ENVIRONMENT Minister John Gormley has urged locals to "cool it a bit" over a county boundary dispute in the midwest.
Mr Gormley made his comment over rising tensions in the midwest over government moves to extend the Limerick city boundary into Co Clare.
Making his first visit to Clare since he announced the establishment of a committee that will examine the boundary issue, Mr Gormley rejected a charge from Clare councillors that he had a bias in favour of Limerick city as "completely unfounded".
The councillors made the claim, pointing out that the minister was educated at St Munchin's College in Limerick.
In Ennis to formally open the town's €10m water treatment plant, Mr Gormley said that there was "no basis at all" to claims of his bias on the boundary issue.
"Let's cool it a bit and engage in a proper consultation. No decision has been made at all."
Mayor of Limerick Kevin Kiely has already announced the city council's intention to take over the running of Clare villages Parteen and Meelick and Clare and Limerick county councillors are set to finalise their submissions on the issue next week.
However, Mr Gormley promised to act on the recommendations of the committee he has established.
"Successive governments have been getting reports on how we encourage economic development in areas and those reports have gathered dust.
"I am not going to do that. I am going to listen to what the experts say and I hope that there will be proper consultation with people in the area," he said.
"I don't think these things should be imposed on people, I think proper consultation should take place and at the end of that process see what is on the table."
"Let everyone keep cool heads," he stressed.