Tributes have been paid following the sudden death of Cork County Council independent councillor Claire Cullinane who spearheaded the promotion of Cobh and Cork Harbour around the world.
Ms Cullinane, who was in her mid 50s, was found dead at home in Cobh, Co Cork, yesterday. Concerns for her welfare mounted when she failed to attend two council meetings since Monday.
Ms Cullinane, who once taught deportment and modelling in Cork City, was very involved in the community. She established the Cobh Animation team - volunteer reenactors who dressed in period costume as part of a living-history initiative. They welcomed cruise passengers to Cobh terminal, they played a key role in local and national Titanic centenary celebrations in 2012, in Lusitania commemorations in 2015, and they travelled all over Ireland and Europe.
Ms Cullinane was elected to Cork County Council in May 2014 as an independent in the Cobh Electoral Area. She was a key member of the Ireland 2016 Committee, which facilitated over 500 events across the county, with the animation team central in many, including at the Dáil, in Belfast, Germany and New York.
County Mayor Seamus McGrath said there was a deep sense of shock following her sudden death, and that she will be sadly missed. Council chief executive Tim Lucey described her as an “incredibly dedicated” public servant who contributed enormously to the council.
FF Cllr Frank O’Flynn said her contribution to the 1916 events was immense while FG’s Cllr Sinead Sheppard described her death as a massive loss to her family, the council, and the Great Island community. “Claire loved tourism and loved displaying everything Cobh has to offer,” Cllr Sheppard said. “The Animation Team is a huge credit to her.”
Cllr Declan Hurley, for the independent councillors, described her as a “wonderful, fun-loving character” who had a great vision for Cobh and the harbour. “Her energy, good humour and positiveness are written all over the work she did since her election,” he said.
Hendrick Verwey, of Cobh Tourism, said: “Everything positive that happened in Cobh in the last 10 years, Claire was either at the forefront of it, or involved.”
Ms Cullinane is survived by her children Chris and Kate. Her remains will repose at Cobh Community Hospital Mortuary from 5pm Friday, rosary at 8pm, followed by removal to St Colman’s Cathedral, with the funeral at 12noon on Saturday.
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