I am honoured to have been elected mayor
I am honoured to have been elected mayor of the County of Cork.
In my time as mayor, I will have a single focus, which is to put Cork first.
Cork, rural and urban, is important too and I will be driving that during my term in office.
Start as you mean to go on and this is my plan.
I intend to take this role on to the utmost of my ability and do the very best I can for the people of Cork, facing challenges such as Brexit to secure the very best outcome for our region.
For those who don’t know me, I will bring my different experiences in life to this role. I was born in the Beara Peninsula; one of Ireland’s most beautiful but also most disadvantaged places.
I now live in Bantry, a town which typifies the challenges of all country towns, keeping young people and attracting businesses which will sustain us all year round, not just in the ever-narrowing holiday season.
I am determined to support balanced economic development across Cork County, especially in rural peripheral areas and grow our regional towns and villages, West, North and East of Cork County.
One of my priorities will be to oversee the change in the boundaries between the county and the city areas.
Under the new plan, the city will be extended out and will take in part of what is now Cork County.
We must ensure the transition is handled well, ensure services do not suffer, and that Cork County will be compensated properly for the loss of revenue from the collection of taxes and rates.
Having lived by the coast my entire life, I know what an incredible asset we have.
I intend driving the enhancement of infrastructure to utilise the wonderful coastline from Youghal to Dursey for tourism and economic activity.
I want to give Cork every opportunity to avail of the prospects literally on our doorstep and continue to develop our tourism sector.
I have a degree in production engineering from the University of Limerick and a Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship.
I worked in Wales for a while with the Ford Motor Company and have a great respect for those who create employment.
The Fords, themselves a West Cork clan, created a Cork family of former Ford workers which continues to hold a special place and I am proud to be part of it.
I was involved in a car accident at the age of 21 which left me in a wheelchair.
I don’t allow my disability to define me and it will not define my term as Mayor.
But it does give me a unique perspective — usually one at a 3ft-high level!
I have worked with the Centre for Independent Living in Limerick and the National Learning Network in Bantry, delivering QQI certified training programmes for People with Disabilities.
I have never let my disability stop me. I have been a West Cork Fianna Fáil councillor with Cork County Council for the last 10 years and have been a member of a number of Council committees, including housing, roads and transport, tourism and economic development and coastal management.
The community will be a focus of my term as mayor.
The county would not be Cork without the people and communities who make it.
I have been involved with a number of community and voluntary groups while in Bantry including West Cork Rural Transport (now Cork Local Link), Cancer Connect and Chair of the Cork Education and Training Board, a position I have held for the last four years.
I intend making it to as many community events as I possibly can during my term. I will serve as mayor of the County of Cork for 12 months.
I know it will be busy and all-encompassing but I also know that I have been given a wonderful opportunity to really make a difference and create a legacy that will see real benefits for Cork and for the people of Cork.