CORK County Council has rejected the Cork Implementation Oversight Group (IOG) report on the city boundary extension and called upon Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy to consider alternative proposals.
At a marathon meeting in County Hall yesterday, the council did a U-turn on an apparent deal that was struck last week and called for a reduced extension based on proposals that they issued in September under Section 29 of the Local Government Act.
The County Council executive will now also explore legal options open to it and has asked for new discussions to take place between County Mayor Declan Hurley and Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald to reach an “urgent final agreement” on the boundary line to the “mutual satisfaction” of both authorities.
The IOG report was approved by Cabinet this week with Ballincollig, Blarney, Tower, Rochestown, Frankfield and Douglas recommended to be subsumed into the city.
However, the final map outlines adjustments that may be needed at Cork Airport, Glanmire, Hop Island and Inniscarra. The report confirmed that the Monard Strategic Development Zone is to remain in the county.
This represents a reduced version of the controversial Mackinnon report which recommended Ballincollig, Blarney, Cork Airport, Little Island, Glanmire and Carrigtwohill become part of the city.
However, at a statutory County Council meeting yesterday, the majority of councillors agreed that the IOG report was “detrimental” for the county and they discussed legal advice on their position in a private session not open to the media.
Fianna Fáil then tabled a proposal to return to a formal resolution under Section 29 of the Local Government Act which was issued by Cork County Council in September after the Mackinnon report had originally emerged.
The county authority resolution includes an alternative plan for the boundary which would see land in Grange, Frankfield, Ballyvolane and Douglas ceded to the city but not Ballincollig, Blarney and Tower - which had been included in the Mackinnon report.
County chief executive Tim Lucey admitted the county authority has been fighting a “losing battle” since the Mackinnon report was published, as the IOG could have implemented it as it was written - meaning lucrative rates bases such as Carrigtwohill and Little Island could also have been taken into city jurisdiction, along with areas west of Ballincollig, including Ovens which contains Dell EMC.
He said the reduced scale of the Mackinnon boundaries which he agreed with city chief executive Ann Doherty in recent weeks represented the “optimum” result for the county.
However, upon agreement of the new proposed resolution by elected members of County Council, Mr Lucey said he would fully support the process as it would “smooth the path” for the minister if both councils reach an agreement.
The proposed resolution was passed by a margin of 28 to five, with opposition from Sinn Fein.
Councillor Des O’Grady (SF) said his party were not in favour of rejecting the IOG report and said he feared the full Mackinnon report would now be implemented by the Minister.
He added the IOG report had kept the county authority “viable” with the retention of rates in Carrigtwohill and Little Island.
Seamus McGrath (FF) said the proposed resolution from County Council members sends out a clear message there is opposition to the IOG report, while Kevin Murphy (FG) said it provided reasonable wording which gives the city and county an avenue to come with a solution and agree to a boundary.