Kieran’s Comments, Cork City Council Budget Night, 16 November 2020

Thanks Lord Mayor,

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 respectively.

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 year.

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.