The Ford Motor Company wouldn’t be where it is today without the hard work of Cork employees, the firm’s executive chairman told its pensioners in City Hall.
“Every single pensioner here, thank you so much for all you have done. Because of you, we’re a great company,” William Clay Ford Jr, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, said.
“It’s you who built this company.”
Employees, both former and current, and their family members attended a civic reception in City Hall held in their honour, as part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the Ford Company in Ireland.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the contribution Ford Ireland has made — and we’ve heard just a few tonight — to Ireland and to Cork,” Mr Ford said.
The executive chairman spoke about his great-grandfather’s decision to set up his manufacturing plant in Cork in 1917.
“He did it against advice, by the way, from all of his advisors that said ‘Wait, you want to go to Cork, Ireland?’ and he said ‘Yes, that’s exactly where I want to go!’
“He left us a great company but, more importantly, he left us a set of values and a set of ethics that guide us today,” he added.
Lord Mayor Des Cahill also spoke at the event, thanking Ford for its contribution to the city.
“Cork was such a different time in 1917. What really pulled at my heart was the reason why Henry Ford chose to set up in Cork,” he said.
“It was to address the dreadful poverty and the tenement and the unemployment that was in Cork at the time. Fifty percent of our fellow people were on or below the poverty line when Ford set up in Cork.”
What Henry Ford did for Cork could be considered the first form of foreign direct investment, the Lord Mayor said.
“We couldn’t call it foreign direct investment because Ford is Irish,” he added.
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