Press Release: Lord Mayor McCarthy Welcomes New Bridge Name
Cork’s new 4m wide pedestrian and cycle path bridge, connecting Grange to Tramore Valley Park, has been officially named Vernon Mount Bridge. Lord Mayor Cllr Kieran McCarthy would like to thank all members of the public who made submissions during the selection naming process.
Over a period of a month, a total of 598 nominations were received from the public through a naming submission process set up by Cork City Council.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted: ‘Many thanks to the general public for engaging in the naming process. This process has been used in recent years, for example in the naming of Mary Elmes Bridge. It is a process that my colleagues and I will continue to use, knowing that it provides the public an opportunity to be involved in shaping the culture and history of the city. This new amenity will provide much-needed connectivity for the residents of Grange and Frankfield, enhancing the active travel offering in the city.
The 63-metre pedestrian/cycle bridge and the adjoining kilometre-long cycle/ pathway will provide connectivity between Grange/Frankfield and the southern suburbs and will support residents, students, and commuters to opt for active travel and thereby reduce traffic congestion.
Funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA), the kilometre-long pathway will provide a public amenity for local residents through the wooded area south of Grange Road, allowing direct access across the N40 dual carriageway to Tramore Valley Park via the new pedestrian and cycle-only bridge.
The four-metre-wide pathway will also support people with mobility needs and will include environmentally sensitive public lighting. The bridge and pathway are due to be opened to the public in the Autumn.
To mark the naming of the new bridge, Kieran will conduct a historical walking tour of Tramore Valley Park and the Black Ash story on Saturday afternoon, 29 July. Meet at the Halfmoon Lane gate, at 2pm. The tour is free and no booking is required.
Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called on the executive of Cork City Council for a more hands on future proof strategy for Cork’s historic English market In a recent format visit to the market. Several traders noted to the Lord Mayor of their concern of empty stalls lying vacant for too long, the need for repairing the roof and an overall business plan development.
The Lord Mayor noted: “It is an annual tradition for the Lord Mayor to engage with English Market traders in the first few days of office through a meet and greet. The market is a historic gem down down through the ages and dates back to 1788 – just one year after the Mayoralty chain was created – and has had many high end publicity wins and events in recent years. The market is a civic space all Corkonians can be proud of and I know many Corkonians make weekly attempts to support the SMEs within the space. I am regular punter there as well.
On my formal walk around this week, the traders I met had many questions on a small number of vacant stalls. In recent times there have been a number of retirements of stalwart stallholders, who occupied large stall space and with such retirements have left noticeable vacant spaces. The northern aisle in particular needs a plan with a small number of stalls vacant.
There is a big opportunity to have more foodie start up stalls. Cork City Council does have a food strategy and through the Council’s involvement in the local enterprise board it promotes SME development. Unit 3 within the Market is a start-up stall for foodie SMEs but there is much scope to support more foodie start-ups. I have made my comments to the Council’s management team on the market and have asked them to present a strategy for the market at the Council’s finance committee.
And when I say all of this I say it in the context of future proofing the trade of the market. And above all, it is crucial for all of us in Cork to support the Market or to rediscover it if one has not bought from there in a while”.
“Got Cork” – Adventures in the Southern Capital
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Kieran McCarthy,
23 June 2023
The Diary Entry:
Dear colleagues, [dear TDs, senators], dear Chief Executive, dear family, dear Lady Mayoress, dear Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends;
Cork 1863 – A letter is dispatched to the UK to a young architect letting him know he was successful with his design proposal for a new cathedral.
William Burges, the newly appointed architect of a new St Finbarr’s Cathedral, immediately and proudly remarked in his diary, “Got Cork” and with that embarked on a remarkable piece of building work, a voyage of discovery into the origins of Cork history. He created an iconic structure relevant for his time and forged a structure as it was seen at the time as [quote] “worthy of the name cathedral” [end quote].
And proudly I can write in my diary this evening also “Got Cork”.
Mar sin ar dtús báire, ba mhaith liom mo fíor buiochas do mo mholtóir Comhairleoir Des Cahill agus do mo thaiceoir, Comhairleoir Terry Shannon, an bheirt iar-Ard Mhearaí Chorcaí, agus a chomhghleacaithe daor as do mhuinín a chur ionam, agus as bronntanas dom an noiméad seo “Got Cork”.
Many thanks dear colleagues for your trust in me here this evening.
Such a term “Got Cork” has always stayed with me through many years since my first reading of them.
And this diary entry by William Burges leads to many questions on what it is to “Got Cork”.
William was tasked to be a guardian of a key part of the city’s heritage – to carry out a project, with multiple roles – some of which included remembering and representing a legacy, projecting and re-animating the origins story of the city’s patron Saint Finbarr.
He built upon past legacies of former churches, He assembled striking architectural designs in a historic medieval style. He managed a team, and most interestingly conducted archaeological excavations and move skeletons and burials because the new cathedral was twice the size of the church it was replacing.
Whereas this evening, you are not entrusting me to build a Cathedral or to move graves [I hope not, but I cannot confirm I have read all of the terms and conditions with the role!].
But we are, I feel, in our own political cathedral where “Got Cork” takes on new meanings– we are in a space of guardianship, representation and inheritance.
In our ancient ceremony of handing over the chain at our annual general meeting this evening from Cllr Forde to myself – that strong sense of guardianship is ever present. There is a guardianship over the chain as an object of high symbolism – firstly a gold medallion with the city’s coat of arms and its Latin inscription Statio Bene Fida Carinis or translated A Safe Harbour for Ships,
Secondly a portcullis showcasing the ancient water gate of the medieval walled town of Cork thirdly the SS chain links symbolising sacredness and guardianship, and lastly the medallion inscription where 1787 marks its creation.
There is the guardianship of how this chain links the past to our present, almost seamlessly – that one could argue that the chain links are not just physical links but if it could speak it has seen the highs and lows of Cork history from boom to bust and vice versa. The chain has been a witness to it all in its over 230-year history;
…to the creation of the term of Lord Mayor in 1901 with Daniel Hegarty to the tragedies of office holders such as Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney and then woven into a myriad of personal connections by those who have engaged with office holders.
…and then there is the guardianship on how its essence the chain projects the city into the future as debated during the recent boundary expansion scheme. That of all the elements of those contentious debates, which emerged a few short years ago was that the chain and its societal connection meant much to the people of Cork.
And indeed, when you mix the guardianship elements of the past, present and future, one gets a strong mix of high emotion and a deep attachment to the title of Lord Mayor of Cork.
A Personal Journey:
And for someone like me, it’s not lost on me what this chain means.
I was the child on the annual Lord Mayor school visits who felt a deep attachment to the essence of the chain and its connection to the sense of place and pride in Cork– something that made me feel proud, made me connect to my city, driven by proud parents and teachers of Cork. Thanks Mum and Dad, and to my sister Deirdre and my brother Aidan for everything.
I was someone who likened the Lord Mayor’s visit to a form of Christmas and that they had some sort of super powers and that the medallion of the chain was an actual key to a rich box of stories and papers of my city. I look forward to seeing it later.
I was the child who wanted to be Lord Mayor when I grew up
I was the teenager who pursued civic education projects of former Lord Mayors– someone who began to research and photograph the city – its buildings and public spaces – and someone who consumed history books written about the city.
I became a someone who has studied and written on the high and lows of Cork history across time encountering mayors and Lord Mayors like ghosts walking across my research of historic books and newspapers;
A someone who created walking tours, a someone who wrote books on this historic city, and ultimately an epic voyage that has led me straight into this hallowed political gladiatorial space to meet and work with you good people,
to work with different Lord Mayors of differing political hues and interests, to learn more about how this city ticks and develops,
to work in the European Committee of the Regions and now this journey has come to this enormous moment this evening.
So, what my 11 year old self engaged with 35 years ago has brought me on a voyage of epic personal proportions where “Got Cork” has a very high emotional value.
A House of Democracy:
But perhaps it is my journey since I joined the Council in 2009 that has been the most enriching.
I have had wow factor memories, deeply worrying memories and very proud memories.
I have been very fortunate to work with colleagues who care deeply about Cork’s communities – its essence and people, who represent its people and neighbourhoods, where every meeting is a chance to make a difference. In my time, some evenings we have won incredible things for this city and during other evenings, we remain pushing forward inch by inch, or stuck, or we have gone back to the drawing board, but we have always remained true to a forward-looking path.
Indeed, in the past four years of this Council as a significant house of democracy, we have achieved so much.
In this Council term alone, we have gone through many challenges – the expansion of the city’s boundaries, which feels like years and years ago, brought us many nights of debates.
In 2019 in a special booklet to mark the boundary expansion of the city the Council commissioned poet Theo Dorgan to reflect on the winds of change and the related challenges and visions. He wrote:
“Great changes are coming, the worst of the old ways are dust in the wind and the new energies are crackling with light and variousness of daring thought and music. Go on, said one of my brothers, give us a mad vision of Cork in the coming years. That’s Easy I said, it will be the Athens of a new republic, the dream city where a noble past will give birth to a glorious future. He looked at me and said, would you ever cop yourself on. Fair enough I said – getting a bit carried away…but all the same though. What if”.
Again, a sense of “Got Cork” but little did we know what was ahead of us.
We pushed forward through the significant challenges of Covid. We created an online digital platform to enable us to interact. We created a strong Climate Action team. We established a strong Women’s Caucus. We hosted a strong and rich commemoration programme. We passed an ambitious development plan. We found new ways forward to serve in more ambitious ways our respective local electoral areas or neighbourhoods, to placing a focus on our City of Welcomes paradigm, and much much more.
We kept the Council’s work on the road.
This has been due in no small part to your dedication dear colleagues and our strong Executive led by our CE Ann Doherty.
At this juncture I would like in particular like to thank our former Lord Mayors of this Council Cllr Dr John Sheehan, Cllr Joe Kavanagh, Cllr Colm Kelleher and the outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Deirdre Forde for leading us through days ranging from “is this our life now sitting 2 metres away from people” to re-opening the city sprinkling it with hope, positivity and charm, to beginning our journey on the development plan, to championing the rebooting of business and community life” and much much more.
We kept this house of democracy going – the importance of guardianship, democracy and representation never wavered.
I am reminded of the words of Tomás MacCurtain in his Lord Mayoralty speech in late January 1920 where he noted:
[quote]: “I expect from the members of the new Corporation a sacrifice of time and a sacrifice, perhaps, of personal interest…that no self-interest would be put before the interest of the community at large”.
And in our time to each member of this chamber you have made sacrifices to your personal lives to make sure this chamber forges paths forwards through its multitude of its work programmes.
The Hope for Tomorrow:
And so now as we face into the last final 12 months of this Council, there is still much to do. There is much work to finish and much work to start.
And when I say all of that I am very conscious that our citizens and their voices and requests must continue to be listened to, new ideas forged and implemented, and need to be the bedrock of Cork’s DNA building into the future.
In our City, democracy matters. It is renewed every time we have a meeting. It will be renewed with the impending local elections next year.
Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney in his book Principles of Freedom spoke about people gifted with certain powers of soul and body. That it is of vital importance to the individual and the community that one be given a full opportunity to place a value on developing one’s talent, and [quote] “to fill one’s place in the world worthily” [end quote].
He also wrote about the citizen and a hope for tomorrow. As he noted:
“The citizen will fight for that ideal in obscurity, little heeded – in the open, misunderstood; in humble places, still undaunted; in high places, seizing every vantage point, never crushed, never silent, never despairing, cheering a few comrades with hope for tomorrow. And should these few sink in the struggle the greatness of the ideal is proven in the last hour”.
And in a similar vain Eamon de Valera opening this City Hall building and our chamber on 8 September 1936. Addressing the masses, he noted:
“I am sure the people will not shrink from the work that is necessary so that the efforts of the past are not to be in vain. The people of this city have clung tenaciously to their nationality with courage and hope even in the darkest hours. Surely that courage and that hope will not sway them now when the dawn is at hand”.
We will have myriads of meetings ahead of us in our final year where the “hope for tomorrow” can make sure our citizens are the front and centre of our priorities such as reducing homelessness, making sure our construction of our new social housing projects keeps on track, as well as keeping our affordable housing programmes on track, to making sure we are put on a firm footing to be Climate Neutral as part of the EU led Horizon Mission,
We need to keep adding to sustainable mobility plans; we need to keep enhancing the offering of the city centre; we need to make sure we keep creating new amenities, and we need to continue to make sure our communities are future proofed by weaving them with the sustainable development goals and the WHO Healthy Cities project. The list is a long one.
And then we need to sprinkle all those priorities with the energy and ambition that a second city brings or what I call Ireland’s southern capital and one gets an exciting future for our city by the Lee.
Cork City Council is on the frontline in building the future of communities in Cork. The Council is a story builder, a strategy builder, and a capacity builder.
In addition, one would be hard pressed to find a community within the city’s boundaries and in its outliers that doesn’t have a strong sense of place and identity – where building community capacity, family nest building, ambition and creating opportunities matter, and when compiled create a very strong Cork Inc.
Without doubt my Lord Mayoralty will champion these many priorities but in particular I would like to offer a voice to many of our citizens through my theme of Building our Communities Together and through a pet project I will be calling the Voices of Cork. My interests in heritage, history and education will be at the heart of this project.
So, at our Annual Meeting this evening, we continue to carry with hope, with confidence, with passion, with wit, with leadership, and all of that bound to the city’s hopes and dreams, which burn brightly for the future. This great city keeps moving and the tests of our time demand continuous action.
And so this evening I can proudly inscribe in my diary “Got Cork” with its multitude of meanings that we all continue to explore, engage and push forward with.
To conclude, I am also reminded of the words of two famous composers, Rogers and Hammerstein who once penned the most beautiful lyrics.
“Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I got a wonderful feeling, everything is going my way,
eh, O what a beautiful day”.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh arís ar an onóir seo.
The amendments that have appeared in the phase 2 plans are welcome. I remain pro the need for a better sustainable bus service and associated mobility works. Within several neighbourhoods with the south east area of Cork City, which I represent, many of the phase one plans created much deep anger and deep mistrust of the NTA and Bus Connects, mainly because of what I would deem a tokenistic communication campaign.
Whereas the plans for phase 2 are significantly less maddingly in terms of physical changes and consultation with local people, I am still receiving many emails from local people whose general questions, through email to Bus Connects email during this past phase two process, have been left unanswered. I am still calling for a root and branch review of communication to local people. Certainly, I deem it very unfair to send out animation videos into the public realm, which do not show the below and after changes belonging to the phase two proposals.
The decision to retain the vast majority of the trees on Boreenmanna Road and the backing down of CPO-ing of small garden units is welcome. The sustainable compromise reached with the resident’s group is positive. Many residents though in the western part of the road are still very much in the dark of plans for local parking and how the narrow Rockboro Road to the South Link will be widened.
Despite a series of alternatives being put forward by resident groups, very little change has been made to the initial emerging proposals from the NTA on the physical changes to the Douglas Road roadscape – which includes compulsory purchase orders, culling of front garden biodiversities and the reconstruction of nineteenth century stone walls. To me as a Cork heritage promoter the reconstruction of built and environmental heritage is high end heritage vandalism.
From what I have seen affected local residents on Douglas Road have received letters from the NTA but those slightly off the road have not. So, a lot of people are in the dark, both who live on the road and those who use the road. The NTA animations that have been created do not tell the full story of the destruction in particular of historic walls and trees. The same animations also do not tell the full story for houses affected on Maryborough Hill.
The bus gate concept also needs actual traffic data as traffic will be re-routed into the heart of areas such as Well Road and Ballinlough at peak times, and access to schools on Douglas Road could be non existent. Many local people are very worried about what might happen when it comes to the re-routing of traffic and have many questions.
In addition much work is needed with Douglas Village residents who also remain concerned about the impact of the Bus Corridor on Douglas Village.
Beaumont Walled Garden:
As part of the phase two plans, a proposal has now appeared to turn the interior of the historic 19th century walled garden space adjacent Cherrington, Ballinlough Pitch and Putt Club and Beaumont Park into a car park for the area. In recent years a number of residents have expressed the view that such a space would (once again) make a fine community garden space, and should be rejuvenated as such. The project had even been developed to a point of a physical plan with Cork City Council. So it is very disappointing that after years of idea development that this important community project could now be possibly shelved and that damage would be inflicted on a historic walled garden. I ask that this community garden project be allowed progress.
I ask that the above points are taken into consideration as well as those of my constituents in the south east of Cork City,
Cllr Kieran McCarthy
(Letter being circulated to Ballinlough residents this week)
I hope this finds you well. The closing date for receipt of submissions for phase two of the public consultation by the National Transport Authority (NTA) on the Bus Connects Corridors is next Thursday 25 May.
My sincere thanks to all those who have made submissions todate and especially to the wider Douglas Road residents’ group and the various sub groups, including those across Ballinlough, who have liased with the NTA a number of times voicing not only concerns but also viable more sustainable alternatives.
Despite a series of alternatives by local residents being put forward, very little change has been made to the initial emerging proposals from the NTA on the proposed physical changes to the Douglas Road roadscape – which at its heart includes the widening of the road for over 1km – the destruction of a 1km of historic built heritage and visual character via compulsory purchase orders, reconstruction of nineteenth century stone walls, and culling of over km of mature trees and biodiversity.
As this is a general letter to all residents in Ballinlough, some effects on residents are larger than others. However, please note there are also plans to create bus gates, which will limit movement of cars on Douglas Road at peak hours. The latter will have a knock-on effect on school traffic, as it will be rerouted into Ballinlough in the morning and evening times. The current proposals also pitches the removal of on-street car parking along 95 per cent of Douglas Road (west to east).
It is crucial that as a local resident that you become aware of the still evolving proposals and make a submission if you are offering support, critique, and/or other solutions.
The full set of maps are available under the Maryborough Hill to City (bus corridor I) at www.busconnects/cork. Submissions should be made via that website or send a letter to “Bus Connects Cork, NTA, Suite 427, 1 Horgan’s Quay, Waterfront Square, Cork”.
As always I remain at your disposal for any help on Bus Connects or any other local concerns.
Cllr Kieran McCarthy
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the thirteenth year of McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat Project. All interested participants must design and make a model boat at home and bring it to The Lough on the evening of Friday 19 May 2023.
The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival Team for the Cork Harbour Festival itself. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘Boats of the Past which is open to interpretation. The model must be creative though, made from recycled materials and must be able to float. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. For further information and to register a boat, log onto http://www.corkharbourfestival.com
Cllr McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted: “Over the 13 years of this annual projects, the Make a Model Boat Project has gone from strength to strength. The Cork Harbour festival team and I have seen really creative entries and of course it is great to be able to float boats on a fantastic amenity such as The Lough. I am encouraging creation, recycling, innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits for all of us to develop. The Make a Model Boat Project is part of a suite of community projects I have organised over the years– the others include the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project with Cork City Council, the Community local history walks, and local history publications”.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy is encouraging community groups in the Douglas area and beyond to avail of Cork City Council is making €840,000 available to community organisations across the city to support them to take collective action on climate change.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “The Community Climate Action Fund, funded by the Department of Environment, Climate and Community, is inviting groups via local authorities to design projects around one, or ideally more than one of the following themes – Home and energy, Travel, Food and waste, Shopping and recycling, Local environmental management and biodiversity”.
“Interested groups can contact the Council’s Climate Action Unit at email@example.com before they make an application so they can get further details and discuss their project ideas”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.
Grants are available to non-profit community-based organisations who can contribute to climate action. Small grants of up to €20,000 are being made available, medium grants between €20,000 and €50,000, or larger grants between €50,000 and 100,000.
Applications for funding are welcomed via an online grant submission system. The application window closes on Friday 16 June at 5pm. Further information is available from www.corkcity.ie