15 January 2016
By Bryan Smyth
Speaking after visiting Midleton in Cork this morning, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has spoken of the need for Cork voters to demand the rejection of current Fine Gael/Labour proposals to merge Cork City and County Councils in favour of a comprehensive and democratic plan for Cork.
Deputy Adams said:
“Cutbacks to local councils have a major impact on tacking the recent flooding crisis. A number of the difficulties that arose in Midleton and elsewhere were a direct result of a lack of real local democracy and staff and funding cuts by the Government. Merging both Cork City and Cork County Council’s would be a further erosion of the principle that local government should be as locally configured as possible.
“We have already witnessed the abolition of Town Councils, affecting Cork towns in particular and the proposed merger of both Cork Councils would represent local government becoming only further removed from citizens, with one Council for half a million people.
“I have yet to hear from the Minister for Local Government a coherent rationale as to why he believes the proposed merger is the right option for the people of Cork.
“Sinn Féin, through our teams on Cork City and Cork County Councils are the only party that has a real plan for local government in Cork. We have proposed that two separate local authorities would remain – a strong County Council with a focus on rural development and industry in county towns, as well as an expanded City Council focused on the development of a vibrant, modern City.
“In conjunction with that, we have called for the establishment of a Cork Strategic Authority to co-ordinate policy between both Councils and to ensure balanced regional development by assuming responsibility for Regional Strategic Planning and for developing joint City and County strategies. That would be a real plan for Cork.
“It’s important that Cork voters ask their candidates over the coming weeks what their plan for local government in Cork is.”
— Richard Jacob (@idahocafe) January 16, 2016