CONCERNS have been raised about the shortage of County Hall staff members that are willing to transfer to the City Council after Cork’s boundary extension was agreed by the Seanad.
It is believed in the region of 200 staff members will need to move to the city authority to ensure a smooth transition, but the numbers willing to leave County Hall are falling way short.
Passing the boundary change into law will have to wait until the new year as the Local Government Bill 2018 will return to the houses of the Oireachtas in January after items regarding the merger of Galway city and county councils were defeated.
However, as of May 24 next year, Cork city’s boundary will extend to Ballincollig, Douglas, Glanmire, Cork Airport and Rochestown.
A plebiscite regarding a directly elected mayor for the city, who may be granted executive powers, will now also be held at the same time as European and local elections.
However, Senator Tim Lombard (FG) has cautioned that matters regarding the transfer of staff need to be addressed by the Government or Cork County Council may still be delivering services in areas it no longer has jurisdiction over for a number of years after the city extension comes into effect.
“Yesterday was the closing date for the staff for expressions of interest for staff to move from Cork County Council to Cork City Council,” said Mr Lombard.
“The uptake wasn’t very good, we don’t know the exact figures but there is a major concern for the levels of staff that will move from County Hall to City Hall.
“I would question what will happen if we don’t get the appropriate numbers. The minister had no real answers regarding my queries about staffing issues and that’s going to be a big issue going forward due to industrial relations.
“It’s very obvious that Cork County Council will be delivering 90% of the services in the devolved areas for the next few years.
“To set up a transfer with housing and planning for 85,000 people within the next six months is almost impossible,” he added.
Senator Jerry Buttimer (FG) said he is disappointed that the Bill has to go back to Dáil Éireann and urged that clarity regarding electoral divisions is given as soon as possible.