Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has praised the work of frontline staff in Cork and held the City’s Community Response Forum, which covers the Douglas and south east area of Cork City as a best practice example in a pool of many others, which are supporting the rallying against the Coronavirus across the EU.
Cllr McCarthy raised such sentiments on his regular online European Committee of the Regions meetings. Cllr McCarthy is the President or chair of the European Alliance grouping within the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). The CoR is a 329 person formal EU assembly of councillors, Mayor and Regional Presidents from over 270 regions in the EU.
On recent video conference calls of the Conference of Presidents meetings, where presidents or chairs of other political groupings sit, Cllr McCarthy has strongly lobbied that local and regional authorities such as Cork City Council, who are on the forefront of the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic must be supported by EU Funds. He also raised the plight of SMEs in smaller European cities such as Cork and that any emergency EU funding released needs to get to the citizen on the actual ground and not be held up at central government level.
Cllr McCarthy also lobbied for the creation of an exchange platform to help local and regional leaders share their needs and solutions and to enhance mutual support between local communities across Europe. The platform, which has been rolled out over the past few week, enables CoR members to give their feedback on the EU actions already put in place, allowing a policy reality check from the ground. The CoR provides regular and practical information about EU measures, with particular focus on the financing opportunities.
Cllr McCarthy strongly noted that it was vital that Regions and Cities across the EU to work together to ensure that this virus would be defeated and that regions and cities had to have the means at their disposal via EU and National Funding. He added it was hugely important for citizens to heed the advice of the relevant authorities regarding ‘staying at home’ and ‘social distancing’.
Cllr McCarthy has also emphasised that the outbreak and rapid spread of COVID-19 is putting public sector organisations through great challenges and great stress with local governments, public administrations, local health services particularly at the forefront of the crisis; “This is a virus with a serious impact on public health, the economy and social and political issues. Different local authorities and different regions within the same country are in different scenarios but knowledge of different interventions can help those on the front line with more information and how to drive the virus back”. Those following developments in other European countries may be interested in the European committee of the Regions knowledge exchange platform, which is available to view at www. cor.europa.eu.