People in areas potentially affected by boundary changes are yet to be convinced of the benefits for those who move from the county to the city.
One Monday night the City Council rejected a proposal from the County Council to hand over areas including Douglas and Rochestown.
Instead the City Council are moving forward with planning based on the recommendations of the MacKinnon report. That would see a much larger area move from County to City control. In addition to Cork airport, Douglas, Grange, Rochestown, Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Little Island, and Carrigtwohill would all become part of the city.
On the streets of Ballincollig, more people were against the idea than in favour of it. There are worries that any separate identity towns like Ballincollig, Blarney and Carrigtwohill have will be lost. Others feel that the changes will simply make the city too big and localities like theirs will have no voice within the city.
Even those who are open to the idea express frustration at the lack of information about the planned changes. The Councils have been wrangling over the issues for years but local inhabitants still feel in the dark and would like more engagement with them.
As one woman asked: “They should tell us the pros and cons, the local people are not being spoken to enough about it.” The issue doesn’t look set to be settled anytime soon. After the City Council indicated they would not give consideration to the Council offer, County Mayor Cllr Hurley said it was “regrettable” that their “outreach initiative has not been responded to in kind”.
He added: “We have been very clear in advising the Implementation Group that we will not be in a position to submit any boundary line as an agreed proposition until such time as proper discussion and consideration has been undertaken by both Councils on the matter.”
“I don’t think it should be merged at all. Ballincollig has its own identity, it shouldn’t be part of the city at all. And what about the money? All the rates collected, that could all filter down to the new Docklands. There is an awful lot of rates being paid here, I am one of those paying for rates and water. And I feel the money in the county should be left in the county. We are country boys, let us stay that way.”
“I have mixed feelings about it, some good, some bad. We are more concerned with what’s happening locally. There are 3,000 more houses planned and no proper infrastructure, that’s my main worry. We would get cheaper buses if we were part of the city because at the moment it is very expensive to go the few miles into the city. I suppose there might be better funding and more opportunities being part of the city. We are already more of a satellite than a small town and Ballincollig is going to get bigger again. But they should tell us the pros and cons, the local people are not being spoken to enough about it.”
“If you can back it up with money than I have no problem with it, the money is all inside in the city anyway. But I don’t think we will, I think the city are doing it for their own benefit. They want the big companies so they want to say Cork city has so many more people. They want to attract the big businesses from the US, or Germany or wherever, and they won’t come here without a big population.”