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Interview with Lord Mayor

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By Jack Milne Dowd – Transition Year correspondent

On the 23rd of October Jack Milne Dowd of fourth year interviewed John Buttimer, the Lord Mayor of Cork and brother to Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, in the chambers of the Lord Mayor, Cork City Hall.

What was your favourite subject in school?
My favourite subject was English, especially studying poetry and Shakespeare as I found it easy but interesting. I also enjoyed the mystery of studying drama.

Was it always an ambition of yours to be the Lord Mayor of Cork?
Certainly not; my ambition was to captain an All Ireland winning team but I became more realistic in my twenties and from then on it was something I wanted to do.

What figure in Irish history do you most admire?
I’m not sure if you’d have ever heard of him – but he’s a man named Daniel O Sullivan. He was a politician in the 1800s that had a principal of non-violence and also gathered huge crowds in a time without texting or the internet.

What advice would you give to aspiring politicians?
I’d advise them to get involved in their community, get interested in things that are happening around you, broaden your mind and try and assess your own goals.

What do you want to achieve as mayor?
I want to advocate for disabled and elderly people who are often ignored. I want to strengthen links within the business community and promote business development. I also want to develop a sports facility in Cork.

What do you think makes Cork so special?
Well, it’s a combination of so many things: it’s Cork’s great history; the people; the openness of the society; the outstanding educational facilities; and the character and tradition of the county.

You recently returned from China; do you feel those trips are necessary or an expensive luxury we can no longer afford?
Yes, there is no denying it is and expense, but a short-term expense that in the long run could lead to profits because of the strong links between Shanghai and Cork. This means it is important for a representative of Cork to visit and have a good relationship with the people of Shanghai.

Ok, so my last question: what’s your message to young people of Ireland?
That’s simple; don’t try to be older than you are. Enjoy the age you are now and don’t try to grow up too quickly by getting involved in alcohol and drugs.