THE number of councillors in Cork city will remain unchanged at the next local election, despite the city’s population being set to increase by almost 100,000.
The boundary committee last night published its review of local electoral areas, including recommendations for the restructured Cork City Council.
The city boundary is set to expand ahead of the next local election for the first time in 50 years, a move which will see vast urban areas like Ballincollig, Glanmire and Douglas come into the City Council’s remit.
The new, expanded city will have a population of 210,853, an increase from its current 125,667.
Under the boundary committee’s recommendations, there will be no increase in the number of elected representatives on the Council, which currently stands at 31. The increase in population would change the representation ratio to one councillor per 6,802 residents.
Currently, the city is divided into six electoral wards. This would be revised to five under the new expanded area, as was recommended in the terms of reference issued to the boundary committee prior to taking on its work.
One of the new wards - Cork City South West - will be a seven seat ward, with each of the others - Cork City North East, Cork City North West, Cork City South Central and Cork City South East - all operating as six seaters.
The new North East ward will extend from the city centre, including areas north of the river, to Blackpool, the Glen, Montenotte and Mayfield, and including large areas of land to the north-east of the city.
The north west ward will incorporate the likes of Shandon and Shanakiel, but will extend as far as Blarney, while the south west ward looks set to include Ballincollig, alongside Wilton, Bishopstown and Togher.
The new south-east ward will include Mahon, Ballinlough and Douglas, while the south-central district will include areas to the south of the River Lee, including the Mardyke and the old South Parish areas, as well as Turner’s Cross.
The news is likely to cause significant concern among elected members in Cork city. Under the initial report into the expansion of the city boundary - the Mackinnon Report - it was recommended that the number of representatives increase to reflect the increasing population.
However, the decision not to do that now means that it is likely that many on the current council will face an even bigger challenge when it comes to retaining their seats in the next local election as competition will increase when those from the County opt to run in the City.
Meanwhile, the County Council will retain its 55 councillors and will be split into ten local electoral areas, largely the same as the 2014 boundaries with more seats in each. This will address a low ratio of councillors to citizens that existed under the old boundaries.
A six-seat Carrigaline local electoral area will replace the Ballincollig-Carrigaline 10-seater, while the Macroom area will retain the six seats it shared with Blarney. Cobh will have six seats, down from the seven it had when it included the Glanmire area. Kanturk-Mallow will be split into a four-seat Kanturk area and a five-seat Mallow area.
Bandon-Kinsale will have six seats, Fermoy will have six, Midleton will have seven, and West Cork will have a new Clonakilty-Skibbereen area with five seats and a Bantry area with four.