Farewell to the Lord Mayor, 16 June 2017

Sailing on a Sea of Positivity

Kieran’s Comments, Cork City Council AGM, 16 June 2017


Congrats on a great year – sometime during this week, a news reporter noted that you have been a “tremendous ambassador for Cork”, which is true to say.

Positivity as a theme has a very worthwhile ship to steer – it is one which many people could get behind and steer – and one where people naturally gravitate to.

Positivity is one that this city more and more needs to address inward looking and outward looking – there are challenge yes – there are problems – but in this city’s ship there are many cabins, crew members, different leaders– there are ship’s ropes that one can get entangled in and stuck in – but also ropes when dusted off, pulled taut, can lead to an amazing set of sails to ride the crests of wild raging storms.

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.

The narrative of Cork Inc was one your ship also embraced -where ever you travelled the importance of the identity and identities created over time through the lens of this ancient port city prevailed your speeches.

Identity does play on the imagination, personal, collective and civic in Cork; it interconnects between spaces and times into our present and future engaging memories to flow and bend across the story of the development of this north Atlantic big hearted small city.

The medallion on the Mayoral chain, which you clearly wore proudly this year, I always feel embraces that sense of openness as well – the city’s coat of arms – the two towers of King’s and Queen’s Castle and the ship in between with the Latin inscription, Statio Bene Fida Carinis, or A Safe Harbour for Ships.

The portcullis, the symbol of a gate, which once lifted to leave ships in to dock into Cork’s walled town – to a small harbour, with creaking stone walls as well as creating timber ships – Each arriving ship would have brought a sense of wonder and acknowledgment in the city’s role in maritime western Europe – and no doubt creating an orchestra of materials, river, dock and sea – enough to force the dock workers, business people, sailors and captains to speak loudly and more assertively above the orchestra of the docks to transact their business.

One of the many defining features of your year was to give voice to the busy flotillas of the city’s ships of business. In a Council where we depend on the goodwill and trust of the business community, it has been enlightening to see your small business award schemes being floated giving voice to very hard-working business owners.

It has been enlightening from a local history context to hear about businesses whose roots go back far in the city through recessions and oppressions, wars and destruction to transformations and boom, development and re-starts. Indeed, it is true to say that what you shone a light upon is an unexplored heritage, which needs to continue to be minded and elaborated upon.

Ultimately what your ship of positivity has championed is that there are many corners in the city that are proud of their identity, are willing to take on the winds of challenges as they come.

Thanks again.