19 July 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Following the publication of the Report of the Expert Advisory Group on June 9th, 2017 there has been much public discourse in relation to the report’s recommendations. This evening, the Chairman of the Group, Mr Jim MacKinnon met with the Elected Members and Executive of Cork City Council in relation to the Report, having had a similar engagement earlier in the day with Cork County Council.
The experts framed their consideration of Local Government reform in Cork in the context of best international practice and policy in relation to sustainable development, the role of Second Cities, and emerging national planning policy in terms of the National Planning Framework. It is clear from our discussions today with Mr MacKinnon that the Expert Advisory Group was very structured, strategic and professional in how the process was undertaken.
The Council is of the view that the experts effectively endorsed the vision and approach that this Council has long held in relation to the role that this City has and needs to play as a driver for the southern region, and indeed in a national context. The Report sounded a stark warning that Cork’s role as Second City will be seriously undermined if the right strategic decisions are not taken.
The review of Local Government arrangements in Cork has now been ongoing for over two and a half years. In the past 30 months, three separate reports have recommended the extension of the City Boundary. The City Council has the capacity to address the associated issues of any Boundary Extension. The delay in concluding the process has itself become a serious impediment to the wellbeing of Cork and the region.
The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Tony Fitzgerald (FF) said
We would be failing in our duty if we were to ignore the warnings and recommendations of the experts. Implementation of the change agenda needs to begin, and needs to begin urgently.
As Lord Mayor of Cork, I am calling on Government to back the recommendations of the experts and to put the Implementation Team in place now.