Smiddy launches scathing criticism of Cork City Council over boundary issue

Smiddy launches scathing criticism of Cork City Council over boundary issue
Alf Smiddy, business advisor and directorPicture Eddie O'Hare

BUSINESSMAN Alf Smiddy has said Cork City Council is not able to take over adjacent towns as it has “not been able to look after the city itself”.

Mr Smiddy, who produced a now-shelved 2015 report recommending a merger of Cork’s two local authorities, said the 2017 Mackinnon report’s proposal to extend the city boundary “doesn’t stack up.”

He said: “There are huge retail problems in the city. North Main Street is dead, South Main Street is dead. The level of boarded-up properties in the city and the dereliction is unreal.

“The convention centre is dead, the docklands are being talked about for 15 years and it’s just talk. So you have a management team and Council presiding over all of this decay and delay, and Mackinnon is recommending that the same council take over control of amazingly progressive towns like Ballincollig, Glanmire, Blarney, and Carrigtwohill. It’s like asking someone who runs a bad chipper to take over the running of McDonald’s,” he said.

Mr Smiddy said the Mackinnon report was a ‘done deal’ from the outset and accused Simon Coveney of dropping the 2015 merger report to appease Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

“It’s very clear that there was a deal done here with Micheál Martin, to placate him and try and keep the support of the minority government going. Everyone on the street knows that, and Simon, in the opinion of many people, just buckled,” said Mr Smiddy.

Mr Coveney said that Mr Smiddy’s allegations are “disingenuous and totally inaccurate.” He said that the boundary issue was not discussed during the negotiations with Fianna Fáil.

He said that he only spoke with the Mackinnon group once when it first met and didn’t discuss it with Mr Martin until after it had been completed and presented to him.

He said that Fine Gael was never completely behind the Smiddy report, which was commissioned by Labour’s Alan Kelly. “The government didn’t move ahead to implement the Smiddy report because we could see it was divisive,” he said.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Tony Fitzgerald. declined to respond to Mr Smiddy’s claims, saying: “We are focused on working within the terms of reference ahead of the next meeting of the implementation group on September 5.”

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