Cork Chamber calls on Government to provide clarity on infrastructure projects

Bill O’Connell says state must not hinder regional development by failing to deliver

Cork Chamber President Bill O’Connell quoted one of his predecessors, Charles Stewart Parnell, at the chamber’s annual dinner. Photograph: iStock

The Government must provide clarity and certainty on when it proposes to deliver on a number of key infrastructure projects for Cork identified in its strategic plan Ireland 2024, according to Cork Chamber President Bill O'Connell.

Mr O’Connell told the annual dinner of Cork Chamber, which this year marks its 200th anniversary, that the state must not hinder the progress of Cork by failing to deliver on key investments in road, rail and port infrastructure for the city and region.

And he recalled the famous speech by one of his predecessors in the office of President of Cork Chamber, Charles Stewart Parnell, suggesting that the state might well heed the Irish Parliamentary Party leader's 1885 advice.

“Our past President Parnell said ‘No man has the right to say to his country ‘Thus far shalt thou go and no further’. Today I say clearly that the state must equally not say to the business community ‘Thus far shalt thou go and no further’.


"We need absolute clarity and transparency on the delivery timelines for all projects in the capital plan and Ireland 2040 and we need them now," Mr O'Connell told an audience which included Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cork South Central TD, Simon Coveney.

Mr O’Connell said with Ireland 2040, the government had finally acknowledged Cork’s potential with the plan also receiving the endorsement from the private sector with construction and investment promising an additional million square feet of office space and 10,000 jobs over the next couple of years.

But the Government should remember Ireland and Cork exist on a global stage and the Government needed to act with vision and urgency to deliver on a whole range of projects from road and rail and bridges to housing and apartments and public parks, he said at the weekend.

“The plans that are set out in Ireland 2040 offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to change Cork over the next 20 years but if they stay in print alone, they are nothing but aspirations,” Mr O’Connell said.

Meanwhile, innovative company Zenith Technologies won the Cork Company of the Year Award 2019, run by Cork Chamber in association with Vodafone Ireland, with founder and executive chairman Brendan O'Regan paying tribute to his colleagues for their hard work in securing the honour.

“This award reflects an overnight success twenty years in the making and is a tremendous recognition of the effort and quality of the whole team at Zenith Technologies” said Mr O’Regan whose innovative software company is set to achieve sales of over €100 million for its products this year.

“As a Cork founded company and Irish multinational, it is truly an honour to be considered in the same league as previous winners and to be celebrated in our home city. I’d like to thank all my colleagues for making this happen and I look forward to seizing new opportunities that undoubtedly will arise from receiving this award.”

The Cork Emerging Company of the Year 2019 Award went to Verifish which supports sustainability and safety in seafood while the Cork SME Company of the Year 2019 when to O'Flynn Medical who offer the sale, rental, service and decontamination of a wide range of quality medical equipment.

Meanwhile the Cork Large Company of the Year 2019 went to Wisetek, a global service provider of IT recycling, manufacturing and data sanitisation services, which was established by Sean Sheehan in Cork in 2007 and only this week opened a base in the UK.

Congratulating Zenith Technologies and the various other award winners, Mr O’Connell said the Cork Company of the Year Awards provide a wonderful platform for Cork’s most pioneering businesses to celebrate success.

“It has been a fantastic journey for all of us on the judging panel over the last few months, getting to meet an impressive and diverse mix of companies who are leading the way in innovating, transforming our business landscape, leaving a lasting mark on both Cork and the world,” he said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times