11 March 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Delivery of world-class infrastructure vital to quality of life in Cork – Ibec
Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has said that Government must seize the opportunities of the unprecedented wealth-generating capacity of the Irish economy and deliver an ambitious programme of world class public services and infrastructure development.
Following its submission to the mid-term review of the National Development Plan (NDP), Ibec said that decades of chronic underinvestment in key infrastructure is threatening to undermine the prospects for economic recovery for the Cork region. Furthermore, such underinvestment has catalysed quality-of-life challenges in areas such as housing, environment, health, childcare, and commuting, each of which are determining factors in regional competitiveness and prosperity.
Among some of the key recommendations of the Ibec Cork Regional Executive Committee include:
· Expedite delivery of strategic road infrastructure projects, including the Dunkettle Interchange, the N28 Cork to Ringaskiddy and the Cork Northern Ring Road.
· Complete the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway and upgrade the N25 Cork to Rosslare, to enhance inter-regional connectivity and achieve better regional balance.
· Implement the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy including the proposed Urban Light Rail.
· Deliver the right housing and tenure mix (e.g., apartment focus, rental sector, ageing population, students, social housing, affordable housing etc).
· Develop the Docklands (City Docks and Tivoli), to support major urban regeneration.
· Provide increased Exchequer support to Cork Airport for a period of at least 5-years to preserve international connectivity.
· Increase investment in tourism infrastructure, to stimulate demand and build upon the sector’s potential.
· Enhance investment in future Port developments and expansion and ensure the Port of Cork has the capacity to deal with increased economic activity and deliver offshore projects.
· Continue to invest in healthcare institutions in Cork to ensure a world class health care service.
· Accelerate the rollout of the National Broadband Plan and ensure a supportive regulatory environment for the successful rollout of 5G.
· Increase capital investment in the further and higher education sector.
· Revitalise town centres to ensure their future viability and underpin recovery across the region.
Ibec Senior Regional Executive Helen Leahy said: “An ‘NDP Plus’ programme of investment is required to provide infrastructure to support better lives and better business. This programme will be a key enabler to ensure Cork fulfils its potential as a modern city of scale with strong local, regional, national and international connectivity. Through ambitious investment, it must ensure that Cork remains one of the most attractive locations for FDI and continues to provide the skills, talent and quality-of-life that draw these vital employers to Cork.
“Traffic congestion caused by insufficient road capacity and public transport deficiencies risk undermining Cork’s growth and impacts its ability to attract and retain staff and compete for investment. The timescale for the delivery of vital projects is taking far too long. The priority must be to get projects delivered much more rapidly. Accelerated delivery of infrastructure projects must be a central plank of the National Development Plan review process.
“The combined potential of our regional cities is key in creating a counterbalance to Dublin and achieving balanced regional development. Improved connectivity between Cork, Limerick and Waterford is essential. Road projects, such as the M20, must be fast-tracked along with other key public transport projects, including light rail.”