Cork’s two local authorities have set aside the political friction over the contentious city boundary process to spearhead a new regional branding initiative.
The city and county councils joined forces yesterday to unveil the We are Cork place-branding campaign which will be used to market the region nationally and internationally.
Among the stakeholders backing the umbrella brand are Cork Airport, the Port of Cork, UCC, CIT, Cork Chamber, and Cork Business Association.
Cork County mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy said he met with the city’s Lord Mayor within days of their respective elections last summer and they decided it was time to put the divisions associated with the city boundary extension process behind them.
We decided it was time for us to work together, to move forward together, for the betterment of the region,” he said.
Lord Mayor Mick Finn, said: “We are now united behind a common message.”
Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who launched We are Cork, praised the mayors for finding “common ground”.
We all want the same for our city and for the county. We want to fulfil their potential,” he said.
There were calls yesterday for businesses, organisations, and people in the region to adopt the branding message.
Cork’s 96FM, which has been using the We are Cork branding for almost three years, welcomed the move.
Its chief executive, Kieran McGeary, said they are very supportive of any campaign that promotes the region.
“We have been using We are Cork for a considerable amount of time and it’s a great compliment that the branding is being taken forward by the groups involved and we are happy to support it in any way, shape, or form,” he said.
The Government’s Ireland 2040 plan envisages population growth in the Cork region of between 50% and 60% to bring its population close to 800,000.
Mr Coveney said the plan sees Cork as the natural counterweight to development in the capital and its hinterland and he said the Government will back the ambition underlined in the marketing initiative.
“It is a strong collective brand with buy-in from everyone,” he said. “We now have all the big players, all the muscle, pushing in the right direction. It will lay the foundations for a dramatic expansion of the city to become a European city of scale.”
To mark the launch of the initiative, many of the city’s landmark buildings including City Hall, County Hall, the Port of Cork’s headquarters, CIT’s City Centre Hub, UCC, The Capitol, and One Albert Quay will turn red this week.
Cork is poised to become the fastest-growing region in Ireland in the next 20 years.
There’s an estimated €510m in commercial development underway or recently completed in the city.
Chairwoman of the We are Cork steering committee, city council chief executive, Ann Doherty, insisted the brand has “unilateral support” from all major players in Cork, with county council chief executive, Tim Lucey, describing the brand as something under which everyone could unite to showcase the region.