6 July 2018
By Elaine Murphy
Cork Seeks Stimulus Package as Brexit Looms – Limerick Precedent Being Cited
The Mayors of Cork City and County have joined forces to lobby Government for a multi-million euro stimulus package for Cork over the next 3-5 years.
City Lord Mayor Mick Finn and Cork County Mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy, who are both recently elected, met during their first days in office to discuss the year ahead.
Both Mayors are to seek a joint meeting with Cork’s Ministers, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney, Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality, David Stanton and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly. The Mayors will be seeking the Cork Ministers to facilitate a meeting with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance.
The basis for the Mayors’ case for a stimulus package is that the two councils in Cork are preparing to re-emerge as two brand new entities following reconfiguration. The stimulus package would be to facilitate the transition process and to forge a fresh approach to driving the economic performance of the region.
In a statement, the Mayors stated:
We both want Cork to prosper and grow and ensure that both councils can hit the ground running when legislation is enacted. As was the case with the reconfiguration of the Limerick councils – with the support of then Finance Minister Michael Noonan – we are calling on Government and our local Ministers Coveney, Creed and Stanton to provide Cork with a multi-million euro stimulus package to ensure we can thrive in the boundary reconfiguration and can operate effectively right from the off. We also call on all of Cork’s TDs and senators to row in behind this initiative.
We are pleased that Limerick received a multi-million euro cash injection from the then Government. We see no reason why Cork should be disadvantaged.
A lot of energy has been and will be expended on delivering the Boundary Commission recommendations. Cork must, therefore, be assisted in the roll-out and operation of the new jurisdictions so it can be the counterbalance to Dublin as designed under the 2040 Development Plans.
Cork will also be one of Ireland’s most vulnerable counties for Brexit in the Republic given its dependence on the quality food and drink industries. We need to be in a position to cope to meet this and other challenges.
Both Mayors stressed the need to promote and develop Cork to overseas markets and investors. Cork has such a broad range of tourism and economic assets that are unique to the region; ranging from tourist attractions and amenities to marine leisure and islands, to its unique culture and heritage. Its quality of life offering is second to none, and has been recognised as being a key factor for growing employment and investment. Cork needs to continue its efforts to promote further investment in the region’s bio-pharma, agri food, financial and technology sectors.
The City and County are joined at the hip. Our two councils will, of course, operate separately but our joint focus must be on Cork as a driver of the region. We call on the Government who instigated the changes in the first place to now back the City and County Councils with the injection of extra funding to bed-in the two new authorities and to facilitate new initiatives.
Mayors Murphy and Finn called on the Cabinet to immediately announce the timeframe for legislation to enact the changes.
The timing will be tight in light of next summer’s local elections so this complex legislation needs to go through the Oireachtas so we can get on with it.