THE Lord Mayor of Cork last night urged people to line the city’s streets tomorrow to welcome the queen to the southern capital.
“We need the public’s help to bring to life our promise that Cork is a city of welcomes,” he said.
“I urge everyone to come into the city and help us maximise this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the city in its best possible light on the world stage,” Cllr Michael O’Connell said.
His call came as security tightened around the city.
Litter bins and bottle banks were removed from roads along which the queen’s motorcade will travel.
Several kilometres of crowd control barriers will be erected on the route from 6pm tonight, as parking restrictions kick in.
Dozens of roads will close from 10am tomorrow and pedestrian restrictions will be imposed from 12 noon.
Final arrangements are being made for a huge street party on St Patrick’s Street tomorrow, during which live images of the queen’s tour of the English Market will be relayed to giant TV screens.
Sinn Féin is planning an alternative event on Sullivan’s Quay from 12.30pm to celebrate republicanism.
The security was stepped up as city manager Tim Lucey dismissed as “misleading” recent reports that €250,000 had been spent upgrading the famous English Market just for the queen’s visit. Responding to a question from Sinn Féin Cllr Mick Nugent, he said the money had been invested over the last two years as part of a planned capital works.
“These works included electrical rewiring, alarm systems upgrade and extended security measures,” he said.
“Given the unprecedented media attention that will focus on the visit, and in view of the potential to use this coverage to promote Cork and the country, a number of the improvement proposals are being brought forward and this is entirely appropriate.
“Works now being done include painting, cleaning and signage.”
Meanwhile, city councillors have voted against a Sinn Féin motion calling on them not to endorse the visit.
Cllr Nugent criticised the money being spent. “There is not enough to clear the traffic calming backlog, or to maintain graveyards, but money appears to be no object to dress up streets for this visit,” he said.
Party colleague Cllr Fiona Kerins said she was “sick of hearing about the tourism spin-offs”.
“To be honest, if you got Jedward running through the English Market, you would double the crowd, and it would be remembered for longer,” she said.
However, veteran Fine Gael Cllr Jim Corr backed the invitation.
“My only regret is that she wasn’t invited to address this council,” he said.
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