Re: Re: City Centre Events

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I know its not stricly about developments in the city (more the use we put them to) but am I the only person very frustrated at the City Council’s record on

a) organising, and
b) publicising

City Centre events?

By way of example of the former, Limerick City council has garnered lots of (badly needed) publicity for that city by putting up big screens last year for the European rugby final and this year for the All Ireland hurling final. Thousands attended and thus the city centre got a more tangible financial benefit also (not to mention that the populace, whom a city centre should serve, were delighted with the set up). For a city that can virtually set its watch by its regular appearance in (of not results of!) such finals, it beggars belief that we in Cork don’t offer our populace a similar facility. Indeed this is all the more galling as the necessary big screens and crowd control barriers would have to put up the day after the match anyway for the traditional homecoming. Nor is this idle speculation. When Cork were going for the hurling 3-in-a-row last year I e-mailed lots of addresses in the City Council (I got the addresses off their website) urging such a set up. In fairness the Lord Mayor and two individuals (an events manager was one I think) replied saying what a great idea it was, how they had to hire the big screens for 3 days anyway so there was no extra cost, etc, etc. Of course the day came and went without anybody doing anything more and that seems to me to be typical.

What frustrates me even more is that when the Council does pull the finger out and does organise anything (ie. city marathon, ceili mor, ocean to city race, European car free events, etc) there is virtually no publicity for same which in turn means they risk being flops (or at a minimum are not the huge successes they should be). Indeed I suspect the lack of turn out at some such events (which itself is entirely the by product of City Council laziness) is used by some in the same City Council to justify not putting on further such events as “nobody bothers to go to them like”.

By way of illustration, for the ceili mor event earlier this month, I am told there were loads of stalls in town on the sunday but there was no one at them – largely because no one knew they were there! Similarly there was a huge crowd on Patrick’s St at the marathon last June but speaking to many of the crowd there they just happened upon it and had never heard it was on! In fact for the city marathon they had 1,600 running the full course but over half of these were last minute entrants. The City Council couldn’t figure out why – could it be that no one knew about it? I ran in it and from the blank expressions I got in the weeks running up to it when I mentioned the race to people thats what I would put my money on.

In short, my sense is that within City Council there are people now thinking properly about how to use civic spaces (hence all the new events) but they are totally let down by the publicity arm (is there such a thing?) of City Hall. There is no point putting on an event if you don’t tell anyone about it. Moreover the City Coucil still lacks the drive to set up really large, all inclusive, Civic events to showcase the city as evidenced by the big screen example above and even more so by the shameful decision last year to hold the Freedom of the City event for Roy Keane and Sonia O’Sullivan behind close doors.

Any thoughts?

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