Make the banks of the Lee lovely again

LET me first start off and say what a proud Corkman I am. I currently live in Johannesburg and travel the world with work – but there is no place like home.

We have an amazing city, with amazing people, beauty and culture. We are unique. It was with great pride to hear recently that Lonely Planet, the world’s top tourist guide, says the hot places to visit next year are Singapore, Vancouver, Sarajevo – and Cork. And they are right, well sort of ...

I recently came home for the jazz festival and was disappointed at how grim the city centre was looking. After the huge investment and facelift the city centre received during The Capital of Culture 2005, the city centre now looks dull, dreary and rundown. The pavements were filthy with rubbish and badly stained, the bins overflowed and the shop fronts bore tacky signage and looked like they hadn’t seen a lick of paint in years. The city looked tired and uninviting. I felt let down and embarrassed by the city I love.

The city centre businesses need to clean up their premises drastically. They need to make the city centre more pleasant to visit. Invite us and we will come. The city council must clean our streets, improve our transport links, welcome weekend city centre parking and we will come. When we come, we will spend.

If we are to live up to this name as one of the hottest cities we have a lot to do.

Ronan O’Connor

North Riding

Johannesburg

South Africa

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