The IT giant which employs 3,000 people at its Cork base near Ballincollig is making preparations to relocate its executive briefing centre to the Greater London area to take advantage of the UK capital’s strong air links. Employees at the Cork centre showcase products to prospective clients.
EMC has an existing base in Brentford, which houses its UK headquarters and lies 15km from London’s largest airport, Heathrow. The Irish Examiner understands the team’s employees, which total fewer than 20, will be offered a chance to move to the UK in order to retain their position with the company.
Sources have indicated that the transition is likely to take place before the close of the year, although a spokesperson for EMC said it has no plans to relocate staff to the UK at present.
The plan to “de-emphasise” Cork as the Europe, Middle East and Africa executive briefing hub is not understood to call into question EMC’s broader commitment to its Cork operations.
It does, however, bring to the fore infrastructural concerns around transport links to the country’s second city.
A recent Cork Chamber survey revealed just 13% of satisfaction among companies with the destinations on offer from Cork Airport despite almost unanimous agreement of the importance of strong air connectivity.
Some 65% of respondents to the survey said that their company was either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the range of destinations served directly to and from the airport. At the time in April, the chamber identified the “critical need for action in terms of growing passenger routes and frequency from Cork Airport to ensure that businesses are confident in Cork as a location that is conducive to driving commercial growth”.
Fianna Fáil councillor Daithí Ó Donnabháin called for urgent action to be taken to address infrastructural deficits in the region and said the development is cause for major concern.
“The issues with accessibility, and in particular the airport, are now such that multinational companies are choosing to relocate jobs away from Cork. The message that this sends out to the multinational investment community is frightening.
“Much work is done by the IDA and others to attract such companies and we have a quality world-class workforce available in Cork but when companies have repeatedly expressed concerns with issues of infrastructure it behoves both government and local authorities to take heed.
“Clearly this is not being done in Cork, and I am extremely concerned that companies may not see Cork as a viable location to invest,” he said. A spokesperson for Cork Airport highlighted recent route announcements which have given it a shot in the arm after a period of turmoil which saw passenger numbers fall by more than 110,000 last year.
Earlier this week, Aer Lingus announced a route to Dusseldorf that will operate twice weekly from next May while CityJet will also operate an 18-flights-a-week service to London City Airport. The airport, however, does not offer transatlantic services and has no direct air link with Dublin which obliges visiting executives to travel by road or rail to Cork.