— Lord Mayors should walking, cycling, or take the bus “to show leadership”.
Electric cars were not fit for Cork City Council mayor until after the “sponsor”, Ford, launched their first all-electric car. Previously the company only had an all-electric US-style pick-up truck-style SUV.
Irish campaigners are pointing to the pre-election commitment of New York City’s recently elected Mayor Eric Adams to use a bicycle at least some of the time as Mayor. The first day in office he rode the subway and the second day he cycled to work:
In Ireland, Lord Mayors, who are elected by fellow councillors rather than directly, have had cars “sponsored” for years by car companies — Ford in Cork and Volvo in Dublin.
According to the Irish Examiner, Cork’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Colm Kelleher, said that the Ford Mustang Mach-e — which costs €69,000 — will help encourage more conversations about sustainability. Ford advertises the car as an SUV.
The car was presented to Cllr Kelleher by John Manning, a sales and marketing director at Ford:
Conn Donovan, chairperson of the Cork Cycling Campaign said: “In 2020 City Hall said that electric cars were too small for the needs of the Lord Mayor and lacked the range. Co-incidentally, Ford, who provide a complimentary new car to the Lord Mayor, did not have an electric car on the market then.”
He said: “There’s a good policy base for #corkcc to support the roll-out of electric vehicles for their own fleet as moving from Internal Combustion Engines to Electric Vehicles was a major policy objective of the 2019 Government of Ireland Climate Action Plan.”
But he said that the council was effectively giving the thumbs up to electric cars but the thumbs down to active travel.
Donovan said: “By chauffeuring the Lord Mayor in an electric car but not setting targets that the Lord Mayor walk/cycle/take the bus for some trips, we have a situation whereby both national and #corkcc policy is being applied selectively.”
He added: “By walking, cycling, or taking the bus the office of the Lord Mayor can provide ‘robust leadership’ on the need for more trips to be taken by active or sustainable transport This is happening in many cities already.”