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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy urged to legislate on Cork boundary

Cork City Council has urged the local government minister to introduce legislation quickly to give effect to a city boundary extension, writes Eoin English.

Councillors voted last night in support of city mayor Tony Fitzgerald’s formal request to Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy to legislate following Cork County Council’s rejection of a compromise boundary plan on Friday.

Mr Fitzgerald notified county mayor Declan Hurley of the outcome of the vote by phone afterwards.

The vote was taken during a special city council meeting held to discuss the minister’s call for agreement between both local authorities on the boundary issue.

Mr Murphy made the call after the Cabinet accepted the implementation oversight group’s (IOG) compromise boundary extension report, which recommends that Ballincollig, Blarney, Tower, Glanmire, and Cork Airport become part of an expanded city.

He said if both councils agreed on the deal, it would allow him to use a ministerial order, rather than legislation, to give effect to the extension.

When county councillors rejected the IOG report on Friday, Mr Hurley said he would make “immediate contact” seeking urgent talks with Mr Fitzgerald to discuss the boundary further.

Mr Fitzgerald told city councillors last night he did not receive that correspondence until 1.56pm yesterday.

In that letter, Mr Hurley said “significant progress” has been made towards a “positive resolution” but he requested “immediate discussions in order to progress an urgent final agreement between both councils” on the boundary issue.

He said he is “confident that these can be resolved locally” through “mature and meaningful discussion”.

Mr Fitzgerald said the compromise, which emerged from talks two weeks ago, was described by Mr Hurley at the time as “a solid base to move forward” and as “great news for Cork”.

He said: “I again reiterate that Government has approved the recommendations of the IOG. It is clear, in view of the decision of Cork County Council, to reject the IOG proposal for the extended boundary, that primary legislation will be needed to implement it.

“I formally propose that the city council would now request the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government to move swiftly to bring forward the necessary legislation.”

A vote was called and councillors voted 24 for, with three abstentions, in favour of the mayor’s proposal. Mr Fitzgerald said it was effectively a “unanimous” vote.

Worker’s Party councillor Ted Tynan and Solidarity councillors Fiona Ryan and Marion O’Sullivan abstained.

Ms Ryan said Solidarity abstained because it believes the proposed extension does not go far enough and should include Little Island and Passage West.

Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon said it is clear county councillors had dealt with the negotiations “in bad faith” while Sinn Féin councillor Chris O’Leary said county councillors who rejected the IOG deal were a “bunch of deluded gombeens”.

Fianna Fáil councillor Tim Brosnan said he plans to write to Mr Murphy urging him to implement the full Mackinnon extension.

This story originally appeared in the Irish Examiner.