There is a great depth across the activities of the
various directorates of the Council. I think all our Directors bring a level of
openness, listening and hard work ethic, which is warranted and very welcome in
this challenging times.
Despite the cuts, there is still much work being
pursued as well as many opportunities being mined.
COVID may have drawn us into a worrying time about
finances but has clearly showed the resilience of this organisation.
The turning around of the various government financial
stimuli by this organisation in very short time frames has been impressive.
Certainly 12 months ago no one was predicting aspects such as the pedestrianisation
of 17 streets and urban spaces and the strong ramping up of work on walking and
cycling in our city.
We must not let that momentum on improving the
urban fabric and environment slow down but keep pressure on, and keep the
collaborations with traders and citizens effective and positive.
Perhaps the only certainly that goes with next year is
that there will undoubtedly be further financial challenges– but it is
important that we advance on preparing part 8s, whether it is for housing or
roads, and keep sending such plans to either government or the NTA for approval
We have three 3 government cabinet Ministers from Cork – and I strongly think that we need a Microsoft Teams meeting with Minister McGrath in DPER to run over this Council’s ambitions in the short term.
What I learned recently from intervening with Minister
Ryan on his Teams meeting with us is that we should not assume as a Council
that all of the Cabinet are au fait with the Council’s work.
Where the meeting with Minister Ryan was very positive
and very open, I was still not content to hear the narrative of bungling Cork
in with Galway, Waterford and Limerick as just a mere regional city instead of
the country’s second city.
I would like to see a meeting with Minister McGrath
set up as soon as possible and that we liase with Minster Ryan early in the new
It is important opportunities are seized to realise
the stepping stones on the way to achieving our ambitions.
Certainly, if you empower a local authority such as
Cork City Council, it will deliver in spades.
15 October 2020, “Kieran McCarthy, Independent Cork City Councillor and Local Historian discusses plans for the tallest building in Ireland to be built in Cork City, and what it means for the redevelopment of the country’s second city”, Plans for Ireland’s Tallest Building Receive Permission, Morning Ireland, RTE Radio 1, https://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/html5/#/radio1/21850843
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the ‘one stop shop’ approach of the Cork City’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO), which is based in Cork City Hall and is linked to the work of Cork City Council. Cllr McCarthy noted: “The Local Enterprise Office network is evolving and stands prepared to help businesses especially SMEs to address the critical challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. There are an array of financial and mentoring instruments to help SMEs during this very challenging time. Ninety-nine percent of businesses in Cork’s suburbs are SMEs and are crucial to their local communities they serve”.
The COVID-19 Business Loan The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland (MFI), in partnership with the LEO, is a Government-funded initiative to support small businesses through the current period of uncertainty. It is designed for micro-enterprises that are having difficulty accessing bank finance and are impacted, or may be impacted negatively, by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in turnover or profit.
The LEO Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to help business owners make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.
The expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme helps small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost their sales and reach new markets. The Scheme is administered by the LEOS’s on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. There is up to €2,500 available through the Local enterprise Offices, with co-funding of 10% from the business. Training and further business supports are also provided.
Cllr McCarthy also recommends the free mentoring services for SMEs. “Clients work with an experienced mentor at the Local Enterprise Office to identify solutions to areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance from their mentor, clients develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities around COVID-19 challenges. The website www.localenterprise.ie/corkcity contains many links to the above financial supports and to mentoring and training. In terms of mentoring I also wish to point out the work online of the Cork Chamber of Commerce who are offering some really helpful webinars as well for businesses responding to the crisis”.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has warmly welcomed the upcoming parking proposals for On Street Parking in Douglas Village in the lead-up to Christmas. The arrangements will only apply to the City Council controlled On Street parking spaces. A large number of parking spaces are controlled by private operators. Previously these operators were invited to participate in a joint initiative, but the offer was not accepted. The implementation of the initial parking promotion together with the lead-in Christmas proposal will impact on parking income from Douglas, approximately e80,000 to the end of 2019.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “Since 9 September, after the devastating fire in the Douglas Shopping Centre, Cork City Council responded to local businesses and their call for help and provided one hour free parking in the On Street parking spaces. The promotion was continued as part of the Autumn Parking Promotion for the city that runs until 17 November 2019. Business remain active in their call for support measures. The temporary closure of the Douglas Shopping Centre Car Park has caused a knock-on effect to business in Douglas. Supporting local businesses and local jobs is never more apt for Douglas village in light of the September fire.
The following Christmas parking arrangements in Douglas are to be applied to On Street parking spaces: Two hours free parking from Monday 11 December to Tuesday 31 December; no parking charges on the Saturdays in the run up to Christmas and just after, from Saturday 30 November to 28 December; no parking charges on Sundays, no parking charges on Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day. Normal parking arrangements will resume on 2 January 2020.
As Cork City Council has done over the last number of years it will extend the operating hours of Paul Street Car Park, North Main Street and Black Ash Parka and Ride, as well as opening all the latter facilities on Sundays/ extending the Sunday opening hours as appropriate. A temporary Park & Ride will also operate from County Hall at the Weekends.
Douglas Road Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the tenth year of McCarthy’s ‘Make a Model Boat Project’. All interested must make a model boat at home from recycled materials and bring it along for judging to the Lough on Thursday 16 May 2019, 6.30pm. The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘Stories of Cork’, which is open to interpretation. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. Cllr McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted “The project is ten years old this year and over the years, all of the participants have been very creative and innovative. This youth project complements the Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project and McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition”. In addition, Cllr McCarthy emphasises that places like the Lough are an important part of Cork’s natural and amenity heritage. For further information and to take part, please sign up at www.corkharbourfestival.com.
The Cork Harbour Festival (1-9 June) will bring together the City, County and Harbour agencies and authorities. It connects our city and coastal communities. Combining the Ocean to City Race and Cork Harbour Open Day, there are over 50 different events in the festival for people to enjoy – both on land and on water. The festival begins Saturday 1 June, with the 28km flagship race Ocean to City – An Rás Mór. Join thousands of other visitors and watch the hundreds of participants race from Crosshaven to Blackrock to Cork City in a spectacular flotilla. Cllr McCarthy noted: “During the festival week embark on a journey to explore the beautiful Cork Harbour – from Douglas Estuary to Roches Point – and enjoy free harbour tours, sailing tasters, open days at heritage sites, and lots more; we need to link the city and areas like Blackrock and the Marina, Douglas estuary and the harbour more through branding and tourism. The geography and history of the second largest natural harbour in the world creates an enormous treasure trove, which we need to harness, celebrate and mind”.
January 2018, A Light in the Winter: Lord Mayor’s Tea Dance at Cork City Hall, with the Cork Pops Orchestra under the baton of Evelyn Grant, with Gerry Kelly, and singer Keth Hanley; next tea dance on 27 January 2019.
February 2018, What Lies Beneath: Archaeological discoveries on the proposed Event Centre site by Dr Maurice Hurley and his team are revealed at packed out public lectures; they unearth objects and housing dating to the 11th and 12th Century AD; there is an ongoing exhibition in Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park.
March 2018, Upon the Slopes of a City: Storm Emma creates a winter wonderland.
April 2018, A Safe Harbour: Cork Community Art Link do another fab display of the Cork Coat of Arms on the Grand Parade providing a brill entrance to Cork World Book Fest 2018.
May 2018, The Truth of History: A reconstruction at UCC of a fourth class cottage from the times of Ireland’s Great Famine laids bare the realities of everyday life for many people. It was built to coincide with Cork hosting the National Famine Commemoration at UCC.
June 2018, The Challenges of the Past: Charles, Prince of Wales, visits Cork. https://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/speech/speech-hrh-prince-wales-civic-reception-cork-ireland
July 2018, Shaping a Region: US artist Tamsie Ringler begins pouring the molten ore for her River Lee iron casting sculpture at the National Sculpture Factory, Cork.
August 2018, The Beat of Community Life: Ballinlough Summer Festival organised by Ballinlough Youth Clubs at Ballinlough Community Centre reaches its tenth year; its Faery Park and Trail also grows in visitor numbers.
September 2018, On The Street Where You Live: Douglas Street AutumnFest brings businesses and residents together once again for a super afternoon of entertainment, laughter and chat. The ongoing project wins a 2018 national Pride of Place award later in December 2018; & a new mural by Kevin O’Brien and Alan Hurley of first City Librarian, James Wilkinson, who rebuilt the city’s library collections after the Burning of Cork, 1920.
October 2018, The Playful City: Cork’s Dragon of Shandon is led by a host of playful characters and the citizens of the city.
November 2018, Lest We Forget: Marking the centenary of Armistice day at the Fallen Soldier Memorial on the South Mall for the over 4,000 Corkmen killed in World War 1, led by Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn.
December 2018, A City Rising: the Glow Festival on the Grand Parade & in Bishop Lucey Park attracts large numbers of citizens and visitors to Ireland’s southern capital.
Can I thank the CE, the Finance Officer John Hallahan and Cllr Martin, the chair of the Finance Functional Committee for their work on this draft annual budget book.
History is being made this evening as this marks the last budget of over 60 years of the city in its current size. But within the word history are the words Hi Story. And the realities of our future story are mapped out in this document this evening.
At the 2020 budget meeting next November 2019 the members of the Council will budget for 210,000 people and a city five times more in size with more challenges and more calls for funding. This City is ready to take on the challenge of an expanded city. I firmly believe our directors of the various service directorates are ready for the transition and added work. I might clash with them at times and call for more from them on certain elements, but I always respect their frankness and honesty on what can and can’t be done whilst outlining their pride of their staff and their vision of the future.
Reading through the various sections you can see the strengths of our directorates and the ongoing work programmes – the 30 per cent of our income spent on Housing with several hundred social housing constructs coming on stream in the next two years – 17 per cent on roads with several construction and enhancement projects ongoing.
I have been vocal that our staff at the housing desk everyday at reception, community wardens and homeless outreach team are collecting the voices of citizens and acting upon them for those who need support in the accommodation sector. I do believe that once the city expands that much work needs to be done on where we can build mixed housing projects.
On roads, I believe firmly that the city has seen nothing yet in terms of traffic problems as the economic bounce continues to reach citizens on the ground. I am content that we are on the right track regarding our mobility measures but I am going to take this opportunity this evening to re-iterate strongly my call for more parking incentives and marketing measures. It has also become clear that there has been a break down in communication between the small trader and the Council, where much work needs to be done to resolve it.
When you read through service divisions such as water services – you can see the extent of the drainage operation and maintenance, you can see read about the economic development programmes and the depth of the EU programmes we are part of.
I have been vocal that this city needs to be more aware of its southern capital position and being a European Regional Hub. So I am proud that members of staff have got stuck into a range of Interreg projects from start-ups to social innovation plus from a budget perspective the added funding the city can garner from EU urban funding projects.
In environmental services, a glance through the draft budget you can find out about waste planning, recycling measures, the great work of the Lifetime Lab Education Programme and Fire Department. I think sometimes we don’t always state that this is a budget not only about services but a budget for those who carry out tasks and who want their wish list answered.
In recreation and amenity, you can read about our tourism projects in Elizabeth Fort and Shandon, the myriad of festivals, arts projects, libraries projects, capital park projects. I have been vocal to get Tramore Valley Park open plus have a strong Urban Forestry programme. I am happy that we are edging more and more towards them.
And you can also read about agriculture, health & welfare and aspects such as our ongoing work on the expansion of the boundary.
Indeed, from this budget document you can see the range of work that Cork City Council does to make a living city – it is clearly outlined in this document this evening. It is a very difficult task to respond to the myriad and myriad of asks of customers and citizens. Those in the County suburbs worried about inclusion in the city can from this document see clearly that Cork City Council has a vision. We have the ambition. We have the work ethic. Ultimately, using our own wordage, We Are Cork. However, with that accolade comes much work and responsibility especially with the new canvass of satellite county areas entering Cork City next year.