13 Jun 2017

Comments by Kieran, Report of the Expert Advisory Group on Local Government Arrangements in Cork, June 2017

Posted by admin

Report of the Expert Advisory Group on Local Government Arrangements in Cork

Comments by Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Cork City Council Meeting, June 2017

This is a very welcome document in terms for Cork City’s Council’s perspective on the Local Government Review.

I think it’s a document to note more so than adopt; I have a lot of questions about aspects of the document – and just because we are now getting what we want – we shouldn’t just take the first cheque that comes our way – winning a battle – doesn’t mean we have won the overall war.

I certainly agree with the thoughts that an implementation team should be moved straight away to work through the many questions within this document and address any clarifications needed.

There is a scarily short lead into the next local elections of 2019.

The sooner the implementation oversight body test the proposals within this document the better in an effort to forge forward.

This document needs to be plugged into the submissions of the City and County Councils for the NPF around planning for the next thirty years.

And there are a lot more questions to ask:

If we are agreeing with the proposal for a five-year term for a Lord Mayor – then we should go all the way and propose a directly elected Lord Mayor by the public – a Council elected Lord Mayor runs the risk of one political party ruling the roost for five years.

This document is very light on financial figures, which raises questions for me similar to the County Council’s, and I note their queries that they are not against the document, which is a positive development but are seeking clarifications, all of which I agree with and also such questions need to be asked by our side in order to get a successful outcome for us.

I have questions around costs of transfer of directorates, staff and assets – I would like to get clarification figures on the costings around social housing, roads and environment in the proposed new areas for the city.

I would like the oversight body to provide us with the costs behind the transfer of outstanding debts including commercial rates.

I agree with the point that there has to be long term financial sustainability of the reconfigured County Council – but I note most of all the proposal of providing the County Council with 40 million euros a year for ten years – near half a billion euros over a decade – a lifeline to keep the County Council alive – that’s a huge debt to hang over any city authority – we need to send out a strong signal that such a debt is not sustainable over 10 years.

Again all of this debate comes down to the Department of Local Government’s financing of local authorities.

The emerging city area must have proper funding to encompass another 100,000 people – there is nothing within this document about what extra income will come to the new city council – if the extra income is for example e.40m per annum– it wouldn’t be financially sustainable to take on any new debts – and try to develop the region at the same time and look after the everyday requirements.

We need proper finance figures. I can support many of the report’s recommendations but do not endorse all of it. I have many finance questions, I need answered by the implementation oversight body.

Comments are closed.