Cork County Council will exercise its right to take legal action if the controversial boundary extension plans as outlined in the Mackinnon report are implemented, the County Mayor has said.
Cork County Council has issued a formal proposal under Section 29 of the Local Government Act this week which will force their city counterparts to consider an alternative plan for the boundary which would see land in Grange, Frankfield, Ballyvolane and Douglas ceded to the city.
However, this falls significantly short of Mackinnon proposals which aim to take in county towns such as Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Carrigtowhill and Little Island.
The move to enact Section 29 has been met with anger from city councillors but Mayor Declan Hurley said he hopes for meaningful discussions to now take place and hoped the issue would be resolved outside the courts.
“Hopefully we don't have to go down the route of applying legal structures on this,” he said.
“We are reserving our right on that basis but if we have to, we will do. My message is that we want to reach a conclusion on this through discussion and dialogue around the table."
“I would also call on Cork City Council to come forward and enter into meaningful discussion and dialogue with us so we can come to a conclusion as speedily as possible, but on a reasonable approach which is going to be sustainable and prosperous for city and county going forward.” he added.
According to a 56-page document issued by County Council, the proposed new boundary would leave the rural authority with a rates shortfall of €8.6m, much less than the €50m annual loss as outlined in the Mackinnon report. While Mackinnon proposals recommend compensation payments must be made by City Council to County Council for a period of 10 years – with a mid-term review – the new proposal states these must be made annually on a permanent basis.
Cork city's population would increase by almost 40,000 under the alteration proposal with potential growth of between 260,000 and 280,000 following development of greenfield sites.
Mayor Hurley is also urging communities, both city and county, to engage in the public consultation process which will last for two months.
“This is the biggest decision that's going to be taken in the city and county for the last 50 years and it's going to have an affect for hundreds of years to come. I urge everybody to engage, from businesses to community groups.
“We are giving the say back to the people in this. That has been missing from the whole process from day one.”