.
Mr O’Sullivan told the Evening Echo he believes placing services in vacant Council-owned properties in county towns would stimulate economic activity and ensure better service delivery.
“We need to support our county towns and the model is there in that the housing section is based in Mallow, the road section is in Skibbereen.
“We could extend that. We have towns like Newmarket, Kanturk and Kinsale and West Cork towns that we could put services into, or a section of the council into the town centres where County Council owns a lot of buildings. It would create footfall to those towns and we’d increase economic activity.
“The City Council boundary extension proved to me that County Hall has concentrated all its development in the metropolitan areas and, to a fair degree, forgot about the rest of the county.
“If all the services remain in County Hall, then they will be out of the functional area of the local authority and in a bubble.
“For the best services to be provided to our citizens, we need to be in reach of them. This conversation needs to be started.
“Had we spent the last 20 years developing the county towns we wouldn’t be as exposed as we are coming into the city boundary extension.
“The technology is there. At present in County Hall, service providers are in a vacuum,” he added.
Cork County Council already has local area offices in each municipal district which deal with local issues.
Carrigaline, Mallow and Midleton will be the largest towns in the county following the local elections.