FIANNA Fáil leader Micheál Martin said his party will facilitate the government pressing ahead with the new city-county boundary.
After it emerged that Minister Eoghan Murphy will seek to implement the new boundary with legislation, bringing Ballincollig, Blarney, Tower, Rochestown, and Douglas under the City Council control, Mr Martin said that he supports him, despite opposition from many county councillors.
“My view is that we can’t keep arbitrating on it. The minister has indicated he is going to press ahead and we will facilitate that. There might be some issues around the boundary, but, fundamentally, I think he has to press ahead,” he said.
The boundary will need to be finalised in the coming months in order to take effect before the 2019 local elections, and Mr Murphy said that, with an agreement between the councils looking unlikely, he was moving ahead.
Mr Martin said that the compromised boundary that emerged earlier this month was one that could work for Cork. He said that there was an argument to be made about bringing in Little Island, but compromises were needed.
“I understand the need for compromise. I suspect that because there is large industry in Little Island was a factor in the County Council wanting to keep it. They wanted to keep EMC too.
“But Ballincollig is contiguous to the city, there’s a lot of development going on there. Marymount was developed out there, Enable Ireland is developing out there, and there’s going to be a new science park there. There is a natural continuum out that direction,” he said.
“Equally, Douglas and all that area, I think, will benefit from the urban experience of the city,” he added.
He said that there is still going to be opposition, but some of that was down to councillors’ concerns about the 2019 local elections.
“I think county towns are going to continue to grow, and the city will drive the county. All the European research points in that direction,” he added.