Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Did Clause F mean that Large scale Boundary Extension was only outcome.

The insertion of Clause F in the terms of reference for the Expert Advisory Group (MacKinnon) to advise the Minister regarding relevant options in relation to future local government arrangements for Cork, ensured that there was only going to be one outcome and that was a large scale boundary extension for the city.

The expert group were asked in particular, to address  matters regarding future local government arrangements for Cork and most of these were predictable and expected in view of the storm kicked up by city politicians and other vested interests, However the insertion of clause F meant that the Mackinnon group had to take particular note of the role of the City as a regional and national growth centre.
The clause in question read as follows: ( The group needs) .........to address  matters regarding future local government arrangements for Cork and take particular note of .........)

Clause f . The potential of local government to further the economic and social wellbeing and sustainable development of Cork City and County, including the strategic role and impact of the city in particular as a regional and national growth centre, and the need to have regard to the respective characteristics and needs both of urban and rural areas;

Fast forward to the MacKinnon report itself  and you see.........

9.9.5 The Group believes the balance of the arguments support two local authorities: one dedicated to realising the potential of Cork City and the surrounding metropolitan area, and a separate local authority serving the needs of towns, villages and rural communities that are neither urban or metropolitan in character. In particular, the Group believes that a dedicated local authority serving the needs of the Cork metropolitan area is the best means of ensuring a focus on the growth and economic development of the city and its hinterland, to the benefit of Cork City and County Cork. Given the position set out in the recent issues paper regarding the forthcoming National Planning Framework (Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, 2017), if the Government’s intention is to consolidate Cork’s position as Ireland’s second city and driving growth in the wider Southern region, the balance of power and authority for the city must lie with the metropolitan area. In a unified / merged authority, there is a risk of policies and decisions diluting the focus on the city and suburbs and, as a result, the potential of the wider Cork area is less likely to be realised. 

There is no doubt that proximity to the city has enabled parts of the county to prosper and grow, however a lot of these areas are rural in character and have benefitted enormously from being part of rural Ireland and being part of Cork County Council's administrative area. They are special places with a distinct rural and community feel in character. Carrigtwohil up to a few years ago was considered to be a village by the locals themselves. It has not even had the opportunity to develope as a town and now it is targeted as part of a city eleven miles away that it has little in common with.

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