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Lord Mayor Gerald Y.Goldberg

It is a honour for me to welcome you here this evening, in the Lord Mayor’s /Council Chamber to launch this book on Gerald Y.Goldberg.

Although there is enough material in this and other books on this extraordinary man to fill a library, I propose for this evening to concentrate on Gerald Goldberg, the politician and his times.

Firstly, Gerald is widely known to have held the office of Lord Mayor, and held Lord Mayors Tomás MacCurtain & Terence MacSwiney in the highest esteem. As a gesture of respect he commissioned the portraits of these two Lord Mayors of Cork which he has given on loan to Cork City Council to hang in the Lord Mayor’s room. You see them here this evening.

As a boy, standing outside the City Hall, Gerard wanted to be Lord Mayor of Cork. Gerald Y. Goldberg was elected an Alderman of Cork Corporation in 1967 as an independent. He made history by being the first member of the Jewish faith to be elected First Citizen in 1977 winning by eighteen votes to ten on a Fianna Fail nomination, having earlier joined that party.

He recalled with great admiration the generosity of Cllr.Dave Buckley without whose support he would not have been elected and who he remembered with great affection.

In his election speech June 28th , as newly elected Lord Mayor, Gerald addressed those present in Irish, Hebrew and English stating that he was a Corkman and proud of his City and people.

During his time as Lord Mayor, he visited the USA – in particular Pennsylvania, where he says he spent hours copying William Penn’s notes on Cork and reminding his hosts [Pennsylvanians] that they owed a lot to Cork. 

When on his travels he was often asked if the people of Cork were anti-Semites his answer was always the same, giving Corkonians top marks for tolerance!

Gerald had high praise for many of the officials and fellow councillors he worked with over the years. In an interview some years ago he stated “Under the management of Joe McHugh, Cork Corporation was built into one of the finest corporations in Ireland.

He said “I had the privilege of working with some very dedicated men and women over the years who worked selflessly for the good of this city”. “The likes of John Birmingham, Pearse Wyse, and other very strong Lord Mayors such as Pat Kerrigan, Hugh Coveney and Sean Casey”. Gerald continues…”I became Lord Mayor and it was a very humbling experience to be working in a position that had such other notable Lord Mayors. We are fortunate in Cork to have produced so many outstanding leaders and continue to do so.”

Personally I am honoured to honour a man who spoke so kindly and eloquently about my late father. Gerald’s assisted my father’s election as Ardmhéara when He and Councillor Val Jago with Labour supported his nomination. My Father and Gerard were very good robust colleagues.

Gerald’s wife Sheila, also played a large public role during her term as Lady Mayoress. She visited schools around the city many times and fulfilled an almost ‘First Lady’ persona.

Gerald Goldberg’s time as an elected representative was a time of dynamic change in Cork.
In 1976 Cork’s City Council embarked upon one of the most ambitious strategic planning exercises ever undertaken in the State’s history.
The Land Use and Transportation Study (LUTS) was an examination of the Greater Cork Area’s development and transportation needs up to the new millennium-a period of 25 years.

The delivery of the vision which had crystallised in the study’s findings was a task of hugh proportions. Nevertheless, the Council on which Gerald served as both an Alderman and Lord Mayor rose to the challenge. Imagine Cork, without the road infrastructure that Luts and Cork City Council planned and implemented. The success of the LUTS plan continues to be built upon today with the adoption of LUTS’ successor– the Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP). CASP is a testament to the value of long term planning as a mechanism for the delivery of infrastructural and spatial planning.

Gerald Goldberg played a pivotal role in the shaping of the first such strategic plan introduced in the State. After 18 years of public service, his active role in politics came to an end in 1985.

Gerald and Sheila Goldberg will be remembered by many people for their patronage of the arts spanning several disciplines. He was Governor of the National Gallery and Director of the Cork Opera House. Both he and his beloved late wife, Sheila were great supporters of live musical performances in Cork*. He had a passion for books and had a most comprehensive private library testament to his interest in academic works and in particular Jewish history and Jewish fiction.

This wonderful book Gerald Goldberg a tribute, Edited by Professor Dermot Keogh and Dr. Diarmuid Whelan honours a fine human Being, a wonderful intellect, a distinguished politician and a true Corkonian.
I congratulate, and wish every success to Mercier Press, Professor Dermot Keogh and Dr. Diarmuid Whelan

Go raibh míle maith agaibh

Speech delivered by the Lord Mayor of Cork Ardmhéara Chorcaí, Cllr. Brian Bermingham on 16.7.08 at the launch of a book on former Lord Mayor Gerald Goldberg