Port move ‘critical’ for Cork’s development

THE Port of Cork, which is looking for a €60 million package to move out of the city centre, has been urged to keep with the process to ensure the multibillion-euro development of the Cork docklands moves forwards.

The plea was made by Joe Gantly, the president of Cork Chamber.

He said the docklands development will help Cork develop as a key international city and added that it has the potential to dramatically change the city.

But he said the movement of the port downstream and the building of three bridges in the area will be critical of the development, and added that it cannot be achieved without the support of the government.

Mr Gantly, speaking yesterday at the Cork Chamber annual conference on the potential of Cork, stressed the need for a sustained and targeted development of Cork as the “key regional gateway”, based on its natural competitive advantages in terms of scale and critical mass.

“To move Cork forward and to remain competitive, we need a strong government with the conviction to deliver key projects such as the National Development Plan, Transport 21 and the National Spatial Strategy,” he said.

“Balanced regional development and support for the development of a counter balance to the east coast is a stated government priority. In this regard the Cork Docklands project represents a significant opportunity for government to implement and deliver on this commitment.”

Mr Gantly’s comments were also highlighted by the conference’s keynote speaker, journalist Matt Cooper, who said Cork is faced with the major challenge of not being overtaken by Belfast as the second city on the island of Ireland.

“Cork needs to do more in promoting itself and get what’s due to it from national government,” he said.

Dr Michael Murphy, president of University College Cork, spoke of the significant contribution the university makes to the economic, social and cultural development of the region. He emphasised the importance of partnerships between the university and stakeholders in the region.

“The future economic and social prosperity of this region depends upon the combined efforts of academia, business, state agencies, community groups and local government to adapt and innovate,” he said.

“By harnessing and building on our diverse strengths we can establish this region as a centre of excellence and innovation on the international stage.”

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