I am hon­oured to have been elected mayor

Irish Examiner - County - - News - CLLR PATRICK GER­ARD MUR­PHY

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.

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