“This same luxury in diet, a sedentary life, or improper exercise, joined to a great stock of natural health, imprisoned in a rich constitution, is the father, or grandsire, of all the hips in the City; where some commit self-murder, in a fine state of health, whilst others live miserable under the most florid complexions.” Alexander the Coppersmith; Remarks Upon the City of Cork, p93

Healthy City - Policy

The factors which influence our health, known as the determinants of health, reach beyond the boundaries of traditional health care and public health sectors. All sectors including education, housing, employment, transportation, health, agriculture, and environment; and their interactions and interrelationships are essential to improving health and wellbeing. According to the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (WHO 2008), inequalities in health are shaped by the unequal distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. It is the social, economic and environmental conditions in which we live in, and how they interact, that strongly influence our health.

In 2013, the Irish Government launched ‘Healthy Ireland[1] as a key step in bringing about the changes and actions required for improving the health and wellbeing of the nation. This plan, which has universal government departmental endorsement and obligations, identifies and involves every part of Irish society. The vision for Healthy Ireland is where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential; where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone’s responsibility. This framework plan sets out an integrated, co-ordinated and intersectoral approach based on a series of detailed actions covering critical health issues such as rising chronic diseases (such as cancer, diabetes and obesity), increasing numbers of mental health cases and the lack of activity and recreation at youth level.  Some key health related policy documents which are used to guide this plan include:

  • Dept. of Health’s Connecting for Life: Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020
  •  The National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan 2013-2015
  • Tobacco Free Ireland, the National Substance Misuse Strategy,
  • The National Physical Activity Plan
  • The National Drug Strategy.

Healthy City – Stats and Facts

18% of the City’s total population in 2011 had a disability

There were 194,429 medical card holders in Cork City and County in 2012, the second highest total in the State.  The city and county had an average of 159 annual average incidence of treated problem alcohol use between 2008-2012 (Source: NDTRS).  The number of suicides in Cork City per 100,000 population has reduced from 20.1 in 2006 to 10.9 in 2011. The rates for females are 3.0, while the rates for males are significantly higher at 18.7, but have steadily decreased from 37.6 in 2006 to 27.8 in 2010. In the period from 2007 to 2011, there were 4,891 recorded cancer cases (including non-melanoma skin cancer) in Cork City and 3,583 invasive cancer cases (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). The greatest number of cancers occurred in the 65 – 74 year age group.

In 2011 there were 21,098 persons living with a disability in Cork City, representing 18% of the city’s total population, significantly higher than the State average (13%) and a 41% increase since 2006. There are higher numbers of people living with a disability in the four RAPID designated areas. Cannabis was the most commonly used illegal drug in Cork City in 2012, with 182 recorded persons accessing treatment for this drug. There were 111 recorded persons accessing treatment for opiates in the city and 73 for benzodiazepine.


[1] The Department of Health’s Government Policy Healthy Ireland: A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025