Group to oppose Cork brewery plan


Construction of a museum containing equipment from the country’s oldest brewery will form part of a €150million redevelopment of the Beamish and Crawford site in Cork, beginning later this year.

An Bord Pleanala inspectors have given Heineken Ireland and Bam Construction the green light for the ambitious project, which includes an events centre, cinemas, retail, offices and student accommodation housed in seven buildings on an historic four acre site.

As part of the plans, a museum containing old brewing equipment will be located within the 17th Century Counting House building with its mock Tudor facade, which will be preserved as a protected structure.

Construction, which incorporates a new pedestrian bridge linking the Beamish site to St FinBarre’s Cathedral is expected to begin this year, as developers consider a number of conditions attached by An Bord Pleanala.

The National Conservation and Heritage Group, who appealed Cork City Council’s decision to grant permission for the development, plan to lodge a petition against the plans to the European Parliament. Spokesman Damien Cassidy said the decision, which was not expected until February, was a breach of the democratic process.

“They made this decision on the 23rd of December but failed to notify us, the appellants. It’s not good enough that we knew nothing of it,” he said.

Up to 300 jobs could be created over a three year construction phase, but Mr Cassidy said if heritage sites of national importance are bartered in exchange for the economy then ‘nothing is sacred.‘

“I sympathise with the people of Cork and I realise these jobs are badly needed. But this worries me, it means that sites of national importance countrywide could be destroyed in exchange for present day jobs,” he said.

The plan will open up South Main Street as a shopping and entertainment area, with an 6,000 seat events centre fronting onto the River Lee, replacing the Beamish storage tankers and part of a car park currently on site.

A Vintner’s Federation spokesman said the fact that brewing of stout on the site pre-dates Guinness presents a significant opportunity for tourism.

“The Guinness Hop Store in Dublin attracts more than a million visitors a year. Something along the lines of stout brewing would be a very important aspect of this development as a successful tourist venture,” said Cork County chairman of the Vintner’s Federation of Ireland Con Dennehy.

Cork Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the development. The chamber's president John Mullins said the city would benefit from the development of a permanent events centre which could "enhance the region’s role as a premier conference and exhibition destination”.