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County Mayor's Diary Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019 4:38pm

County Mayor's Diary by Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan

In the past two weeks I’ve met a king, a queen, a Chinese vice governor and placed a medal around the neck of an Olympic champion, but it was gardening with school children that stole the show.

King Willem and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands visited Cobh on 14 June and I had the honour of welcoming them onto the naval pier and giving them a tour of the Sirius Arts Centre where they signed a visitors book. They were both relaxed and the queen in particular was full of chat. Their interest in Cork was genuine and their knowledge of port development was impressive. I certainly learned a lot from their visit. The Dutch trade minister Sigrid Kaag also met with us. We definitely forged a stronger bond with the Dutch during this brief visit.

The relationship between Cork County Council and the Chinese province of Jiangsu goes back six years. There is a disparity in population with Jiangsu being home to 80 million people. But the ties are strong and we have shared much in the areas of education, innovation and tourism. Those ties are further strengthened on Friday last when Vice Governor of Jiangsu province, Mr Guo, visited County Hall. I welcomed him to the chamber where he addressed Councillors. Although his visit was short, it left its mark. He was blown away by the beauty of our county and by the Clonakilty Black Pudding which he sampled at a special lunch in County Hall.

The town of Youghal did Cork and Ireland proud on Sunday. The crowds, the volunteers and the atmosphere touched every athlete that entered Ironman Ireland. The buzz at the finish line was electric. I was, and still am, a huge fan of the winner Alistair Brownlee. He’s a double Olympic champion, so to place the winner’s medal around his neck and to present him with his winners bouquet on podium was a huge honour. A big shout out to Irishman Brian McCrystal who finished second!

The highlight of the past two weeks for me, however, was the Schools Garden Competition where 46 schools from right across the county entered a completion run by Muintir Na Tíre and sponsored by Cork County Council. The children, parents and teachers of these schools are all inspirations. They are teaching us all about how growing your own vegetable garden is the way forward in terms of sustainability. Having seen some of the entrants, bees and biodiversity was a big theme. We adults need to listen up. These kids are leading the way.

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