A national innovation food hub to be based in Cork will be announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed today, writes Juno McEnroe.
The Taoiseach will also emphasise the need to create 80,000 jobs and 60,000 homes in Cork City by 2040, future projects, and a desire to reverse a decline in the city’s population.
The national food hub will help create new products and feed into the agri-food sector, third-level research, and help diversify Irish goods in advance of Brexit. Building on the state-of the-art facility will commence next year at a cost of €2m, while €9m will be pumped into the centre.
The Government will announce it will be based in Cork and there will be a strong emphasis on dairy production, such as cheese products, at the facility.
Aside from providing local employment, the food hub will provide intellectual and technical expertise to help create products to appeal to newer regions targeted by the Government, including China, the Middle East, and Russia.
The Taoiseach will lead a special Cabinet meeting in Cork today. Health Minister Simon Harris will update colleagues on the implementation of the all-party Sláinte health reform plan.
A new implementation office and chair will be announced to examine the separation of private practice from public hospitals and its impact, while there will also be consultation on the alignment of hospital groups and community health organisations.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney will update colleagues on Brexit, including the likely decision not to move onto the next phase of negotiations with the UK at an EU summit later this month. Ongoing communications with London will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting, being held on the grounds of UCC, as well as an update on Ireland’s bid to host the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority.
Mr Coveney will stress the importance of Cork, Kerry, and Waterford among areas, outlining growth in the pharmaceutical sector but also the need for connectivity.
Mr Varadkar will also address business leaders at a Cork Chamber meeting in Páirc Uí Chaoimh this morning, his first major engagement in the city since entering office. He will discuss the budget, projected job growth for the city, and Budget 2018.
He will reference new airlines and routes from Cork Airport and how Munster is now a key destination for visitors from the US.
This article first appeared on the Irish Examiner.