Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Local Government Shane Cassells TD has welcomed the outcome of the Mackinnon review into the proposed merger of Cork city and county councils.

Deputy Cassells made the comments after the review recommended that both authorities should be maintained and the city boundary be extended. He added that the decision is important as it highlights the importance of maintaining strong independent local authorities.

Deputy Cassells said, “The Smiddy Report, which was published in 2015, recommended the merging of Cork City and Cork County Council. Fianna Fáil highlighted serious flaws with the argument put forward in the Smiddy Report and pointed out that the status of Cork City would be seriously undermined if the report’s recommendations were to be implemented. The Mackinnon group was established to review the findings and it has now concluded that Cork and the wider region would be best served by keeping both the City and County council structures.

“This is a sensible recommendation as it recognises that Cork City needs its own structure to help attract investment and employment into the region. The south-west region would have suffered hugely if the councils were merged as it would have stripped towns across County Cork of their own strong, independent voice in the form of the County Council structure. It would have led to more centralised power which in turn would have further isolated many communities from the decision making process.

“The Mackinnon review has clearly recognised that the City and the County are large enough to maintain their own governance structure. This is a sensible decision as it will allow Cork to put its best foot forward in attracting inward investment and in turn act as a balance to development in Dublin. It’s important that we achieve balanced economic growth and this can only occur by having local authority structures which are fit for purpose,” concluded Deputy Cassells.