2023-2024 Cork Lady Mayoress : from exploration to experimentation

My partner Kieran McCarthy’s Mayoralty is now over. It has been roller-coaster. Of energy, of emotions. It has been an experience which I will miss but not regret: a unique in a life-time opportunity!

The last 6 months

We have gone through such great highlights since the last account of our activities:

  • The Lady Mayoress’ Coffee Morning in Aid of Marymount for which we raised 5 000 euros
  • Saint Patrick’s Day events and parade
  • The Lord Mayor’s Ball which raised 21 000 euros in aid of The Mercy University Hospital Foundation, The Rainbow Club and Cork Mental Health Foundation
  • The throwing of the Dart – traditional and family moment
  • The Local Council Elections
  • The Chain handover

On-going questioning

Over the 1,600 gigs attended for the Lord Mayor, fewer for myself, this journey has raised many questions for me which will guide me over the next couple of years:

  • About (Cork’s) Lord Mayor:
    • What is the real importance of a Lord Mayor?
    • Is the power of the Lord Mayor really limited as compared to that of a directly elected Mayor, head of the executive?
    • How does a personality influence a mayoralty?
    • What is the link between the Lord Mayor and their re-election as a Councillor?
  • About local governance:
    • How can civil servants and elected officials collaborate and join efforts for the best of their cities?
    • What is the role of leadership at local level, both for elected representatives and civil servants – whether for local scrunity or the drive for change?
    • How does and how can local authorities support any sort of community life?
  • About Community life:
    • The realm of community activities in Cork is huge: is it specific to Cork, to Ireland? How does it compare to other cities and countries?
    • What is the added value of being part of a community activity?
    • Is there as social bias to community life?
  • In the light one’s political and public life, many questions about work/life balance, private/professional lives and all these related to couple life

My main takeaways of being the Lady Mayoress of Cork

It has been an honour: a moment to be appreciated and cherished, a great access and an opportunity to get familiar with the community life of Cork and with so many other aspects of Cork’s life (economic, environmental, cultural, …)

It has required me to be humble: and to become increasingly humble every day when seeing the great work of all those working in special medical, care or school facilities, working with refugees or homeless people, as well as of the tremendous commitment of city administrations and local politicians.

It has given me so much energy as well as taken so much of it: this is a hard trade-off, which makes life, and this role in particular, in general worth it. But when you see how much those who love their city, jobs, neighbours put in it, you can only want to multiply your efforts as well.

It is not only about charity work:  this was presented to me as the main focus of the role of the Lady Mayoress. Actually, even though I discovered the world of charity and volunteering (which is different from the countries in which I was born in, grew up in, or evolved as an adult), I have also got the opportunity to act on local history, economic, sport, nature and environment, lifelong learning, inclusivity, arts and crafts, science, …

It is what you want to be: there is no manual to be a Lady Mayoress? Let it be! And be the one you want to be in this role, serving and supporting the city, always being grateful for this wonderful opportunity!

Ce n’est qu’un aurevoir

The Mayoralty is now over. I shared my thanks and gratefulness during a farewell party.

A new chapter is to be open. Making the most out for this adventure for both personal and professional perspective, seeking to make our cities better every day!