Local Government recommendations vindicate Sinn Fein proposals – Ó Laoghaire
Sinn Féin has today welcomed the news that the proposal to merge Cork City and County Council has been taken off the table, and that the City boundary is to be increased.
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has welcomed the fact that the Minister's committee under Mr McKinnon, has moved away from the blunt merger proposed by the committee established under Minister Alan Kelly.
Speaking today, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;
"Sinn Féin was the only party to have the same position in both City and County. We opposed this crude merger of City and County as it would have been detrimental to both Councils.
“We said the status quo is unsustainable, and that a sensible expansion of the City Boundary with a strong sustainable County Council, in conjunction with cooperation between the two was the best option.
"This merger would have not have overseen an adequate focus on developing a strong City as a counterbalance to Dublin. It also would have meant that the peripheral rural areas of Cork City would have been neglected.
"This document reflects very strongly the influence of the Sinn Féin proposals, and we welcome that the Ministers Committee under Jim McKinnon has moved away from the wrongheaded blunt merger proposals contained in the proposals made by the Smiddy Group under Minister Kelly.
"The merger is off the table; the unsustainable status quo boundary is being ruled out. The situation that Togher and Douglas are divided between City & County was crazy and it is good this has been rectified.
“Crucially, the Sinn Féin proposals, proposed a body which would be responsible for regional strategic planning and cooperation between the two Councils, on a regional basis, and that has been taken on board.
"We welcome that. However much of the devil is in the detail, and indeed, the implementation.
"We will be examining the details, and crucially, the proposals around the financial arrangements between City and County need to be got right, and firmed up.
“There is no question but that we need a prosperous City capable of providing quality services, but that cannot be at the expense of the County, we need to ensure that rural areas and County Towns get the services they deserve, and to thrive.
"It is also essential that we get clarity on the timelines and powers of the executive. Local Government does not have adequate powers, and too much of those powers are concentrated in the hands of the executive.
"We also need to know when the boundaries will take effect and what exactly they will be and there should be some consultation with communities at the furthest reaches.
"Implementation will be key, particularly on finance and boundaries. However, I believe this document very strongly reflects Sinn Féin proposals.”