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World Health Organisation designates Cork a Healthy City  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated Cork as a ‘Healthy City’. Designated with Copenhagen (Denmark) and Nantes (France); Cork city can now present itself internationally as a city that is prioritising the health of its citizens.  Cork joins the Irish cities of Belfast, Galway and Waterford that have been designated already. 


Pictured at the presentation of certificate marking Cork's designation as a healthy city are (l-r) Rebecca Loughrey HSE,Tim Lucey, City Manager, Professor John Higgins U.C.C. and Cllr. Terry Shannon Lord Mayor of Cork.      

Cork City Council, University College Cork, Niche Community Health Project and the HSE have been working together to develop the health profile for the city, which supported the application to the WHO for ‘Healthy City’ status.  To achieve this designation Cork city has demonstrated to the WHO that health is a core value for the city administration and that the vision, values and strategy for the city are translated into action for health through planning. 

‘Healthy Cities’ celebrates and supports the evidence that health is influenced by where a person lives, their income, their level of education, their culture, and accessibility of public services.  Every ‘Healthy City’ is unique because needs and economic resources vary from one city to another.  With over twenty years of experience as a ‘Healthy City’, Belfast has focused on many areas of development including; regeneration, child friendly environments, active travel planning to increase levels of physical activity and a well-being guide for politicians.  Meanwhile, Galway Healthy Cities has focused on the development of healthy sports stadia, developing an age-friendly city, organic gardens, active travel and travel safety in the city. 

There are many examples of how health can be promoted in Cork by government and community agencies working collectively.  Preliminary work with the Transportation Department in Cork City Council has started to maximise the health impact of transport planning in the city.  For example a number of schools in the city are working with Cork City Council and the HSE Health Promotion Department through an EU Project to encourage walking and cycling to school and to bring about speed restrictions in the areas around schools.  Cycle safety training for children has also been developed across the city and county through a partnership with Cork City Coucil, the HSE and the Local Sports Partnership.  These are just some examples of how the City Council can work together with the Health services and the local community for greater health benefit. 

“Every decision made by the City Council and other public service providers in Cork has an impact on people’s lives.  The Healthy City initiative will bring all the key stakeholders together to look at ways in which to make Cork a healthier place to live, be it through better urban design or the promotion of healthy lifestyles within the city.  The City Health profile provides a snapshot on the state of health in the city and it will guide the development of a plan to make Cork a more healthy place in which live, work and play” said Lord Mayor Cllr. Terry Shannon, who will launch the ‘Healthy City’ in the Council Chamber on Tuesday January 24th at 4.00pm.

The Health Profile of Cork city will be presented at the launch, documenting the starting point for health in Cork city.  This health profile will inform the development of the first inter-agency health plan for Cork city.  The HSE will assign a Healthy Cities Co-ordinator to drive forward and co-ordinate the activities and responsibilities of the Health Plan. 

“The HSE welcomes the designation of Cork as a World Health Organisation Healthy City and we are delighted to be an integral part of the development of the city as a healthy place to live and work.  We fully support the Healthy Cities concept as the most effective way to promote health for the citizens of Cork city” said Pat Healy, Regional Director of Operations for the HSE South.

Dr. Elizabeth Keane Director of Public Health, HSE South also welcomes the designation of Cork as a Healthy City.  “Our Health is our Wealth.  The health of every Cork man, woman and child is precious and must be protected.  This designation in making Cork a healthier city provides a great opportunity to improve the health of all Cork people.  Credit is due to all those who collaborated to achieve this designation.  The challenge now is to continue the work of making Cork a healthier place for all of us to live”.

“Healthy Cities has given those of us with a research interest a terrific insight into both the health challenges facing our citizens but it has also brought us closer to the many people and agencies working to address them.  The WHO designation has been a great boost to our efforts and we look forward to on-going collaboration with these many new partners who share our commitment to the health of Cork and its people" “said Colin Bradley Professor of General Practice in UCC.

“We know from experience of working through partnership with the community that the best outcomes happen in terms of health, well being and quality of life.  Being part of a city-wide health action plan and working with other key organisations we hope that health becomes a key consideration in planning and investment and that successful initiatives can be replicated or built upon for the benefit of all people of the city” said Katherine Harford, Manager of Niche Community Health Project, Knocknaheeny / Hollyhill.

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