Lord Mayor, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.


It gives me great pleasure to be associated with the welcome for all the delegates to Cork for this third meeting of the workshops for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention.


Cork County Council is delighted to be one of the hosting partners for this event, which is intended for all those involved in the field of landscape and sustainable spatial development.


It is an opportune time to visit the southern capitol following the wonderful regeneration of Cork City’s main thoroughfare, Patrick Street and I hope that during your stay in this historic city that you will have time to visit some of the award winning towns and villages round the county, particularly my own paternal area of Cork Southwest - the Mecca of tourism in the country.  Do not go back to your respective countries without taking the time a visit what we believe is Ireland’s answer to the French Riviera – the wonderful coastal landscape of Cork Southwest.


Cork is the largest county in Ireland , with an area of 7,500 sq km – 11% of the total land area of the state and with over 7,500 miles of public roads, Cork County Council’s transportation network equates to 14% of the nation’s total.


We can also boast of a coastline of 1,100 km – 19% of the state’s total coastline with 10 Blue Flag beaches and we have the greatest number of rivers in Ireland – the source of over 30 million gallons (136 million litres) of drinking water every day


Cork is therefore ideally located for this workshop, which will underline the importance of landscape policy in towns and cities.


There will also be an exchange of experiences, examining both good and bad practices in the protection, management and planning of the European landscape.


In this country of ours we have only three natural industries - agriculture, fisheries and tourism. We do not contribute to the wine lake by virtue of the fact that we are ten degrees too far north from the equator, but we make a fair dent in the wine lake, I can guarantee you that.


We do not contribute to the citrus fruit mountains, because of climatic conditions as well. We did in our time contribute to the butter and beef mountains but as far as agriculture is concerned with CAP reform there is no longer an incentive for increased production in agriculture in this country now.


We have come to a strange crossroads where there is now a set aside programme from Europe and you know yourself with set aside programmes being audited by Europe we can only produce certain quotas of food.


As far as our fisheries are concerned we are completed bedevilled with quota’s and of course by large non-Irish trawlers in the Atlantic Ocean for generations past and the fish stock is dwindling rapidly in the Atlantic Ocean, an ocean which produces the best fish in the world.


But the one and only natural industry we have of significant importance is tourism. We have a beautiful clear atmosphere and I must say we have a beautiful landscape, what I would call outstanding countryside and panoramic views.


The greater part of Cork County is encircled by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and of course naturally enough we have beaches of the finest quality and degree. We have beautiful clear bathing water. So with these unsurpassed natural landscape assets you will understand why we look to mainland Europe to attract as many visitors as possible.


May I wish all the delegates an informative and worthwhile experience during your visit and I hope that this visit, if it is your first, will encourage you to return again.


Thank you