This recommendation by the Cork Local Government Boundary Review Committee, will result in a unified local government authority that will contribute to the creation of jobs and tourism as well as streamlining the delivery of local services and infrastructure.
County Mayor, Mr John Paul O’Shea said that the recommendations represent the evolution of Cork’s local government and would facilitate the maximum use from existing resources of both authorities to deliver increased capacity for further development of key local services of importance to the people of Cork, while respecting the strong sense of community within the city and other major towns throughout Cork.
“I believe Cork now has the opportunity to bring what’s best in the councils together so that the people continue to ensure we have the very best in Cork, have an efficient and effective local authority that works to attract foreign direct investment, tourism and job creation.
“Cork County Council CEO, Tim Lucey and I will work with the implementation group to start the process of coming together to build a strong council through effective local government for the people of Cork,” the Mayor said.
The Review committee recommends that the unified Cork Council will have three divisions within the new authority, a City and Metropolitan division and North & East and South and West divisions. The implementation process will ensure that an appropriate level of autonomy will be assigned to the divisions to allow them to operate effectively within overall policy, planning and budgetary strategy set for the unified Council. This recommendation recognises the importance of Cork City’s autonomy to ensure its continued effective management and its key role as a driver of economic development for Cork.
County Chief Executive, Tim Lucey said that the implementation of the recommendations would mean the creation of a new entity whose sole purpose will be to provide for democratic representation of Cork and the development of its assets for the benefit of its people.
“The County Council is cognisant of the concerns which have been voiced in relation to the need to retain a focus on the region’s economic driver, Cork City and metropolitan Cork, and will seek to have the autonomy of all of Cork’s sub-regions recognised in the new authority’s structures.”
Cork City and County have a long history of close cooperation, which has yielded many benefits including the structured strategic planning of the region.
“Both Councils are working together on a weekly basis on key projects including tourism, roads and economic development. The new structures will provide an opportunity for enhanced service delivery through use of the combined resources of both authorities resulting in an increase in the capacity to further develop service delivery and maximising the output for citizens and business alike,” Mr Lucey said.
Cork represents the State’s only realistic opportunity to develop a second metropolitan City region and the proposed structures will facilitate the continuing development of this vision over the coming 20 years.
Both the County Mayor and Chief Executive complimented the review committee, saying that “Under the chairmanship of Mr. Alf Smiddy, the review process has been extensive in its deliberations resulting in a robust and evidence based outcome and we wish to record our appreciation to each of the five committee members for their contributions over a very intensive nine month project period.”
Cork County Council believes that the report has succeeded in its objectives but it also recognises that there were challenges associated with all of the options presented during the course of the debate.
“There is much work to be done before any new representational structures are put in place following the next local government elections in 2019. We look forward to working on an agreed roadmap to create the new representational and executive structures required to implement the new vision,” Mayor O’Shea said.
Report of the Cork Local Government Committee – http://www.environ.ie/en/PublicationsDocuments/FileDownLoad,42666,en.pdf