26 March 2015
By Bryan Smyth
The ‘artificial’ division of Carrigaline in two sections, for electoral reasons, is causing problems in the provision of services, especially roadworks; that’s according to a number of County Councillors.
At Monday’s bi-weekly meeting of Cork County Council, many elected representatives asked the Chief Executive about the day to day management of services and questioned if there is a waste of time and resources.
The local elections of May 2014 saw the town of Carrigaline split across two local electoral areas (LEAs) as decided by the National ‘Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee’ report. The dividing line is the bridge over the Owenabue River on Main Street. The southern side of the town is in the County Council’s ‘Bandon-Kinsale Municipal District’, while the northern part is in the ‘Ballincolig-Carrigaline Municipal District’.
Each District has separate meetings, and a separate group of Councillors. When the two met at the overall bi-weekly County Council meeting on Monday there was much discussion of a motion: “That the Carrigaline area office accept full responsibility for all the services they had in the South Carrigaline office prior to the boundary changes in May 2014”.
The motion was supported by Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG), Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF), Cllr Tim Lombard (FG), Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF), Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (SF), and Cllr Rachael McCarthy (SF).
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said “The Bandon-Kinsale Municipal District is very large, and there can be up to 40 miles to travel from one side to the other. A Council JCB, Jeep or Truck cannot be expected to travel 20 miles to a job, it’s inefficient and not sustainable, there’s a half a day gone alone in driving equipment from Kinsale to Crosshaven and back”. He continued that “The Engineers should consider reverting back”. Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) agreed “Common sense and joined up thinking must prevail, one size fits all doesn’t apply here”. Cllr Tim Lombard (FG) supported the motion noting that “Ballinhassig five years ago was in Ballincollig area, then the Carrigaline area, now the Bandon area. People don’t know where to ring if there’s an issue”. Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) said he had previously spoken against the splitting of Carrigaline into two. Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (SF) said the division to divide Carrigaline was “a scandalous one made in Dublin. The round trip from Kinsale to Carrigaline is long, there are constantly issues coming up in local authority budgets of achieving efficiencies, well, there might be savings to be made if we could realign to the pre-election situation for day-to-day services”
Cllr Deirdre Forde (FG) said “I can not give this motion my full support. This would an additional burden on the engineers of the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District. One of their staff retired recently and as I understand they won’t be replaced”
County Mayor Cllr Alan Coleman (FF) said he could see both sides of the situation “my own view is the political boundaries are in a constant state of flux. Engineering services should be delivered in the most optimum way, engineering offices should be divided in the most practical way”
Replying to the various comments Cork County Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey questioned if roadworks equipment is being moved across the County as frequently as Councillors described. He concluded that in relation to Engineering issues: the elected Councillors “know who to contact”. The problem, he said, was one of communication with members of the public. “The right way to deal with this is to get a report from the Acting Director of Services”. That will then be discussed at Municipal District level.”