Monday 18 December 2017

County/city merger report ready in weeks, says Coveney

Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney has confirmed that he expects a 130 page report on government reform in Cork to be published within the next number of weeks.

The report in question will address whether Cork City Council should expand or merge with Cork County Council.

Minister Coveney, who has stated that he supports the merger, refused to be drawn on what the committee's recommendations in the matter would be; however, he did say that he was very happy with the report's findings and recommendations and has said that it could be used as an example nationwide.

"I have some questions in relation to the initial draft that I've asked the advisory group to take a more detailed look at. For example, they were using 2011 census figures and making assumptions around the 2016 census figures but I would like the report to have the updated 2016 census figures.

"And then there were some other issues that were being recommended which I think makes sense," he said.

"But I just wanted to get further evidence from them as to the basis of those decisions. I think its a very good piece of work and when we launch it, I hope we will get political consensus," he added.

It remains to be seen whether the merger will take place, however, Mr. Coveney's predecessor Alan kelly commissioned Alf Smiddy to look at the issue and he concluded a merger between the two local authorities would be the best option.

This has, however, been disputed by academic members of the review, such as Professor Dermot Keogh and Dr. Theresa Reidy, who said that the two authorities should remain with Cork City Council being expanded.

Any such merger would rely on the support of Fianna Fáil, with it's leader, Micheál Martin, opposed to the merger of the councils.


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