Cork needs to stop “acting like amateurs” when it comes to delivering the necessary infrastructure that makes the city a desirable place in which to live and work.
As the country goes to the polls today, Cork Chamber president Paula Cogan challenged the next government to aggressively and relentlessly improve the quality of life of its citizens.
She was speaking to more than 1,000 company leaders at the Chamber’s annual dinner in Cork City Hall last night.
Ms Cogan hit out at the lack of progress on important developments and said the region and country cannot afford to simply catch up with other countries.
“We must move swiftly and lead,” she said.
“The race is competitive, but are we training like amateurs?
“Timelines come and go. We talk about public transport but build no bus lanes. We set density targets but we don’t enhance construction viability. Cork slowly begins to sprawl.”
Ms Cogan said the Cork Metropolitan Area transport strategy contains €3.5bn for sustainable transport in Cork but said €500m is needed now “to deliver quick wins after a decade of under-investment”.
“Simple things make all the difference,” said Ms Cogan. “Traffic lights that change for pedestrians. Room on a footpath for a pram or wheelchair.
"Bikes and safe spaces to ride them. Buses and trains that arrive on time, and with a frequency that makes the timetable irrelevant.
“If we want to avoid playing like amateurs we need to stop acting like amateurs.
“Enough time has been spent making do with incremental change. We need game changers now.
“Let’s put it simply. If over the lifespan of the next national Government and current local Government, we do not comprehensively deliver cycle and public transport infrastructure, we have lost.”
At last night’s annual dinner Irish Distillers was named the Cork Company of the Year for driving the global renaissance of Irish whiskey.
In this report, we attributed comments during a speech at an annual dinner by Cork Chamber president Paula Cogan, which criticised Cork City Council over the provision of infrastructure.Ms. Cogan made no such reference to the city council, and the error was introduced to the story at the editing stage. We apologise to Ms. Cogan and Cork City Council for this inaccuracy.