The new Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde was elected this evening at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Cork City Council. The Douglas-based Fine Gael councillor was elected with 21 votes, 5 votes to Cllr Fiona Kerins, and 2 abstentions.
For the first time in two years, the Annual Meeting took place back in the Council Chamber at City Hall. In 2020, the Annual Meeting was held in the Concert Hall to enable social distancing, and in 2021 it took place in Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig, as City Hall was in use as a Covid-19 vaccination centre.
In her mayoral speech, the new Lord Mayor said her priorities for the year include driving the sustainability agenda, creating a "city for people", the promotion of the arts and furthering female participation in politics through Cork City Council's Women's Caucus.
Lord Mayor Cllr. Deirdre Forde noted: “On this day 63 years ago, on June 24 1959, the first ever woman first citizen Jane Dowdall was elected. In the entire 20th century, Cork City has had two female mayors. In the first 22 years of this century, we have had four. Cork City’s Women’s Caucus was launched on International Women’s Day last year to promote women in politics by exploring barriers and challenges to political participation. It is already blazing a trail. For democracy to survive, politics to function and a society to thrive, inclusivity and diversity is essential”.
Lord Mayor Forde also said: “Our city is defined by its warm and welcoming people, its sense of community, its thriving art, culture, and heritage. We must endeavour to support our hardworking business community, those who create jobs and come up with ideas, those who give employment and who are critical to the economic growth of our city. Despite the uncertainty ahead, we must continue to be optimistic and ambitious, building connections through air and sea links to Europe and beyond”.
Outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Colm Kelleher noted some of the highlights of his year in office, including leading a trade delegation to the US to develop and strengthen civic, business and tourism links; recently opening 106 new homes for Cork City; and seeing Cork’s selection by the European Commission to lead on climate action. Cllr Colm Kelleher also acknowledged the incredible community response to the Ukrainian crisis. He said: “It has been an incredible honour and privilege to hold this office and I will always be grateful to Cork City Council for electing me.”