Endless hours of work are being tunnelled into the ongoing “dereliction epidemic” by two private business owners who are determined to turn the tide on Cork's crumbling city.
Frank O’Connor and Jude Sherry, who run anois Agency, working with businesses and bodies to implement sustainable policy, have taken on a volunteer role raising awareness of the issue of dereliction.
Last Saturday, the dynamic duo organised a “Walking Festival & Guided Tour” in association with Catu Cork.
The three-hour walk began around Blarney Street and concluded 3km later at the former Odlum’s factory on the docks.
The walk passed 70 derelict buildings en route, with six officials stops where musicians and poets entertained the 100 heavy crowd of interested individuals looking to learn more about how they can have an impact on the ongoing issue.
Speaking to The Echo, one half of the double act, Frank O’Connor said they believed they could affect change and were working very hard to get results.
“Our aims are to shed light on the problem, challenge the issue and show possible solutions” Mr O’Connor said the pair were inspired and enthused by the huge turnout they managed to gather for the walk.
The next step for the two hardworking activists is to continue working on a “policy toolbar” and have a public presentation on October 14, facilitated by the Heritage Council, where people can learn more about the types of ideas the duo have come up with.
“We are not going to stop. We have been campaigning for 15 months and it is not just a Cork issue, it is a national issue. We have started a Twitter thread #DerelictIreland and we are gathering support across the country, in Limerick and Dublin, etc.”
Chatting about what they hoped to achieve, Frank said they wanted to end dereliction and bring vacancy levels back to a reasonable rate.
Mr O’Connor said he knew they were big objectives, but said after years of working and living abroad, he could see that cities do not have to be full of crumbling decay and dereliction.
The anois agency founder said that he and Jude have been putting a great deal of time and effort into their campaign, but they completely believe it is the right thing to do and want to continue.