Planned mu­nic­i­pal changes ‘lu­di­crous’

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Sean O’Rior­dan

Fears have been raised that rec­om­men­da­tions by the Lo­cal Elec­toral Bound­ary Com­mis­sion for re­draw­ing mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict coun­cil ar­eas in Co Cork will split com­mu­ni­ties and re­move some from their nat­u­ral po­lit­i­cal hin­ter­lands.

The rec­om­men­da­tions are to come into ef­fect be­fore next year’s lo­cal elec­tions and were prompted by the ex­ten­sion of Cork City Coun­cil’s bound­ary, which will see it take over ar­eas in­clud­ing Ball in col lig­and Glan­mire.

A num­ber of county coun­cil lo rs have ex­pressed con­cern over the rec­om­men­da­tions, es­pe­cially in West and South Cork. They e crit­i­cised the split­ting of the West Cork mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict coun­cil into two and the trans­fer of Court­mac­sh­erry, Ti­moleague, Dar­rara, and Bar­ry­roe to the Ban­don/ Kin­sale mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict.

Fianna Fáil coun­cil­lor Christo­pher O’Sul­li­van said it is “lu­di­crous” that these com­mu­ni­ties would be rep­re­sented by politi­cians from Ban­don and Kin­sale when their nat­u­ral hin­ter­land is Clon­akilty.

“This will cause ma­jor con­fu­sion for these peo­ple,” he said. “These com­mu­ni­ties have a huge con­nec­tion with West Cork and Clon­akilty in par­tic­u­lar. They will now be rep­re­sented by politi­cians from other towns, yet the area en­gi­neer’s of­fice which will still have ju­ris­dic­tion over them will be in Clon­akilty.”

Prior to the last bound­ary com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tion, there were 12 coun­cil­lors rep­re­sent­ing the West Cork re­gion. The com­mis­sion is propos­ing that it be re­placed by a four-seater mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict coun­cil based in Bantry and a five-seater coun­cil to cover Clon­akilty and Sk­ib­bereen.

In­de­pen­dent Bantry-based coun­cil lo rD anny Collins also crit­i­cised the re­moval of com­mu­ni­ties from the con­trol of the West Cork mu­nici- pal dis­tricts and said there should be more than four coun­cil­lors rep­re­sent­ing the Bantry area as it also con­trols three penin­su­las.

“Trans­fer­ring the likes of Court­mac­sh­erry and Ti­moleague to the con­trol of the Ban­don/Kin­sale mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict is dras­ti­cally wrong,” he said. “We had our West Cork mu­nic­i­pal meet­ing in Court­mac­sh­erry last week.”

Sk­ib­bereen-based Fianna Fáil coun­cil­lor Joe Carroll said bu­reau­crats are “sim­ply draw­ing lines on maps which made no sense”. He said the com­mis­sion had rec­om­mended changes which would see peo­ple liv­ing four miles from Sk­ib­bereen be­ing ad­min­is­tered by the new Bantry mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict “which was crazy”.

How­ever, one rec­om­men­da­tion by the com­mis­sion was warmly wel­comed.

Cur­rently, Car­ri­ga­line is split, some of it gov­erned by the Ball in­col­lig/ Car rig aline mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict coun­cil and the re­main­der by Ban­don/Kin­sale. Mi­nane Bridge-based Fine Gael coun­cil­lor Ai­dan Lom­bard wel­comed the rec­om­men­da­tion that all of Car­ri­ga­line will come un­der a new Car­ri­ga­line mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict.

Christo­pher O’Sul­li­van: Move ‘will cause ma­jor con­fu­sion’.

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