Capital plan a ‘historic vote of confidence’ in Cork’s future

Business leaders welcome proposed investment in docklands and public transport

Business leaders in Cork have hailed the Government's €116 billion National Development Plan as "a historic vote of confidence" in the city's future economic significance to Ireland.

Cork Chamber president Bill O'Connell said the Project Ireland 2040 strategy, which sets out planned infrastructural development to accommodate an anticipated population rise of one million over the next 25 years, bought into the vision of Cork as "a real complementary centre of growth to Dublin".

Mr O'Connell singled out the Government's commitment to the M20 Cork-Limerick motorway to connect the Atlantic Economic Corridor as particularly important to both business and communities in Cork and Limerick.

But while he welcomed the commitment to invest €200 million in Cork’s public transport through the Bus Connects Programme, Mr O’Connell questioned whether this was sufficient to provide a public transport system to transform Cork into a sustainable city for further growth.


He also welcomed the commitment to provide funding to help develop the Cork Docklands. “We are confident that the €2 billion urban development fund will help facilitate the docklands into new mixed-use urban quarters, linked via the Eastern Gateway Bridge.”


The Cork Business Association also welcomed the Government's plans with chief executive Lawrence Owens noting they recognised Cork's role nationally in addressing the current imbalance associated with the overdevelopment of the Dublin region.

Mr Owens welcomed the stated aim in the National Planning Framework to grow Cork’s population by 125,000 over the next 22 years marking an increase in the city’s population by almost 6,000 a year.

He also welcomed the linking of the National Planning Framework with the €116 billion National Development, hailing it as a transformative moment for the future planning and development of Cork through aligning key infrastructural priorities with exchequer funding.

“The key to securing these ambitious plans for the successful growth of Cork city is, of course, implementation and it would appear that for the first time there is a concerted and deliberate attempt to ensure this happens.”

"Funding for the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway, the N28 route to Ringaskiddy, N22 Macroom to Ballyvourney, the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme and the relocation of the Port of Cork are particularly welcomed and now, appear more realistic rather than aspirational.

“From a social and cultural dimension the commitment to the Cork Events Centre, investment in new hospitals, as well as funding for the Crawford Art Gallery, UCC, CIT and Tyndall are hugely positive”.

The association's president Philip Gillivan said an improved public transport system would have a knock-on effect on the ability of the market to deliver housing along these transport corridors as well as give an impetus to creating more jobs in the city centre.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times