County Hall a reminder of council’s services
Iremember as a child travelling past County Hall and looking up wondering what was inside. Never did I image that I would come to represent the people of West Cork as a councillor within that building but that I would be Mayor on the 50th anniversary of its official opening.
County Hall was labelled distinctive, modern and reaching. What a great way to describe a building and this was 50 years ago. This is evident in the exhibition that I was privileged to launch on the day. The story of Cork County Hall is told in Inception to Completion plus there are some fantastic nostalgic images for all to enjoy.
Importantly, County Hall has continued to reach. We, as a council, have continued to reach. We are a democratically representative body, the largest outside of Dublin. We play a key role in decision making for local areas in terms of local services, community supports, policy development, land use, town and village development.
County Hall reminds people of local authorities and the service they provide. We may often be challenged but we never stop. We operate in the public interest. We bring responsibility to local communities.
We are here for the people and communities of Cork. Communities are the heart of our society. They are the places where we live and work, where families and friends are and where we interact with life. We are drawn to live and work within communities that reflect our core values.
Cork County Hall is inextricably linked with communities. As Mayor, I have great pride in meeting communities and welcoming them to County Hall. Mayor’s awards, civic receptions, the groups that we work with every day; everyone, young and old is a part of County Hall.
Like most things in life we move and evolve with the times and so has Cork County Hall. The former motor tax building is now home to our business growth hub and a variety of economic supports to businesses and entrepreneurs across Cork. One of these initiatives is Taste Cork which aims to create a thriving food network for the region by linking and promoting producers, retailers, foodservice operators and distributors.
Taste Cork recently travelled to the annual Food and Drink Expo at the Bermingham NEC, one of the biggest food and drink events in Europe where Cork producers were able to showcase their goods to industry experts from all over the world. It’s only when you travel to events such as this that you realise how incredible some of our suppliers and producers are. We have access to amazing ingredients and craftspeople who create some of the most delicious food items I have ever tasted!
Cork really is the culinary capital of Ireland and with events such as this, we can promote our amazing offering on a global platform, enabling the creation of local jobs and local successes, the ultimate goal for the business growth hub.
While I am commenting on businesses and enterprise I must again mention the issues facing farmers at this time. We have experienced one of the worst winters in living memory which has resulted in a severe fodder shortage for farmers. The ground is saturated and where animals would normally be out in grass at this time they cannot. Feed that was made last summer is gone so many depend on what is being imported from the UK as part of the government efforts to assist.
I would like to say to any farmer reading this to know that there are supports out there. As a farmer, I completely understand the stress this is causing. Not only is the animal part of their livelihood but it is a living being. Farmers want to see their animals content and happy. I am asking farmers to not only look after their animals but also themselves and each other.
Like most difficult circumstances this will pass and there are supports there to help. Please avail, and I guarantee it will help.