News » Archived News 2006

St. Patrick's Day Message from the Lord Mayor



Lordmayor_Cllr_Deirdre_Clune2Warm regards on our National holiday. All around the world Irishmen and women will celebrate the fact that they are Irish. March 17th is a day when all the world, at least for a day, WANTS to be Irish.

Tá seanfhocail sa ghaeilge a deireann AR SCÁTH A CHÉILE A MHAIRIMÍD. Ni h-amháin go bhfuil seo fíor ach tugann se nod duinn chun ár gcás sa fiche-haonú aois a thuiscint.

Le líon na ndaoine atá tagtha agus atá fós ag teach,is féidir le hEireann dea shampla a thabhairt don domhain uile ar conas cultúrtha eile a shlanú inar shaol sóisialta agus eacnamaíocht fhéin ar mhaitheas muid beirt.

We live in a rapidly changing world. And that world grows smaller every day. The Ireland we live in today differs remarkably from the country that our parents and grandparents grew up in. Travel, television and economic prosperity have all dramatically changed our view of the world. Our demographic profile is changing with an increasingly diverse ethnic landscape. But, of course, the truth is that we have always been diverse. The Celts themselves originated from Eastern Europe and displaced the native Erse. St. Patrick himself was a Welsh Roman. The Vikings, Normans, English and French have all contributed to a diverse genetic pool which we collectively call Irish.

But the Ireland of 2006 is not just genetically diverse, it is now, in the truest sense of the word a multi-lingual, multi cultural, multi ethnic place .Time was, when you walked down Patrick street, to overhear a conversation in another language was a novelty.. now to walk down Patrick Street and NOT TO would be equally unusual.

What is important is that these people from other cultures who now live in our country are integrated into our society and our economy and not simply assimilated. The lace making and Silversmithing which is part of the Hugeneot culture which they have brought to Cork and which is part of Cork’s rich history is but one example of how Ireland has assimilated AND integrated other cultures in the past and made them part of our own.

It is a fact that has been proven many times in the last decade that the closer we get to full European integration the more important the culture, language and history of each of those member countries is to it’s citizens.

The recognition of the Irish language as an official working language of the European Union is a very welcome step in this regard as it gives a standing to our historic language in the European context. Statistics have also shown, unfortunately that the take-up in Irish schools of other European and global languages is woefully inadequate and is indeed a very major missed opportunity. The comfort zone of relying on the fact that we , in Ireland, speak a language which is one of the main global business languages means we are missing the opportunities of understanding not just the language but the culture of other countries . It was Mark Twain who famously said that America and England were two countries divided by a common language.

Perhaps, for instance, given that China is expected to be the dominant world economy within 2 decades, now is the time to consider our language skills in this area. Cork, having twinned last year with Shanghai is perhaps uniquely placed to take advantage of the opportunities this presents.

Those of you visiting our City, we hope you enjoy our hospitality and that you will join us again. Those of you who have the privilege of living in this magnificent city, you already know how spoilt you are and I hope you enjoy Cork and all it has to offer to the full for the St. Patrick’s festival.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádriag oraibh go léir.

Cllr. Deirdre Clune,

Lord Mayor of Cork,

16th March 2006.

Back to list