First black man elected to Cork City Council ‘paves the way for future generations’

The first black man to be elected as a Cork city councilor has said he hopes to pave the way for future generations.

Honore Kamegni was one of several candidates of immigrant origin who triumphed in local elections in Ireland.

This father of two, originally from Cameroon, has lived in Ireland since 2002.

He said his work as a mail carrier in the Douglas and Rochestown areas for 14 years stood him in good stead when campaigning, which began more than a year before Election Day on June 7.

“It’s true, I used to be a postman in my constituency, so I know the people, I know the problems,” he told the PA news agency, sporting an Irish hoodie and a Green Party badge.

“So when I went back to most of them, they remembered me and were very happy to see me on my feet and to be able to continue serving them in a different field this time.”

When asked how he was seen as almost famous in his local area when he worked as a postman, he said: “Whatever you do in life, you should give 200% if you can.

“I was just doing my job properly and correctly. Thanks to my hard work, it has paid off and I want to thank all the beautiful people in my constituency who trusted me.” He added: “The survey was hard, very difficult, very long; I have been canvassing for 14 months, since April 2023.

“So I knocked on 15,000 doors because I told myself that the goal is to talk to every resident in my constituency, get to know them and for them to get to know me.

“I think to represent people they have to know you and you have to know them.”

The Green Party councilor said he always supported “green” policies and became an active member of the party in 2022.

Honore Kamegni at the Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork, Ireland.  He has been elected to Cork City Council and will be its first black councillor.  Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Honore Kamegni at the Nemo Rangers GAA club in Cork, Ireland. He has been elected to Cork City Council and will be its first black councillor. Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Asked if he felt there was a backlash to climate change policies while campaigning, he said: “I have people questioning Green Party policy, that’s true, and they have a right to do that.

“We live in a democratic society, so if they’re not happy with something, that’s why I’m there. “To get their feedback on any problems they have and try to find a better solution to the problems they have.” Kamegni, who spoke out about the abuse she received on social media during her election campaign, said the number of candidates from migrant backgrounds who have been elected is a sign that Irish people are “rejecting all hate” online.

“It’s a good sign, it’s a sign that Ireland is now part of the global world and Cork is also part of the global world.

“It’s a sign that people are rejecting all the hate, all the hostility that exists online. We should not divide ourselves, on the contrary, we need to be a team.

“Thank you to all those who trusted me. I will continue to work very, very hard to continue serving you and I want my election to serve as a path for the future generation.”