Honour to lead way and support regeneration of Cork

Honour to lead way and support regeneration of Cork
Newly elected Cork County Mayor Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley. Picture Dan Linehan

I was honoured to be elected as Mayor of the County of Cork following a unanimous vote by full council. My deepest thanks go to the people of East Cork for choosing me to represent them in Cork County Council and to my council colleagues for electing me as Mayor of the County of Cork. I would also like to congratulate Cllr Joe Carroll on his election as Deputy Mayor. I know I can speak for both of us on how much we are looking forward to our roles and continuing on the excellent example set out by our predecessors.

It is my intention to lead the way in supporting the regeneration of the economy of Cork county following Covid-19 by supporting local businesses, retailers, and communities. I aim to lead the council in meeting the challenge of housing delivery, and will work tirelessly to ensure that the community and voluntary groups who supported their communities during lockdown receive the support they need to return to full operation.

Politics is in the lifeblood of the Linehan family. Growing up in Youghal, while most families argued about GAA and sport, we discussed and debated politics. Between my late father Paddy and I, we have over 70 years’ service in public life representing the people of Youghal and East Cork, only 30 years to go to hit the century!

I have been fortunate enough to have been successful in every local election since 1999 and I’m grateful to my community in East Cork for this. My connections to community life run deep in Youghal, having been chairperson of Youghal Town Twinning; chairperson of Community Radio Youghal; a member of the East Cork Garda Youth Diversion Project, and chairperson of Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group.

I was delighted that my first act in office was the signing of a contract for an extension of our lovely Youghal Eco Boardwalk. This wonderful amenity makes our beautiful shoreline more accessible for everyone, visitors and residents alike. It also offers an opportunity to raise awareness of the ecological significance of Ballyvergan Marsh and coastal zone, providing a low impact on the environment, restricting erosion, and raising awareness of the area’s value to both locals and visitors alike.

I am honoured to be the third woman to take office as Mayor of the County of Cork, following Cllr Paula Desmond in 2002 and most recently fellow Youghal woman, Cllr Barbara Murray who took office in 2012.

It is difficult and challenging for women to participate in public life, partly due to the role that society in Ireland places on mothers as primary caregivers and the lack of affordable childcare. I have been one of the lucky ones in that my husband John and my family have always been there to plug the gaps in childcare, which has afforded me the opportunity to fully participate in public life.

In life I have faced many challenges, such as being a lone parent at quite a relatively young age. I feel these experiences have equipped me well for dealing with the trials that one faces in life and has given me the skills and empathy to advocate on behalf of our citizens, many of whom live in challenging circumstances. At the end of the day, I am a public representative and I am here to serve the public and deliver the resources and supports that our communities need.

I am truly honoured to have been elected as Mayor of the County of Cork and pledge to uphold the principles of the office and represent the people of Cork to the best of my ability.

I look forward to working with you all over the coming year to advance a vision for our County, to provide world-class services and supports to our communities, and to make our county the best place in the world in which to live, work, visit and do business.

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