Last week I secured an adjournment debate in Dáil Éireann on the Clare Boundary Issue.A text of the speech is below, while a video clip of the speech, including Minister Hogan’s response, is available here: Clare Boundary Issue
Adjournment Debate on the need to exclude County Clare from any boundary extension of Limerick City – Speech by Joe Carey TD 18th May 2011
Firstly, I want to express my thanks to the Ceann Comhairle for allowing me to raise this very important matter.
Tonight, on the floor of Dáil Éireann, I want to reiterate my opposition to a boundary extension into County Clare. There is no justifiable reason why Limerick City should extend into County Clare. There is no justifiable reason why County Clare should sacrifice a portion of our lands to resolve a problem which clearly doesn’t exist. The simple fact is, this proposal is unwarranted and would create much more problems than it would solve.
We in the Banner County are a very proud people. Indeed, I am a proud Clare man, born and bred. County Clare is steeped in history, heritage and tradition. If a boundary extension into County Clare were to be granted – it would rob people of their identity, of their link to where their from, their very history and heritage.
The primary proposal put forward in the Limerick Local Government Review is that there should be one local governance structure to manage Limerick City and Limerick County. The People of Clare have absolutely no issue with this proposal, however – the people of Clare have a major issue with the plan to expand the Limerick City boundary into County Clare.
We are told by the Limerick Local Government Review Group that their motivation to seek a boundary extension into County Clare is in order to create a critical mass of population which will in-turn improve the prospects of attracting Foreign Direct Investment.
This idea is fine in theory but is not grounded in reality. Changing a line on a map doesn’t create a population – the people already exists – the critical mass already exists, but we simply live in different Counties.
Placing 3000 Clare people into Limerick will not sort out our financial woes – it will however create bad feeling, division, resentment and bitterness.
It’s very clear the People of Clare are very much opposed to a boundary extension. I want to applaud the efforts of the ‘Clare Against the Boundary Extension Committee under the chairmanship of Jim Gully. This group were formed in 1996 and took up a survey at the time which resulted in 90% of residents living in Westbury, Shannon Banks, Meelick and Parteen expressing a deep desire to remain in County Clare under the jurisdiction of Clare Co Council. In recent times Clare Against the Boundary Extension Committee have organised very successful public demonstrations which have received massive support.
If we are to pull ourselves out of the economic disaster zone our Country finds itself in – We need to work together. In the same way, there’s no reason why a better level of co-operation between the Local Authorities in County Clare, Limerick City and Limerick County can’t take place.
This approach in my view, would result in a better quality of public service being delivered. There’s no reason why public services can’t be shared to a much greater extent. A joint effort between Local Authorities in Counties Clare and Limerick on the delivery of public services is a far better option than changing County boundaries to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
I want to acknowledge the forthright approach to this issue by the new Minister for Environment & Local Government – it’s in deep contrast to the efforts of former Minister Gormely.
In the short time Minister Hogan has held his brief he has facilitated meetings with representatives from Limerick City, Limerick County and County Clare. As you move towards a decision on the Limerick Local Government Review Groups Report Minister Hogan I know you will take on board the genuine and deeply held opposition in County Clare to any boundary change.
I am appealing to you this evening, Minister Hogan, to drop in full the proposal to grant a boundary extension from Limerick City into County Clare.
I believe the solution must be an insistence for a far greater level of co-operation between the local authorities of Clare and Limerick which would not interfere in anyway with County Boundaries.
In conclusion, Minister Hogan, I would be grateful if you could tell the House when you expect to make a formal decision on the report.