On 25 February 1924 the annual general meeting of the shareholders of the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway Company was held. Sir Stanley Harrington, Chairman, presided and read out a detailed report on the challenges facing the company. Annual AGM reports one hundred years ago and published by newspapers such as the Cork Examiner provide rich material to chart the rise and fall of the railway company.
It was in 1835 that the plan for a Cork Passage railway was first proposed by Cork based merchants. By the time it was built it was the third railway line to open in the country and the first in the south of Ireland. The line was opened to the public on Saturday 8 June 1850 and there was a service of ten trains each way at regular intervals.
In 1896, an Act of Parliament enabled the company to extend the line as far as Crosshaven. John Best Leith, Scotland received the contract for the regauging of the line. Works began in 1897. A new double track was laid between Cork and Blackrock, the only example of a double track in Ireland at the time.
At the 25 February 1924 meeting Mr Harrington related that a year on from the Civil War the damage on the span on the Douglas Viaduct had been repaired. Signal cabins at Rochestown, Passage and Monkstown had been rebuilt. The Blackrock cabin was in the course of rebuilding. The six carriages, which were burnt out, were replaced by new ones.
However, Mr Harrington’s core focus was on the difficulties to balance the company’s accounts. For several years the deficit on the account was accelerating. Reference is given that one of the serious reductions to profits was the withdrawal of the British military and naval forces from Cork and district. It was estimated at a loss of at least one million pounds annually to Cork.
From 1 January 1923 to 23 April 1923 closing down for goods and people traffic due to Civil War damage caused financial loss. The general dockers strike in Cork from August to November 1923 also caused a serious cost to the company. Rates and taxation created a large financial loss for the company, which ultimately led the way to the company’s demise a decade later.
At the AGM for February 1925, the financial losses had expanded. Persistent wet weather ruined the 1924 summer excursion traffic and ordinary traffic was disastrously affected by the depression in trade prevailing all over the South of Ireland. Furthermore, the closing down of Haulbowline and the dearth of work at Passage and Rushbrooke Dockyards, which used to bring the railway so much business, had seriously diminished receipts.
Reference is also made that on 13 August 1924, approval of the Great Southern Preliminary Absorption Scheme 1924 took place. Compensation was given to directors who suffered loss by the abolition of their office. Ultimately though, this took away a more localised focus and created a more centralised focus, whereby several railway companies came under the Great Southern Railway Company.
From 1925 to 1932 the Passage railway limped on with financial deficits. It still carried large crowds during the summer months, but the growing ownership of the motorcar ousted the popularity of travelling on the railway.
On 27 May 1932, it was officially announced that on and from 1 June 1932 all trains on the railway line between Crosshaven and Monkstown in both directions would cease to run. The Cork Examiner notes that the news was met with regret and that the train service between these points was up to some years ago “the main artery of holiday traffic at the popular seaside resort which it linked to the city”. The newspaper relates that within recent years the vast increase in the number of privately owned cars was responsible for a gradual but very noticeable falling off in the passenger service, and the advent of the buses was virtually the death blow to the railway.
In early September 1932, Mr Thomas Jones, chairman of the Passage Urban Council wrote a telegram to the Ministry of Industry addressing the concerns of in regard to the closing of the line. The response in a letter, and published by the Cork Examiner, outlined that the Minister had no power to intervene in the matter. The Minister was informed by the Railway Company, however, that their decision to close the line was reached after mature consideration of the fact that a continuous loss of approximate £4,000 per year in keeping it open; “The Company point out that the public have in a very large measure, deserted the railway services on that line for the more mobile, convenient, and attractive omnibus services, and that it is the intention of the Company to provide full and adequate alternative road services”.
In August 1933, one of the final stages in the abandonment of the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway between Cork and Crosshaven was reached when Messrs. Woodward, auctioneers were appointed in charge of the disposal of a number of lots of sleepers and rails from the route.
The old railway’s line’s re-opening in 1984 as a walkway was seen as cutting edge amenity addition in the city. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength in its number usage – its promotion of public health, walking and cycling, connecting the river and the estuary and its strong sense of place makes for an exciting public space in the years that come.
Strong political and public pressure have staved off such aspirations of a rail reboot function in the past decade in favour of Cork City Council developing a widened greenway, significantly improving its access ramps, and planting over 2,000 native species along the former rail route. A conservation programme in recent years restored the old stonework of the old Blackrock Station and replacing a long gone cast iron bridge. Currently there is also an ongoing work programme with local residents on how to bring the greenway from Rochestown to connect up with the Cork County Council section of the railway, which brings the line into the heart of Passage West.
1242a. Cork Terminus at Albert Road, for Cork Blackrock and Passage Railway Line c.1925 (source: Cork City Library).
Dear Corkonian, as you read this I am at my half way mark in my term as Lord Mayor of Cork. So far it has been a great adventure since my term began in late June this year. As a chronicler of Cork’s history, there is one thing researching Cork, but there is another when one becomes part of its story board, and one gets to wear the 236-year old Mayoralty chain every day and become Cork’s ambassador. The chain has been witness to many stories across time and the urban space of Cork.
My days have been filled with meeting groups across many thematic communities in Cork – from sporting to general community groups to the business community. On average, there are seven to eight events to attend a day – so 35 to 40 events a week is easily the average. So, todate there have been just over 850 events attended in the first six months of my office. The diary is time-managed, curated and packed solid with meetings and opportunities. Days are long but the meeting experiences are very interesting and very enjoyable.
In my first six months, the chain has been witness to all of my key activities, from representing the city in meeting President Michael D Higgins to playing a diplomatic role in hosting Ambassadors from various countries to being head of delegation of the sister city twinning meeting with the Mayor of Shanghai and his various departments from health to culture.
On the ground in Cork it has been important to me to promote local economic development, to highlight the City Council’s work programmes from housing to roads mobility and parks works programmes, to highlighting the history and heritage of our city through the Council’s decade of commemoration programmes, to highlighting arts and culture in the guise of the new urban sculpture trail or through the Community Heritage Concert and Christmas Gala Concert in aid of key charities in our city.
It has been fun and important to actively participate in and showcase festivals such as the Pride Festival and Cork International Film Festival and helping lead this year’s edition of the Dragon of Shandon, platforming the importance of climate action and projects such as community gardens, hosting charities and giving them a space to chat about their work in City Hall. There has been lots of showcasing Cork’s sporting events including honouring our Cork camogie teams. In truth the list of activities is long. And sometimes, there also has been a song along the way.
It has also been an honour to formally open new pedestrian and cycle bridges such as Vernon Mount and mark the completion of public realm works such as MacCurtain Street. To be able to showcase their immediate and surrounding histories and memories has been a privilege.
The 118-school visit programme left me humbled, emotional, and exhausted from a rollercoaster of meeting so many young people on mass but also full of great memories for years to come. To meet the bones of over 35,000 dynamic young people or Cork’s up and coming generation, complete with teachers and principals of city schools, is one of the largest projects on democracy development each Lord Mayor takes on every year. One of my core reflections was that Cork City is very fortunate with a generation coming through that is curious, dynamic, diverse, unique, enthusiastic and ‘up for the match’ to be the next guardians of what we as Corkonians are proud to call home.
I created a social media film series called Voices of Cork, which gives voice to some of the people I have met. My social media encompasses the hashtag Got Cork and WeareCork and ProudofCork, which is also my continued focus on all things positive that Cork people engage and promote.
For me as well, showcasing the voices of different communities matter. Whereas, the daily themes could be diverse from each other, all of the groups I meet are pursuing an aspect of importance to Cork’s DNA and its evolving development. All of the groups are everything that is great about our City – its sense of caring, its sense of place, its sense of pride, its sense of frankness and honesty, its sense of identity, its sense of camaraderie, its sense of life affirmation. Such groups are writing the best version of the city’s evolving story.
All of the groups pack an enormous punch to the heart by bringing people together who volunteer to carve out and create a space for the common good. It is not random that the Latin motto on the city’s coat of arms is Statio Bene Fida Carinis or translated as a Safe Harbour for Ships. However, after the first six months I am of the view that the motto could also be interpreted a safe harbour for people or safe place for people.
Such groups have spent years supporting the city or a specific neighbourhood. They are hard grafters, who are intrinsic to the future of many people’s lives, the important moments in people’s lives. ideas of hope and solidarity, and what I call saving people’s souls. They create incredible special moments of human connection. That tenacity and vision needs to be noted – the holding firm needs to be noted. As a city we need to rejoice and embrace in such a vision.
Such communities of people are genuinely interested in connecting people together, and supporting and helping each other. Building stronger communities brings more opportunities to talk, share, support each other. and to learn.
A more connected community builds a stronger community for everyone in our city. In the world, we find ourselves, supporting each other matters more than ever before. Togetherness matters more so than ever before. What the communities stand for matters more than ever before. These elements of Cork’s DNA need to be minded carefully as the city moves forward into the future.
One cannot buy that energy or connection but it is so important to have in a city such as Cork whose heart when it comes to social and cultural capital beats very passionately.
So, there are lots of moments to reflect upon in the first six months. Sincere thanks to Lady Mayoress Marcelline and Finbarr Archer, Nicola O’Sullivan and Rose Fahy in the Lord Mayor’s office as well as the team in Corporate Affairs ably led by Paul Moynihan, and Chief Executive Anne Doherty, for their partnership, curation of activities, story board creation, support and advice over the past six months.
Third round of public consultation on the Sustainable Transport Corridors for Cork
The National Transport Authority has launched the third round of public consultation on the Sustainable Transport Corridors earmarked for development as part of the BusConnects Cork programme.
The latest round of public consultation centres on the Preferred Route Options which have been identified. These preferred route options brochures are available to view and download below. This comes following the first round of public consultation on the Emerging Preferred Routes between April and June 2023.
Following the first and second rounds of public consultation, the NTA has been reviewing the submissions made by the public and engaging constructively with 35 residents’ , business and special interest groups across the city. Community Forums were also established for each corridor to enable a two-way dialogue with local communities to help inform the review process.
The closing date for submissions is Monday, 18 December 2023
The past, present and future of community building is very regular theme in the Lord Mayor’s office. Two events recently reiterated the legacy of community life and the importance of grassroots activities in our city. I gave a civic reception to former Independent Councillor Con O’Leary and met with Cork City FC and Gerry McAnaney, the President of the FAI.
Honouring Con O’Leary:
Whilst Con, like myself, served as an Independent Councillor in Cork City Council, I didn’t share the Council Chamber with him but Con’s family, friends and my colleagues in the Council shared some snippets from Con’s life and contribution to the City with me. Con was born in the Community he has served for most of his life – Gurranabraher, going to Blarney St. Boy’s School. Con and wife Ann lived in Charlemont Terrace, Wellington Road as newlyweds. They moved to Mayfield for a short period before returning back to Con’s roots in Gurranabraher in 1973.
An opportunity arose to purchase ‘Molly’s Shop’ now known as ‘Con’s Shop’ and for over 50 years now Con has served the people of Gurranabraher from that shop. We all know the value of the corner shop. The service they provide goes way beyond a pint of milk, a loaf of bread or a lottery card. These shops are bedrocks of community life. Con, like many shopkeepers – not only kept the shop, but kept an eye on the street, provided shelter from the rain and an open ear when no one else was listening. He knew when people were struggling and pointed them in the direction of help.
It is borne out of the shop as a community service that Con got involved in a whole host of community initiatives – Churchfield/Gurranabraher youth club, St. Anthony’s over 60’s club, Churchfield/Gurranabraher Meals on Wheels, The Legion of Mary Gurranabraher, Ógra Corcaigh, and the North Infirmary Action Group
Perhaps it was that Community involvement then that led Con into local politics in 1991– not only serving as a Councillor but also as a Member of the Southern Health Board, and as a Director of EACD (European Cities against Drugs). A glance at newspapers from 1991-2004 shows important and a myriad of councillor campaigns by Con. It is an honour to celebrate a master crafts person of community, someone who forged carefully community life in our city over many decades.
Honouring Football Legacies:
Football in Cork became a major theme across one of my recent weeks. Cork City FC hosted a breakfast briefing at The Metropole Hotel, which I attended and I also hosted a reception to honour the work of the President of the FAI Gerry McAnaney, who has strong links to College Corinthians, amongst other.
Cork City FC like many of our sporting clubs matters in our city and region and add significantly to the essence of building community values in Cork and grassroots sports initiatives in Cork – the tangible and intangible benefits. This was also one of the themes of Gerry’s speech during his visit to City Hall.
In addition one does not have to look far to see how football clubs are rooted in the life of the city and how proud the city are of them, and how it represents the many legacies of football clubs going back over one hundred years.
Indeed, one just has to go to any match to see the sense of pride, ownership and love for Cork City FC amongst players, management and the supporters who chant, laugh, cry and shout more and then even chant, laugh, cry and shout more the local football team on. And that essence of pride is hard to physically replicate.
There are individuals who have spent decades every week supported the team and there are parents or guardians who proudly bring the next generation on in all kinds of weather, and they wouldn’t miss it for anything. There are incredible special moments of human connection are bound up with football and indeed all of the sports that operate in Cork. One cannot buy that energy or connection but it is so important to have in a city such as Cork whose heart when it comes to social and cultural capital beats very passionately.
Notes from the Lord Mayor’s Office:
September 30: I was delighted to launch the Celebrating Cork Past Exhibition.
September 30: It was great to attend and take part in the Lord Mayor’s Community Heritage Concert.
October 2: It was a great honour to receive Douglas born and reared woman Mary Scanlon, who is celebrating her 100th anniversary early next month.
October 2: I paid a visit to the Elephant Sculpture as part of the Cork Samaritans Elephant in the Room campaign.
October 2: I was delighted to launch the Dragon of Shandon, which is all set for 31 October to re-enter the streets of Cork.
October 4: I was delighted to pay a courtesy visit to Collins Barracks to learn about its history and its role in the future of the Cork region.
October 5: I attended the Cork City FC Breakfast morning whose focus was on sponsorship.
October 5: I attended and presented the centenary event for the Insurance Institute of Cork.
October 6: I hosted a reception with College Corinthians to mark the completion of Gerry McAnaney’s presidency of the FAI.
October 6: I hosted a number of visiting scholars who were presenting the Western Front conference in Cork on aspects of the First World War.
Cork City Council, in association with Cork Sports Partnership and Cork Education and Training Board, are in the process of installing eleven new outdoor gyms in our Parks around the city. These clustered Callisthenic Gyms, with age friendly and accessible elements, have proven very popular at Tramore Valley Park, Harty’s Quay, and Ballincollig Regional Park. The new locations are:
CLOUGHEENMILCON SANCTUARY WALKWAY, BLARNEY
GERRY O’SULLIVAN PARK, ST COLMCILLE’S ROAD, GURRANABRAHER, CORK
JOHN O’CALLAGHAN PARK, BALLINGLANNA, CO. CORK
LOUGH MAHON (BLACKROCK CASTLE CAR PARK B), CASTLE ROAD, BLACKROCK, CORK
MURPHY’S FARM, BISHOPSTOWN
POPHAMS PARK, FARRANFERRIS GREEN, FARRANREE, CORK
BALLYCANNON PARK, CLOGHEEN/KERRYPIKE
TORY TOP PARK
MEELICK PARK, BALLYVOLANE
Following a pilot program to provide people with the confidence and skills to use the gyms, a series of free sessions, given by trained instructors, are being offered to the public. These sessions will be open to all ages and abilities but with some targeted at young women who can be too intimidated to use the gyms.
The Lord Mayor Cllr. Kieran McCarthy praised the installation of the gyms: “The installation of new Outdoor Gyms in City parks across our city is a great way to provide a space for the people of Cork to keep active and healthy. These gym installations have proved very popular so far and there have already been public calls for more in other city neighbourhoods. The pilot programme with instructors for our younger citizens is an important opportunity to give them the confidence to use this equipment without assistance in the future”.
These sessions are all about giving people knowledge and the confidence to be able to come to these gyms with a friend, a parent or sibling and use themselves. This program is starting off with five locations, Gerry O’ Sullivan Park, Tramore Valley Park, John O’Callaghan Park, Murphy’s Farm and Lough Mahon but will be rolled out to other areas in due course.
The free training sessions will take place in the coming weeks at the following locations and times:
Tramore Valley Park – 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Gerry O’Sullivan Park, Gurranabraher – 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
John O’Callaghan Park, Glanmire – 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Lough Mahon, Blackrock – 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Tramore Valley Park (female only sessions) – 12:30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m.
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.
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,
Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the takeover of ownership by Cork City Council from the HSE of All Saint’s Cemetery in Carr’s Hill.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “It is really great to see the City Council take ownership of this really historic and very important graveyard in Cork’s and in Ireland’s history. There have been many calls in the City Council Chamber and from the general public during the last few years for the graveyard to have a proper maintenance and conservation plan. Whereas the HSE have pursued successful conservation projects in Cork, I feel when it comes to historic graveyards, Cork City Council has more experience; it has concentrated teams focussing on amenity development, heritage and archaeology. Access, the collapse of the historic entrance and stone walls as well as adding to the information history panels need now to be addressed through utilising local heritage City Council funding and drawing down national conservation funding”.
Cllr McCarthy continued; “The graveyard’s history goes back to 1847. As St Joseph’s graveyard could not cope with increase in burials during the Great Famine, Fr Mathew suggested to the Cork Union Workhouse Guardians that a new burial ground should be acquired. As a result, land was attained from George Carr, a workhouse official on the road between Douglas and Carrigaline. Thousands of poor men, women and children are buried there with no headstone. This sacred, sad and hallowed ground needs to be cherished, respected, given dignity. It’s a historically sensitive area which needs TLC”.