Cork County Council should have special status when Government is carving up Grant Aid, is the view of Cllr Gerard Murphy. The Fine Gael Cllr received cross Party support to have Cork recognised as three separate Counties, when Government is deciding its allocation of State Aid.
Mr Murphy told the Council Executive “it is unfair and unjust” that Cork, the largest County, receives the same funding as Leitrim, one of the smallest Counties.
He said the Local Authority should commission an expert in Local Government to clearly show that Cork County Council should be treated as 3 Counties (South, West and North).
He said a similar submission undertaken by UCC for increased road funding resulted in the Local Authority moving “from the bottom of the list to the middle of the list” on that occasion.”
“This precedent is well established historically, and was reaffirmed in the last number of years by the setting up 3 Local Community Development Committees (LCDC)” said Cllr Murphy.
Cllr John Paul O’Shea said Cork County is disadvantaged because of the size of our County.
“Now that we have had a City expansion we are predominantly a rural County so it is important that Cork gets the recognition as three separate divisions” he said.
Fianna Fail Cllr Gobnait Moynihan said Cllr Murphy’s Motion “hits the nail on the head, as we are continually missing out as a County.”
Cllr Seamus McGrath, Fianna Fail said “it’s about time we made a strong case to Government to have a more fair and equitable way of distributing funding.”
He said “no one is suggesting that National funding should be 100% population based, but it should have a strong weighting.”
Fine Gael Cllr Susan McCarthy said “Carrigaline Municipal District has a population of 35,000 people, and Leitrim County Council in its entirety has 31,000. When you make that comparison it really does feed into the argument that we should have three divisions when going for funding”
Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan Independent said “UCC has some of the leading experts in the country on Local Government and Administration and the sooner we can commission the report, the better.”
County Mayor Christopher O’Sullivan said he had no problem leading a delegation to highlight the anomalies, the sheer size of the County, and the fact that being treated as one County is not faring well for Cork.
In a written report to Council Niall Healy, County Director of service, Municipal District Operations and Rural development said “there is no disputing that the needs of Cork County are not being adequately recognised, or supported, in National Schemes which treat each County equally, having no regard to the population size or geographic scale.”
He said there was a “blanket approach” to funding allocations for a number of schemes including
Department of Children Grants for Playgrounds, Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure Schemes, Community Enhancement programmes, as well as Urban and Rural Regeneration and Development funds.
County Chief Executive Tim Lucey said the Council’s Corporate Policy Group should play a role in setting terms of reference for the report and consider the best place to have the report commissioned.
He said however he may not necessarily get the support of his own colleagues for the report when the combined population of six counties alone reflects the entire population of Cork County.