Spil­lane: boundary plan is ‘a land grab’


The Corkman - - NEWS -

ONE of the coun­try’s lead­ing ad­vo­cates of ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties has hit out at plans to ex­tend the Cork City boundary as a ‘ land grab’.

GAA pun­dit Pat Spil­lane made the com­ments at the re­cent AGM of Muin­tir na Tíre in Laois in the course of a wide-rang­ing de­bate on the myr­iad se­ri­ous chal­lenges fac­ing ru­ral life in Ire­land.

His com­ments came as Cork County Coun­cil fired off its first for­mal salvo in the fight to re­tain as much lands as pos­si­ble - in the shape of a re­port rec­om­mend­ing the County cede just Frank­field, Dou­glas, Grange and Bal­lyvolane. This would leave the County Coun­cil with a bud­get deficit of €8.6 mil­lion per an­num, rather than the €50 mil­lion-a-year hole that the Mack­in­non re­port would rep­re­sent to the county bud­get.

The Mack­in­non re­port rec­om­mends Cork City should ex­pand to take in Cork Air­port, Ballincol­lig, Blar­ney, Glan­mire, Gloun­thaune, Lit­tle Is­land,and Car­rigt­wohill. If the Govern­ment pro­posal suc­ceeds, it is feared the county would be left strug­gling to pro­vide its cur­rent level of ser­vices.

Pat Spil­lane lent his weight to the de­bate on Satur­day in re­sponse to Cork county Muin­tir na Tíre del­e­gates who said Mckin­non would mean a ‘ huge trans­fer of re­sources’ from ru­ral Ire­land to the city. Mr Spil­lane con­curred, de­scrib­ing the pro­posal as ‘noth­ing short of a land grab’ by the City Coun­cil.

Fianna Fáil leader and for­mer Cork City Coun­cil­lor Mícheál Martin mean­while called for an end to ‘ scare­mon­ger­ing on the is­sue’ and for all sides to work to­gether to­wards fa­cil­i­tat­ing the gen­eral thrust of Mckin­non, which he de­scribed as ‘rea­son­able’.

Cork County Coun­cil’s for­mal pro­posal – to cede the ar­eas of Frank­field, Grange, Dou­glas and Bal­lyvolane which have a com­bined pop­u­la­tion of 39,258 res­i­dents, was adopted at County Hall on Mon­day af­ter coun­cil­lors in­voked Sec­tion 29 of the Lo­cal Govern­ment Act. The pro­posal would see the city pop­u­la­tion swell to 164,915, but tak­ing in green­field sites would al­low scope to grow the pop­u­la­tion to nearly 284,000; rep­re­sent­ing a rate of ur­ban growth den­sity in line with the prin­ci­ples of the Na­tional Plan­ning Frame­work.

There are also con­cerns within the County Coun­cil on the im­pact on staffing with the au­thor­ity in­sist­ing work­ers be con­tin­u­ously up­dated on any trans­fers to City Hall as a re­sult of changes. 211 staff would trans­fer to the city un­der the County pro­posal, which will be de­cided on in six months.

GAA pun­dit and ru­ral cam­paigner Pat Spil­lane has crit­i­cised pro­pos­als to ex­tend the Cork City boundary

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