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Minister Phelan appoints Local Electoral Area Boundary Committees to consider Cork City and Cork County

Published on Friday, 23 Mar 2018
John Paul Phelan TD

Minister Phelan appoints Local Electoral Area Boundary Committees to consider Cork City and Cork County

Mr. John Paul Phelan T.D., Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, announced today (23 March 2018) that he has appointed the existing Local Electoral Area Boundary Committees to review and make recommendations on local electoral areas in Cork City and Cork County.

The review will be conducted on the basis of the revised boundary between the city and county, as proposed by the Cork Implementation Oversight Group and agreed by Government, and which will be given legal effect by forthcoming legislation.

The Committees’ reports will be considered by Minister Phelan as the basis for the revision of local electoral areas under his statutory powers.  The review of local electoral areas is being undertaken in prospect of the local elections to be held in 2019.  In doing their work, the committees are to have regard to the results of Census 2016 and to assume no change in the total membership of each local authority.

The Committees are tasked with reporting to the Minister no later than 13 June 2018.

The review of Cork County will be undertaken by Committee No. 1, who will report and make recommendations in relation to county Cork.  The number of councillors will be not less than 5 and not more than 7 for each local electoral area, provided that in particular compelling circumstances, 3 or 4 seat local electoral areas may be recommended.

The review of Cork City will be undertaken by Committee No. 2, who will report and make recommendations in relation to Cork City.  The number of councillors will be not less than 5 and not more than 7 for each local electoral area.

The terms of reference for the Committees in relation to Cork are attached; the membership of each Committee remains unchanged.

 

TERMS OF REFERENCE IN RELATION TO CORK COUNTY

Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee No. 1

1. To review and to make recommendations on the division of Cork County into local electoral areas and the number of members to be assigned to each such electoral area.

2.  For the purposes of the review, the boundary of Cork County shall be the boundary as shown on the map attached to these terms of reference which is to be given legal effect under forthcoming legislation.

3.  For the purpose of the review, the Committee should have regard to the population as ascertained at Census 2016, should assume no change in the total membership of Cork County Council as specified in the Local Government Act 2001 as amended by the Local Government Reform Act 2014 and should endeavour, as far as practicable and subject to the other requirements of these terms of reference, to achieve variance from individual average local authority representation within the range of plus or minus 10%.

4. The number of councillors assigned to a local electoral area shall be not less than 5 and not more than 7 provided that in particular compelling circumstances 3 or 4 seat local electoral areas may be recommended, where otherwise the geographic size of the area would be disproportionately large.

5.  A distinct urban-focused local electoral area or areas, as appropriate, shall be designated in respect of each town the population of which within the county as ascertained at Census 2016, when rounded to the nearest 1,000, is equal to or greater than 15,000.  The number of members of Cork County Council to be assigned to each such local electoral area shall not be less than 5, as far as practicable.  Each such electoral area shall be based, as far as practicable, on the areas of the “census town” as defined for the purposes of Census 2016.

6.  Other local electoral areas should be designed, as far as possible, around urban centres, taking due account of local and community identities and linkages as well as natural boundaries and the need to facilitate the effectiveness of the governance and representational roles of elected members, including, in particular, the need to avoid designating local electoral areas which are territorially very large or extend over very long distances.

7.  In making recommendations in relation to local electoral areas the Committee should take account of the following proposals in relation to the configuration of Municipal Districts:

(i)   Municipal Districts may be divided into 2 or more local electoral areas as the Committee considers appropriate, except where the terms of reference require otherwise, or where the Committee considers that it would not be appropriate.

(ii)  The number of Municipal District Members for each district shall not be less than 6 save where, in exceptional circumstances (for example, related to population), the Committee considers that it is necessary that a district should consist of a single local electoral area, in which case the number of members shall not be less than 5.

8. The Committee shall have regard to:

(i)   Government policy in relation to local government, including any further reports, statements or decisions in that regard during the course of the review, and to any further guidance or requirements issued by the Minister;

(ii)  The recommendations in relation to local electoral areas and municipal districts (in particular at paragraph 12.1.7) in the report of the Expert Advisory Group on Local Government Arrangements in Cork dated April 2017.

 

TERMS OF REFERENCE IN RELATION TO CORK CITY

Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee No. 2

  1. To review and to make recommendations on the division of Cork City into local electoral areas and the number of members to be assigned to each such electoral area.
  2. For the purposes of the review, the boundary of Cork City shall be the boundary as shown on the map attached to these terms of reference which is to be given legal effect under forthcoming legislation.
  3. For the purpose of the review, the Committee should have regard to the population as ascertained at Census 2016, should assume no change in the total membership of Cork City Council as specified in the Local Government Act 2001 as amended by the Local Government Reform Act 2014 and should endeavour, as far as practicable and subject to the other requirements of these terms of reference, to achieve variance from individual average local authority representation within the range of plus or minus 10%.
  4. The number of councillors assigned to a local electoral area shall be not less than 5 and not more than 7.
  5. Local electoral areas should be designed, as far as possible, around urban villages or have a neighbourhood focal point (or points), taking due account of local and community identities and linkages and the need to facilitate the effectiveness of the governance and representational roles of elected members, including, in particular, the need to avoid designating local electoral areas which are territorially very large or extend over very long distances or over multiple  urban villages, or which divide individual urban villages or natural communities.
  6. The Committee shall have regard to:

    (i) Government policy in relation to local government, including any further reports, statements or decisions in that regard during the course of the review, and to any further guidance or requirements issued by the Minister.
    (ii) The recommendation in paragraph  12.1.8 of the report of the Expert Advisory Group on Local Government Arrangements in Cork, dated April 2017, that “A newly expanded Cork City Council should also move to introduce an area-or district based structure for the wider city area, based on five areas (including the city centre).  This will allow for the devolution of operational decisions at area level and the representation of distinct areas and communities within the city.”

Note: With regard to article 6(ii), local authorities which do not have municipal districts, including Cork City Council, have power under section 50 of the Local Government Act 2001 to establish area committees in respect of local electoral areas. It would appear, therefore, that what would be required to give effect to the Advisory Group recommendation is to ensure that the LEAs are appropriately configured to facilitate the proposed arrangement.

 

 

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