Cork Terms of Reference - January 2015


  1. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government hereby establishes the Cork Local Government Committee under section 28 of the Local Government Act 1991, hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”.
  2. The following persons are hereby appointed as members of the Committee: -
    • Mr Alf Smiddy (Chair)
    • Mr Tom Curran
    • Professor Dermot Keogh
    • Mr John Lucey, S.C.
    • Dr Theresa Reidy.
  3. The Committee shall be independent in the performance of its functions and shall stand dissolved on submission of its final report to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.
  4. In accordance with sections 32 and 33 of the Local Government Act 1991, the Committee is hereby required to carry out an objective review of local government arrangements in Cork city and county, including the boundary of Cork city, the local government areas and the local authorities for such areas, and to prepare a report making recommendations for improvements in such arrangements with respect to:
    1. whether the boundary of Cork city should be altered and if so, recommendations with respect to the alteration of the boundary
    2. or

    3. whether Cork City Council and Cork County Council should be unified
    4. and

    5. any further related matters on which the Minister may request the Committee to make recommendations during the course of its review.
  5. In the event of a recommendation that the boundary of Cork city should be altered or that Cork City Council and Cork County Council should be unified, the report shall contain relevant supporting information, analysis and rationale relating to or arising from such recommendation, including the following matters:
    1. The financial and other relevant implications of the options at 4(a) and 4(b), including the potential outcomes to be achieved, and likely benefits and costs
    2. The actions and arrangements that should be implemented in order to maximise savings, efficiency and effectiveness and to support key requirements of local government, particularly effective, accountable representation and governance, and efficient performance of functions and delivery of services
    3. Any significant issues that are considered likely to arise in the implementation of revised arrangements and how these should be addressed
    4. Measures that should be taken consequential to or in the context of the recommended arrangements, including any measures in relation to financial arrangements
    5. In the event of a recommendation that Cork City Council and Cork County Council should be unified:
      1. the most appropriate arrangement of municipal districts within the unified city and county, including designation of a metropolitan district in respect of Cork city
      2. any changes which should be made in the allocation of reserved functions, or in governance arrangements generally, as between the local authority for the overall city and county and the municipal or metropolitan district members, having regard particularly to the extent of area and population in Cork city and county
    6. In the event of a recommendation that the boundary of Cork city should be altered, any matters in relation to which provision should be made in a primary order or a supplementary order (providing for matters arising from, in consequence of, or related to, the boundary extension) within the meaning of section 34 of the Local Government Act 1991, including any financial adjustments required
    7. Any interim measures which should be taken in advance of, or in preparation for, the full implementation of the recommendations
    8. The appropriate timescale for implementation of recommendations, including any interim measures
  6. In carrying out its review and formulating its recommendations, the Committee shall address the following matters in particular:
    1. The need to take full account of:
      1. experience to date of local authority merger in Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford, including the type of administrative streamlining, efficiencies and economies of scale achieved, and non-financial benefits arising from unification
      2. current demographic and relevant spatial and socio-economic factors, including settlement and employment patterns
      3. detailed information to be provided by the relevant local authorities in relation to their structure, services, finances and operations or other matters relevant to the Committee’s functions
      4. Government policy in relation to local government as set out in the Action Programme for Effective Local Government, Putting People First, and in relation to the public service and the public finances
      5. any relevant analysis or recommendations in reports or studies relating to local government, to the Cork area, or to any of the Committee’s functions
    2. The relative degree of complexity that would be likely to arise in organisational, financial or other administrative aspects of different options or arrangements considered, or in the implementation of, or transition to, such arrangements
    3. The need to maximise efficiency and value for money in local government/li>
    4. The need to ensure that Cork city and county is served by viable and effective local government, including any arrangements considered necessary to strengthen local government and enhance the effectiveness of democratic representation and accountability
    5. The need to ensure that the future local government arrangements recommended are financially sustainable and will not result in an ongoing additional cost to central Government through increased subvention
    6. Staffing, organisational, representational, financial, service delivery and other relevant requirements
    7. The need to maximise the capacity of local government to promote the economic and social development of Cork city and county and the wider region in the context of the National Spatial Strategy and the Regional Planning Guidelines, and of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy and Local Economic and Community Plan, to be drawn up under the Planning and Local Government Acts, respectively
    8. The need to maximise the capacity of the Cork metropolitan area, in particular, to act as a strong and dynamic focus and generator of growth for the wider hinterland, and that of other urban and rural areas to contribute in that regard in the context of balanced development
    9. Any weaknesses in current local authority arrangements or operations that need to be addressed.
    10. Any additional matters that the Minister may specify
  7. The Committee shall make such recommendations with respect to the requirements at (4) and (5) and (6) as it considers necessary in the interests of effective, efficient and innovative local government. It shall prepare and furnish to the Minister, no later than nine months after the commencement of the review, a report, in writing, of its review and recommendations, which the Minister shall publish.

January 2015