Some extraordinary victories across Cork
This certainly has been a very special few weeks for me and indeed for Cork. Pride and success mean different things to different people and of course it’s all relative. But we have seen some extraordinary wins across Cork recently.
Firstly, what success we had at the World Rowing Championships. I cannot congratulate our athletes enough. How amazing was Sanita Puspure on her gold in the women’s single sculls, what an incredible performance. I was honoured to be able to welcome brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan back at Cork Airport with their Gold in the lightweight men’s double sculls. Talk about a welcome! It’s always a pleasure to meet these amazing ambassadors. This is a huge victory for them as individuals and a great reflection on their clubs, families who support such victories. I was thrilled to join a special celebration on their achievements at an open afternoon at the National Rowing Centre last week and it was wonderful to see so many attend and meet their rowing heroes. Plus it’s great to see so much interest in the sport and to welcome our future rowers into this increasingly popular sport.
While on the subject of sport, last week I had the honour of hosting a reception for the Team Munster Special Olympians and meet some of the very best athletes in Ireland and indeed the world. In attendance were athletes who partook in this year’s Dublin Games. The Special Olympics Ireland Games is the largest sporting event that takes place in Ireland with 1,600 athletes from 400 different clubs and a massive 2,500 volunteers in attendance this year. This is all made possible by the dedicated efforts of everyone involved. Among the athletes in attendance, I got to meet some who would be travelling to the United Arab Emirates representing Ireland in the Abu Dhabi Special Olympic Games 2019. I’m privileged in my role as mayor to meet world-class athletes. I’m also very proud to be part of a country that has the supports to enable excep- tional individuals to excel not only on local and national levels but on the world stage.
Medals were also in abundance across Cork at this year’s Tidy Towns Awards. Cork had yet again a wonderful outing with a host of medals spread across the county, too many to mention which is a happy complaint. I must give a special mention to Ballincollig Tidy Towns who were awarded the country’s tidiest large urban centre. This year marked the 60th anniversary of the awards and saw a record number of almost 900 entries. The work carried out by tidy town committees is absolutely remarkable. These volunteers are making our towns and villages truly beautiful. They instil pride and satisfaction within our communities which is clearly evident as soon as you arrive. Tidy Towns really is a fantastic competition and one which I am delighted to support at any opportunity.
I was especially proud to see Cork County Council support this year’s Make
Way Day. The goal of Make Way Day is to draw attention to the challenges posed by items obstructing footpaths, such as bins, bikes, cars parked on curbs, sandwich boards and so on. Sometimes it’s forgetfulness from the person who placed the obstructing items on footpaths, sometimes it comes from unawareness, but small obstacles in the path of someone with full mobility can be a big obstacle for people with a disability.
Encountering these obstacles can put people off leaving the house and engaging in their communities. It is vital that we are considerate of all users of our public spaces. By simply taking a few minutes to think about where you park your car up on a footpath, even though you’re in a hurry, you can make a big difference to someone who has difficulty with mobility. It’s about giving everyone the chance to succeed in their ventures no matter how big or small. As I’ve witnessed recently, we’re all capable of great things when we have the right support behind us.