25 September 2015
By Elaine Murphy
Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today urged the Government to address the critical need for infrastructure investment in the Cork region. At a recent meeting between Ibec’s Regional Executive Committee and elected representatives in Cork, a number of key challenges facing business in Cork were identified.
With the Government expected to publish a new capital expenditure plan next week, Ibec Cork Regional Director Peter O’Shaughnessy noted the need to establish Cork as a viable alternative to Dublin for businesses to set up. “The Government should improve the regional infrastructure and skills offering to make Cork an even more attractive location for business. We need national planning that delivers capital funding at both local and national level. A new Atlantic cities strategy can help to ensure complementary growth between Dublin and Cork in terms of size, infrastructure and population” said Mr O’Shaughnessy.
Mr O’Shaughnessy urged the Government to allocate an additional €1 billion for capital expenditure in Budget 2016 to address major infrastructure and investment deficits emerging across the economy. “Now is the time to capitalise on low interest rates to implement an ambitious capital investment plan that will secure growth for the Cork region.”
Mr O’Shaughnessy highlighted a number of major road projects for prioritisation over the next five years. These included the Dunkettle Interchange and N28 Cork to Ringaskiddy upgrade; the Cork to Limerick M20 motorway; the Mallow Northern Relief Road and the Macroom N22 bypass. He also identified the Cork to Waterford N25 road as a medium-term priority.
“While Cork is starting to feel the benefits of economic recovery, limited levels of capital investment over the past seven years have restricted the scale of the recovery for many businesses in the region. Overdue investment in infrastructure will pave the way to increased prosperity in the region” said Mr O’Shaughnessy.
“Investment in infrastructure is needed in order to unlock the full potential of the Cork region. We are not equipped with the necessary road, high speed broadband or environmental infrastructure to meet future demands. With ambitious infrastructure investment, the region can assert its position as a well connected, innovative hub for businesses to thrive” concluded Mr O’Shaughnessy.