The recently established West Cork Islands Community Council was formally launched by the Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Tim Lombard at a meeting of Cork County Council in County Hall (Monday 27th February 2012).
Mr Syd Cheatle, a resident of Sherkin Island was elected chairperson of the new body which will be in a position to speak for all of the islands’ communities and work for their long-term overall interests, as a voluntary, collective, representative structure modelled on Muintir na Tíre.
The Community Council should add a more representational and collective approach to the development of the West Cork Islands, and will facilitate the exchange of information and experiences between the island communities.
One of the key aims of the West Cork Islands Interagency Group was to establish a voluntary representative structure for the West Cork Islands as an Island Group. There are two members elected by the population of each of the seven inhabited islands.
The West Cork Islands have also launched their own website http://westcorkislands.com/ to inform Islanders of events and news on the Islands, to showcase the Islands to potential visitors and develop the brand of the west cork islands.
The Mayor wished the newly elected Community Council well and looked forward to exploring new ways that the Council and Forum can work together, listening and learning from each other.
“Community and town councils exist at a scale that reflects people’s patterns of social interaction and their identification with place. They can therefore act to facilitate community activities, organise and sponsor community events and promote community spirit and inclusiveness,” saild Cllr Lombard.
Speaking at the launch, County Manager Mr. Martin Riordan said that working together locally in an organised and focused way is one of the most effective methods of ensuring that the community’s needs are heard and met and urged people to get involved. He added that voluntary activity forms the very core of all vibrant and inclusive societies and the linking together of all our west cork island communities offers great opportunities for the islands
John Walsh from Bere Island Projects Group said that they were delighted to be involved with the setting up of the West Cork Islands community council. This is the first time that the 7 inhabited of West Cork Islands will be represented by one structure and this will be a positive step forward for the communities living there.
Máirtín Ó’Méalóid, manager of the Comharchumann Chléire Teo which played a significant role in the council’s development, stated that it will be a very important forum for discussion on matters collective to the seven islands of west cork and that the Comharchumann very much looks forward to working closely with the council in a supportive way into the future.
Breeda Murphy, Community & Enterprise Development Officer
Office of Community & Enterprise, Floor 10, Cork County Council, County Hall, Cork.
Office Tel 021/4285350