Lord Mayor of Cork, The Echo Column, 26 August 2023

The Gastronomy Region of Ireland:

Great credit is due to the organisers, gastronomic advisers, restaurant owners involved in Cork on a Fork Festival.  Enormous goodwill, genuine interest, and leadership over the openness of the festival combine to push the culture of food and the climate action element of food forward.

This festival is an important piece of Cork’s festival diary – Cork can boast over 25 festivals and nearly 100 festival days. Festivals like this to bring Corkonians together to not only celebrate our gastronomy culture but also concept of bringing people together. In the world we find ourselves, bringing people together matters as well as building communities more so than ever before. Our social bonds are more important than ever.

The element of food is really important to the Cork City Development Plan, 2022-2028 and onto 2040.With a population of over 210,000, Cork City is an emerging international city of scale and a national driver of economic and urban growth. The quest is to be an innovative, vibrant, and resilient healthy city. At the heart of these aims are the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are embedded across the development plan.

Working together for Climate Action is Crucial:

One of Cork City Council’s flagship projects, which works across all its strategic aims is it Cork Healthy Cities initiative. It’s about a city and its communities that connects to improve the health and well-being of all its people and reduce health inequalities. 

Whilst a significant all-encompassing project for Cork City Council and the entire City is the quest to become Climate Neutral by 2030. Cork is proudly one of the 112 cities involved in the European Commission’s five missions, one of which is climate neutrality.

Climate neutrality is not an easy task and there are many parts where climate actions and engaging the general public are crucial. Where early mapping of the challenges ahead have been made public there is as one would expect a huge piece of work required for local government such as Cork City Council to pursue and be successful in.

However Cork City Council also needs numerous sectors working with it towards Cork’s climate neutrality goal, and a broadening range of stakeholders involved in the co-creation of climate action programmes.

When it comes to food, there are large pieces of the puzzle, such as engaging in public procurement, creating local food system, dealing with food waste, empowering food rural and urban food connections or food corridors, ensuring bio school canteens, and developing more community food gardens.

Meeting Notes from the Lord Mayor’s Desk:

My social media at present is filled with short interviews with people I am meeting. It is a personal pet project I call #VoicesofCork, which over the next few weeks and months will build into not only a mapping of the diversity of the work of the Lord Mayor but most importantly also to give a voice to a cross-section of those I meet.

16 August 2023, My Lord Mayor’s Heritage Week historical walking tours are ongoing. The eight tours so far have been very well supported and many thanks to everyone who turned out to support. More upcoming tours can be viewed at www.corkheritage.ie under walking tours.

15 August 2023, Honoured to meet two hard working dedicated young fighters of Siam Warriors Cork. Both are new World Championships Gold Medalist Winners. Major congrats to Aideen Mullins & Colm O Mahony 🇮🇹.

14 August 2023, Margaret Long and Jenny Webb were both involved in Ballincollig Heritage Festival this year and I met them to discuss ongoing ideas around promoting the history of the historic gunpowder mills.

14 August 2023, It was Pakistan Independence Day and the 46th year. An event was held in the Council Chamber of City Hall. Fahmeda Naheed, one of the core organisers, spoke to me for the Voices of Cork project about her love of Cork and the sharing of cultures and opportunities between Ireland & Pakistan

13 August 2023, It was my first formal visit to Nano Nagle Place. Their latest temporary exhibition is entitled Branching Out – Presentation Convents 1775 – 1828. It explores the spread of the Presentation Sisters across Ireland in the period before Catholic Emancipation. You can also view this exhibition online thanks to the support of the Heritage Council of Ireland, with bonus video content of convents across Ireland and interviews with Presentation Sisters.

12 August 2023, Cork Heritage Open Day was a very busy one between giving a tour on the history of Cork City Hall and visiting a few of the other historic buildings that were open on the day. It was great to catch up with building promoters from the Firkin Crane to St Peter’s Church to the Masonic Lodge. It was also great to participate in the Coal Quay Festival by singing a few songs. 

11 August 2023, It was a pleasure to welcome two distinguished Corkonians, Denis Mulcahy, founder of Project Children, and Maureen Forrest, founder of the Hope Foundation to City Hall to honour their work in association with Cork New York Association.

10 August, This year Cork Sports Partnership and Volleyball Ireland are coordinating a Volleyball participation programme at a makeshift sand arena in Marina Park. It was good to catch up with regular players in the Park and to try out the new sand arena.

10 August 2023, It was a great honour to launch of Tour de Munster with cycling legend Sean Kelly. The tour started at the English Market and took 100 cyclists on an epic 600 kms trek through Cork, Waterford, Tipperary, Kerry, Clare and Limerick.

9 August 2023, It was a visit to The Lough Céilí, which is run every summer by Tony McCarthy. It was a case of polishing off the cobwebs on Irish dancing and singing a few classic Irish ballads.

9 August 2023, My #VoicesofCork project interviewed Kate Shaughnessy who is the Cork Rose bound for the 2023 Rose of Tralee event. Very best of luck Kate in Tralee this week coming!