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Thursday 29 September 2016

Poll shows little support for €440m 'super council' merger

Published 16/09/2015 | 13:08

Ciaran Lynch
Ciaran Lynch

JUST one-in-five Cork residents support the creation of a €440 million 'super council' through the merger of Cork City and County Councils.

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The revelation came as the first poll was published on Cork householder opinions on the future development of local government in Ireland's largest county.

Labour TD Ciaran Lynch commissioned the study which was conducted over 244 households, many spanning 'border areas' on the boundary between the two councils.

Mr Lynch, chairman of the Oireachtas banking inquiry, expressed "grave concerns" at a Local Government Review report which recommended the merger of both councils to create a single authority for Cork.

The report, chaired by former Beamish & Crawford boss, Alf Smiddy, has provoked outrage in Cork with the city council now threatening to take a judicial review to the High Court in a bid to veto the proposal.

The opinion poll, the first carried out on the proposed boundary review, found an overwhelming majority in favour of a straightforward extension of the city council's area.

It found:

 * 59.pc support a greater city council area.

 * 21.3pc support a city and county council merger.

 * 71.3pc of people said they consider themselves to be city residents even if they live in a county council area.

 * 94.3pc said they were aware of proposed local government reforms and were aware it would have implications for them.

 Mr Lynch said the Smiddy report now needed to be parked pending greater consultation and expert submissions.

"My fear is that this is the wrong option for Cork and could have lasting negative consequences for both the city and county," he told independent.ie

"I would be very concerned about any further advancement of this report. I think it is vitally important that greater consultation is taken and the views of experts are taken,"

"I think we have to put enormous emphasis on the fact that the experts consulted in this report both came out against a merger and experts in University College Cork (UCC) also expressed their concerns."

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