Lord Mayor drives Cork city council’s latest environmental initiative

Just days after banning plastic cups in City Hall, the Lord Mayor of Cork is going electric.

Henry Ford & Son Ltd, who provide a new car to the lord mayor’s office every six months, have confirmed plans to supply a 182-C-01 Mondeo plug-in hybrid to the office-holder this summer.

Since the start of the year, the mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, has been transported in a ‘green’ Mondeo with a CO2 rating of 112g/km — down from 139g/km five years ago.

The mayor’s move to a hybrid follows Ford’s announcement last week that it is investing $11bn (€9bn) in a new range of 16 fully electric and 24 plug-in hybrid vehicles to be delivered by 2022. It came just days after the city council banned disposable cups in City Hall.

“Transport is responsible for 20% of the country’s carbon emissions and emissions from the sector are growing,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“We need to reduce the number of petrol and diesel cars on the road to meet our climate change commitments.

“The future is electric and seeing as the vast majority of my journeys are around the city, it makes sense to lead by example and go electric.

“There are electric charging points on-street in Cork and at Paul St and North Main St multi-storey carparks and at Black Ash park and ride.”

The Green Party praised the council for its environmental leadership.

Justin Fleming, the party’s representative in the south-central ward and an Earth Hour co-ordinator in Cork, said they discussed the transport issue with the previous lord mayor.

“The obstacles we faced then were that Ford had few or no electric or hybrid vehicles and the battery range would have to be enough to get from Cork to Dublin on a single charge,” he said. “Since then there’s been a sea-change in the industry.”

Last week, City Hall announced a ban on single-use cups in the building and distributed free reusable cups to staff. The council, spending €700 a month on disposable cups for its canteen, spent €3,500 buying 500 reusable cups which means it will see a payback on the reusable cup investment within five months.

The council’s chief scientist, Mary Walsh, said 2m disposable cups are landfilled in Ireland every day. “This is a scandalous figure and we at Cork City Council wanted to do our bit to reduce our environmental footprint by banning disposable cups at City Hall.”

The Lord Mayor has also already agreed to officially turn off the lights at City Hall for Earth Hour this year.


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