THE decision to extend the city boundary is a 'done deal’ and ‘irresponsible’ public debate will not achieve anything, a senior source in City Hall has said.
"The governance issue has been decided - there will be a separate council for the city," said a senior member of City Hall's staff.
Despite growing calls from organisations such as the Irish Farmers Association and the County Public Participation Network for the Mackinnon expansion plan to be scrapped and a public vote on the boundary issue, City Hall leaders are convinced that the only thing left to decide is the precise details of the new boundary line - details which could be finalised within a matter of days.
City Hall firmly believes that the boundary line will be close to what was proposed by the Mackinnon report, meaning Cork city will extend outwards to include Ballincollig, Blarney, Little Island, Glanmire, Cork Airport, Douglas and potentially reaching as far east as Carrigtwohill.
"I think we require leadership. People are going around whipping up emotions. That's very irresponsible. We're getting a lot of hot air," said the City Hall officials.
However, a spokesperson for Cork County Council said that the boundary is still not set in stone.
"This issue remains live. Cork County Council is working towards a just and equitable solution of it for all the people of Cork City and County but unfortunately the City Council is adopting a dog in the manger approach whereby it is insisting on adhering to the uncosted, impracticable and unworkable recommendations of the Mackinnon report”.
The City Council source said that Cork needed leadership and that Cork County Council should be able to provide that, criticising the local authority for some of its rhetoric in recent days.
A spokesperson for Cork County Council said that is "a new low" in the debate.
"The Mayor is the democratically elected chair of Cork County Council. The Chief Executive has an advisory role to the Council but does not dictate policy for Cork County Council. It is entirely inappropriate for Cork City Council officials to suggest that he should seek to silence or gag the Mayor.
The City Council source also said that the County Council is not focused what's right for the city, but on funding.
"The debate in the county has been about how will they continue to support rural areas," they added, saying that taking between €25million and €40million from the metropolitan area was not the answer.
Both councils have been asked to present to the oversight committee appointed by Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy on Tuesday, in order to finalise the exact boundary.
The City Hall source said that the City Council has conceded that areas like Ringaskiddy and Carrigaline will remain with the county, and that there are only minor changes to be made to the proposed line.
Another source in the City Council said that the implementation oversight group said that the Mackinnon group will be implemented almost as it is, with some room for minor changes, set to be agreed in the coming days. It is feared that if the two councils do not agree on a line, the oversight group will make its own decision and then make it recommendation to government.