The sweeping changes, which would create massively expanded ‘super wards’, are a direct result of the decision last year to almost double the size of Cork city. It sets up a major political dogfight at the next local elections between sitting city councillors and county councillors in areas such as Blarney, Ballincollig, Carrigaline and Douglas, which will be subsumed into the expanded city wards.
There are fears, however, that the city will be left with huge, unwieldy electoral areas that split local communities.
The city population is expected to almost double in size but the number of city councillors and electoral wards will not increase, meaning the ratio of representation is set to increase dramatically after the next local election.
Fianna Fail councillor Terry Shannon has criticised the terms of reference for the boundary extension for being ‘too restrictive’ as they call for the establishment of a dedicated city centre ward and impose strict limits on the reach of other areas too.
Currently, Cork City Council is divided into six wards of between four and seven elected members, based on population.
Under the terms of reference issued as part of the local government review into the expanded city boundary, the new wards will have ‘not less than five and not more than seven’ councillors per area.