26 November 2023
By Tom Collins
A plaque was unveiled at City Hall Cork this week, to commemorate that the building was used as a vaccination centre during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials from Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Public Health Area D, Cork City Council and the South South West Hospital Group gathered to watch Lord Mayor Cllr Kieran McCarthy reveal the plaque, which reads: ‘City Hall Cork, in use as a community vaccination centre from April 2021 until March 2022. In memory of all those who passed through and those we lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.’
At the unveiling were: Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy; Damien McCallion, Chief Operations Officer, HSE; Ann Doherty, Cork City Council Chief Executive; Sinead Horgan, Director of Nursing, South South West Hospital Group Vaccinations; Tess O’Donovan, Chief Officer, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare; Michael Fitzgerald, former Chief Officer CKCH and Gabrielle O’Keeffe, Head of Service for Health, Wellbeing & Strategy, CKCH.
Lord Mayor Cllr Kieran McCarthy said: “It is in deep reflection and with a sense of sadness and pride that I unveil this plaque today commemorating the role played by City Hall when it took its place as a central vaccination centre serving the people of Cork from April 2021 to March 2022.
“There is sadness from the sense of loss suffered by so many during the time of the Pandemic, but also great pride should be taken in those who served to keep us safe through the administration of the vaccination programme. In years to come, this plaque will give our successors an insight into the volume of people that passed through our historic Concert Hall and the staff that worked long hours to keep our people safe. The plaque will serve as a poignant reminder of the dark days of Covid-19, but also as a tribute to the resilience of our people in the face of the greatest adversity.”
Damien McCallion, Chief Operations Officer HSE, said: “This plaque serves as a reminder of how the entire community united during the pandemic, with the common aim of keeping us all safe. “The vaccination campaign allowed society to return to normality, and we thank every member of staff at the HSE, at Cork City Council and beyond who worked tirelessly to make it a success. We are also reminded that while Covid-19 vaccinations are no longer delivered in large-scale vaccination centres, they are still as important now to protect us all.”
Ann Doherty, Cork City Council Chief Executive, said: “As a Council, we were honoured to facilitate the use of Cork City Hall as a primary location for the thousands that passed through to avail of the Covid-19 vaccine from the HSE.
“Future generations will know what took place here across all those months of queuing and administration that is so evident from this photograph. I’d like to thank the staff in the HSE and in City Council for the collaboration and co-operation that took place to ensure its smooth running.”
Tess O’Donovan, Chief Officer Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, said: “We are proud of the strong links between the HSE and all other state agencies in Cork, including Cork City Council. The support of Cork City Council allowed us to efficiently open a vaccination centre at Cork City Hall which was centrally located and which could handle the huge demand for vaccines. We sincerely thank all the staff at City Hall and Cork City Council for the joint working that took place here.
“While Covid-19 vaccination is now integrated into our wider vaccination programme, we will never forget how the difference which centres like this one made to all our lives.”