Party splits emerge over boundary deal

Party splits emerge over boundary deal
County Hall building. Pic: Denis Scannell

PARTY splits have emerged in County Hall with councillors at loggerheads over the city boundary extension and disagreement over whether the loss of Blarney, Tower, Cork Airport, Inniscarra and Glanmire should be accepted.

After a deal was agreed by city and county chief executives Ann Doherty and Tim Lucey last week, the city is now set to expand from a population of 125,000 to 210,000.

A statutory meeting of county council yesterday - the first time councillors had the chance to debate the agreement in public - Fianna Fáil party leader Seamus McGrath said the process of agreement which led to the County Council's position was regrettable.

“What went on was totally unacceptable,” he said, claiming that councillors should have been given an opportunity to discuss the deal before it was agreed last week.

Mr McGrath said he was of the belief that that extension is necessary but the areas subsumed into the city did not make sense under the criteria of urban development.

“There are obvious areas that should go into the city should as Douglas, Rochestown and Togher because they have already been urbanised,” he said.

“The extension should be based sound planning considerations, community, social factors and structural and geographical features. The outcome from what I see doesn’t reflect that,” he added.

Mr McGrath also criticised the fact that councillors became aware of the agreed extension through newspaper reports.

Fine Gael party leader Kevin Murphy said that while he was disappointed with the outcome, the Council would be ill-advised to not agree to the current deal.

“The historical stuff is behind us now and we are going to the detailed stage,” he said.

“Every member of this council is disappointed with the outcome, there is no question about that but it’s the best possible deal we could come up with.

“We’d be terrible idiots if we reject that now,” he added.

Sinn Fein’s Des O’Grady said the party were not entirely happy with the extension but supported the current deal and that compensation would be paid to the County Council from the city ‘in perpetuity’. 

Labour’s Cathal Rasmussen said he was very unhappy with the process and the level of detail on how the boundary extension will work while Social Democrat leader Joe Harris said the boundary should be the subject of a judicial review.

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