26 Jun 2012
Kieran’s Comments, Cork Economic Monitor, Cork City Council Meeting, 25 June 2012
Economic Report – Changing the Game Plan
Vacant office blocks, rates and rents down, not to mention large scale dereliction spots are the highlights of the economic monitor.
As councillors, we’re getting calls from the city centre traders to help them, and I’m not talking from the big stores, the small stores, who ultimately provide the character and essence of Corkonian’s town. We need to set up an inner city plan to stop the decline in our city centre. It’s not good enough just to say that everything will be fine. We need to market our inner city and implement steps to rebuild its consumer base.
At a breakfast meeting in the Chamber of commerce the other morning, one of the leaders of the Irish leaders Technology group opened his talk with a promo video – for 60 seconds on this video, Belfast was featured as this cutting edge place. Images of handshakes, happiness, the place to do business, I’ve spoken about Belfast before and their advancement in place branding and even our role in helping that.
The speaker John Harnett also spoke about the need in this economic climate to not just tick the box but change the gameplan. That when it comes to new innovations, take risks, that this is a time for action, that this is a time for ambition, strong focus and intensity, all in a positive mentality, all in aid of bursting as well the bubble of negativity that also consumes this country.
There seems to be no joined up thinking in driving the city forward by all the various agencies responsible running the city.
There seems to be no joined up thinking in actually realising Cork as a regional gateway hub.
We need to think smart.
We need a greater presence on national and international online social media.
We need to invest in place marketing and branding as tools of urban and regional development.
For example the Cork Docklands, apart from this City Council fighting the cause, we don’t seem to appear on the radar of the government as something that would drive this country forward.
Next year we have the gathering, a chance to tap into 40m Irish diaspora, we really haven’t moved on the concept, and its more than just tourism promotion. We should as the “southern gateway hub” write to every city government in the states, making them aware at least that this is happening and can they spread this message to their Irish Americans.
Mother Jones who we are celebrating next month… the most famous Cork woman in US history, with a magazine in her name, Mother Jones, published to this day, she has been the subject of dozens of books, and referenced countless times in studies of US Labour history. She was the only woman present when the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) was founded in 1905 in Chicago. We should be writing to the trade unions she was involved with.
Let us bring the people here and convince them; last year the visit of the Queen started with just a letter and you saw where that brought the city.
We need to think big, look for the big things.
Ultimately we need to change the game plan.