Cork County Council [Comhairle Contae Chorcai] controls all the services which are expected of Irish county councils, such as motor taxation, planning and amenities. It is divided into ten districts for the purpose of electing councillors, but divides County Cork into three districts for the sake of water services. Recent financial pressures have caused some reorganisation of services.
The role of the council
Irish county councils control the following range of services: motor tax, housing, community matters and amenity, such as parks,roads and transport, along with urban and country planning services, library and arts services and environmental matters. They have a role in cultural services, which are important in an economy which has a strong tourist component. As Irish cars have letters for each county, the council has its own motortax department. Cork County Council have recently developed a flood early warning scheme at Bandon.
For electoral purposes, the council is divided into ten districts, each of which elects three councillors. Currently, the composition of the council is: Fine Gael,22, Fianna Fail 13, Labour 6, Sinn Fein 1 and independents 6. For the purposes of water services, the council divides the county into three districts: north, south and west Cork. The council is not responsible for some services provided in Cork City, which are provided by the city council
The current state of affairs
Planning is a key issue. Cork County Council planning department deals with the regulation of proposals for development and the control of all developments, some of which have stalled in the economic collapse suffered by Eire. It also deals with issues of heritage, which is greatly significant for the tourist industry in a country at the moment suffering financial pressures. There are several important heritage sites in the county, and the council co-operates with private owners where relevant.
Issues of helping find jobs for Ireland's many unemployed take up some council attention and there have been schemes to help the unemployed find work, particularly the young. These tie in with tourism development issues.
Waste regulation services are a topic at the moment. Waste disposal in Ireland is usually provided by an assortment of public and private services. However, recently Cork County Council sold off its waste disposal arm to a private company and now rents its services. This was a response to heavy financial pressures caised by the economic problems suffered in the island.