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County Mayor's Diary Councillor Patrick Gerard Murphy

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 4:56pm

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year. It’s great to catch up with family and friends during the break but it’s nice to get back to the day job too.

It’s been six months since I was elected Mayor of the County of Cork. I can’t believe that I am halfway through my term. But what a six months I’ve had.

I’ve travelled the county, the country and even to the other side of the world. I have met some amazing people and have always aimed to strengthen the position of county Cork at home and abroad.

As most of you know, I am a wheelchair user. What I have really wanted to highlight during my term is how this does not impact on my ability.

I’ve been to Spike Island, turned sods at new developments and travelled to China representing Cork. Event organisers have been fantastic. I want to show how a little bit of consideration can go a long way.

It was an honour to be a part of the Make Way Day campaign and highlight how everyday obstructions can affect those less able. There is a growing consciousness around disability in Cork. There's visibility to having a mayor in a wheelchair that raises awareness. Increasing accessibility and promoting inclusivity will make us stronger.

I am passionate about highlighting our strengths. We have a wealth of assets from our majestic coastline to our talented food producers. These assets were central to our newly signed Economic Partnership Agreement with the State of Maine.

With an extensive Atlantic coastline, a rich maritime heritage and a beautiful rugged landscape, we are natural partners. I’m looking forward to developing this relationship. We both stand to benefit in terms of trade, tourism and the exchange of ideas. Developing international partners going forward will be important for Cork.

As we all know, we will face challenges as well as opportunities. This year will see the boundary change between the County Council and Cork City Council, the biggest transfer of authority between two local authorities ever in the history of the State.

We also have significant change ahead with Brexit. There remains enormous uncertainty over how this change will happen.

Cork could be one of Ireland’s most vulnerable counties for Brexit in the Republic given its dependence on the quality food and drink industries. We need to be in a position to cope to meet this.

On the whole, I don’t doubt that we will have a demanding year ahead of us. However, I believe that the resilience, strength and innovation I have seen across the businesses and communities of Cork will enable us to adapt and thrive in 2019.

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