Sanctuary Runners deliver a giant ‘thank you’ to Lord Mayor

Members of Sanctuary Runners presenting the card to Cork Lord Mayor, Cllr Kieran McCarthy. (Pic: Alicja Sweeney)

Sanctuary Runners, the award-winning Solidarity-Through-Sport movement founded in Cork in 2018, presented a very special ‘Thank You’ card to the outgoing Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr Kieran McCarthy on Tuesday morning.

The card, measuring 4ft in height, was presented in recognition of the Lord Mayor’s support for their movement during his year in office as the city’s first citizen.

Making the early morning delivery were a team of four Sanctuary Runners including Abdikadir Ibrahim, Annemarie Sheehan, Sibusisiwe Mhlophe and Graham Clifford – the organisation’s founder, who resides in Fermoy.

The card contains the names of some of the 300-strong Sanctuary Runner team taking part in this Sunday’s Cork City Marathon. And while it also thanks Cork City Council for its support over the years, it also makes a request to the city of Cork to continue to be that ‘Safe Harbour’ for those seeking safety and sanctuary


Graham Clifford explained why it was important for the Sanctuary Runners to thank the Lord Mayor and the City Council.

“Since day one back in 2018 Cork City Council has been so supportive of our efforts to bring people in the city together – no matter their nationality, legal status, religion, culture, gender or sexual orientation. They have championed us, assisted us and promoted us,” he said.

“And in Cllr Kieran McCarthy we really have a Lord Mayor who understands the importance of community integration. The history of this beautiful city, which the Lord Mayor knows far better than most, is one of transition, of people coming and going, of influences from afar marrying with traditional ones. In uncertain times that unwavering support for decency, respect and solidarity for all is of such paramount importance. We wanted to say a massive thank you to the Lord Mayor and the Council for all their support,” he said.

Sanctuary Runners has grown from one group in Cork City in 2018 to over 40 across Ireland today and will have 300 people from across 30 countries running in the Cork Marathon this weekend.

On receiving his ‘Thank You’ card, the Lord Mayor said: “The Sanctuary Runners movement brings people together with a focus on health, community integration and wellbeing. Not only are they an incredible community group but their goals and values weave perfectly into the human aspect of the Cork City Development Plan. The Sanctuary Runners embody health, community, integration and wellbeing and demonstrate how Cork is a City of Welcomes. I’ve always loved engaging with them as they are so positive. The ‘thank you’ card is hugely appreciated”.

To find out more about Sanctuary Runners visit