Media Library




Good afternoon and thank you for the invitation to join you today to see at first hand the long-awaited, much-anticipated new Cork School of Music.  The site is as good as it gets and the

facilities are magnificent.  I hope the end justifies and vindicates the long years of struggle, hard work and sheer determination of all those who were determined that Cork would have a new jewel in its cultural crown.

Those who remember well the old school must be thrilled to see how this very same site has been regenerated, creating an unrivalled riverside location here on Union Quay.  I can’t imagine a nicer place to study music or speech and drama or a more pleasant place to enjoy the very best of performances of all sorts, not to mention the public restaurant.

In fact, this is a very public place, for the people of Cork have been rock solid behind their College of Music and its ambitions for a new beginning and they can be very proud of this great addition to the cultural life and architectural beauty of the “real capital”.

The School is, as it has long been, a centre of gravity in the city with deep links throughout the community where it supports and nurtures talent including talent that was so often overlooked or wasted in previous generations, among those with disability and those living with serious disadvantage.  Your access initiatives, along with innovations like courses in Music Therapy and Music in the Community, speak of an institution that deeply cares about all the people who are its hinterland.  Here is a place that is dedicated to finding and revealing talent wherever it resides.

In seeking to widen access and participation, and in confronting those factors that prevented certain sections of the community from engaging with musical education, the School of Music has set a courageous example for other institutions to follow.  If we are truly to promote social cohesion and inclusion in our changing economic and social environment, if we are to complete the ambition of this republic of ours then the under-served and excluded communities must be served and included as you are doing.

Over generations the School of Music has had many great champions, foremost among them the great Professor Aloys Fleischmann, so well remembered in the impressive Fleischmann Library.

It is a very apt tribute to a man who did so much to develop Cork’s reputation for excellence in music education and who bequeathed his own collection of books and scores to the School.  The School has been fortunate in a succession of superb directors - Bernard Curtis, Bridget Doolan and John C. Murphy.  I am delighted that the work of that great man of the stage in Cork,

James Stack, is also acknowledged, and that the Fleischmann Library is now run by one of ‘the Prof’s’ own daughters, Maeve.

The students and staff of the Cork School of Music will never forget the unequivocal support of the people of Cork for the construction of this magnificent facility.  After 130 years in the city, the School is better equipped than ever to serve it.  On behalf of those who benefit, I am delighted to thank Hochtief, Murray Ó’Laoire Architects and Sisk - those famous sons of Cork - and all those involved in the Public-Private Partnership that has given us this marvellous facility.

Thank you once again for your generous invitation.  I commend all who work and study here.