The news that work on Cork City’s long-awaited €73m events centre may begin this year must be welcomed. A funding agreement has been reached and the iconic project has, at last, achieved amber if not quite green light status. When completed — it seems possible to drop the “if completed” caveat — the centre should make a significant contribution to a badly-needed rejuvenation of Cork City.
Like many cities right across Europe, Cork faces challenges around sustaining the vibrancy all living cities and communities depend on. Like too many urban centres, Cork’s city centre can often seem unattractive and empty, especially outside of office hours. Many factors contribute to this, some within our control others beyond our control.
Everything from parking — scare and expensive — to flood management proposals — inadequate and ugly — contribute to undermining viability and attractiveness. The colonisation of suburbs once home to many families for student accommodation is another factor in this decline. The absence of plausible, reliable, public transport services from satellite towns and villages is another.
This deal offers the hope that the city may finally, after much confusion and broken promises, get a modern events centre. This would be hugely positive but it cannot be seen as anything other than one piece of the huge jigsaw needed to restore a city languishing at a challenging crossroads.