Smiddy: Boundary extension will be the first step to a Cork council merger

Smiddy: Boundary extension will be the first step to a Cork council merger
An overview of the proposed new city boundary.

EXTENDING the boundary of Cork city is the just first phase of an inevitable merger of the city and county councils.

That's the view of Alf Smiddy who chaired a previous committee that recommended the amalgamation of both councils.

Speaking to the Evening Echo, Mr Smiddy was highly critical of the yesterday's Cork Local Government report saying the loss of key county council ratepayers such as Cork Airport and Little Island will leave the county dependent on hand outs for survival.

"The report is very light on detail and not evidence based, and the huge implementation challenge is not really addressed," he said. "Consultants will have a field day at the expense of taxpayers."

The report launched yesterday will see Ballincollig, Blarney, Carrigtwohill, Little Island, Glanmire and Cork Airport move into the city.

"Cork County Council forfeiting huge rate base and major concerns being expressed about communities, towns and villages throughout the county and they being totally cut off and isolated. Huge issue as they'll be dependent on hand outs for survival," Mr Smiddy said.

The report his committee produced in 2015 instead recommended a single super council for Cork with a city metropolitan region with its own powers.

Mr Smiddy said that if a boundary extension is pursed, an eventual merger is unavoidable.

"If it is to be embraced, I see it as phase one to a full Cork Council merger as the the hit to the rate base of Cork County Council will threaten its very survival which will ultimately force full amalgamation."

"At a time when we should be uniting Cork and speaking with one voice, this actually pits urban dwellers against rural dwellers," Mr Smiddy said.

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