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06/04/2017

Coveney rejects Waterford ‘land grab’ but urges more cooperative planning

Words: Roger Milne
Kilkenny: Shutterstock: 74413726

Irish housing minister Simon Coveney has rejected proposals to redraw the electoral boundaries between Kilkenny and Waterford amid accusations of a "land grab".

However, he has stressed that the two planning authorities must cooperate more to ensure the city’s planned growth can be accommodated.

The minister has confirmed he will not take on board the advice of the Boundary Commission to extend Waterford into Kilkenny.

The commission recommended that over 8,000 hectares of land currently in Kilkenny should be "moved" into the Waterford constituency. This would have resulted in around 7,500 people's votes being transferred. It argued that the current border was an "impractical boundary".

In a statement Coveney said: "The recommendation in the Waterford/Kilkenny report to move the existing county boundaries has caused a lot of unease and concern in the area.

"This has been articulated directly to me by elected representatives and citizens through the consultation process on the National Planning Framework.

"The issue of identity, linked to county boundaries must be an important consideration," he said.

However, he added: "There is a responsibility on me now to ensure we have an appropriate management structure to allow Waterford City to grow into the South Kilkenny area."

“Whereas I don’t intend to implement the recommendation to move the county boundaries, I do intend to ensure that new management solutions are in place to facilitate the cohesive expansion of Waterford City, which will include areas of South Kilkenny

“There is an onus on both Waterford and Kilkenny Councils to be open to imaginative and new local government solutions in this regard.  I will work with the chief executives of both authorities and councillors to that end over the coming months.”

Image credit | Shutterstock

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