Regeneration of Cork is a vision of what the city is capable of in coming decades

If you need tangible evidence of how Cork City is regenerating then take a look at the close-to-complete Albert Quay office block next to City Hall. It signifies modernity, confidence and a vision about what the city is capable of undertaking over the coming decades.

Regeneration of Cork is a vision of what the city is capable of in coming decades

The go-ahead last week for the development of the Capitol Cinema site at the western end of the city centre is another marker about the momentum sweeping across town.

Aside from the direct construction jobs involved in completing the project, it will provide retail, office, and food hall energy to that side of the city. And after that?

The Beamish and Crawford conference centre offers a connecting infrastructure between the city centre and a university.

Its development would further boost the ability of Cork to attract more business and help enrich the urban environment further.

There is plenty beyond which gives confidence around investing and living around Cork.

On the eastern end of the city centre it seems like a huge opportunity exists to develop a waterfront residential and office complex that helps broaden the footprint of the city.

That too would help elevate the appeal of Cork to mobile global multinational investment.

There is no sign of a let up in the interest of global corporations examining the merits of Ireland as a location for investment.

Aside from the referrals available from successful blue-chip companies such as Apple, Google and Pfizer, there is evidence that Ireland retains key financial attractions for expanding companies.

Outside of Dublin, in particular, the cost of renting and buying apartments and houses remains close to if not below replacement value.

Irish locations are attractive.

Add to that the supports provided by Government and third-level colleges to provide an appealing package for fast-growing companies.

Of course plenty of hurdles remain to making Ireland a long-term sustainable and successful economic story.

Unemployment remains too high, especially when you calculate the net emigration that continues each year.

Infrastructure stress points are clear.

The flood waters affecting Cork in recent weeks are one example.

Growing pains at Dublin airport are another, as are the traffic problems evident at certain times on the M50 road around Dublin.

I see these as opportunities instead of threats.

Cork and Shannon airports have plenty of headroom to grow without spending much on physical buildings.

Water, road and other infrastructure projects would be labour intensive and net contributors to the economy.

Funding them requires imagination around tapping capital markets.

I remember Christmas of 2011 being a relatively subdued affair around Cork.

Too many people were out of work, many were planning a one-way trip abroad and those who did work were suffering not just pay cuts but increased taxes too.

Four years on that has changed significantly.

Keeping that sense of pragmatic optimism is the first and only responsibility any Government leading Ireland during 2016 must accept.

It would be one unforgivable mistake if the body politic is incapable of producing a progressive set of policies that keep the job creation dynamic in the private sector energised.

Each job created either takes someone off the dole or provides a fresh opportunity for school and university leavers.

It is too easy to allow the challenges of the period post 2009 slip in to a fog of ignorance. Next year the sacrifice of those intent on a Republic made one hundred years ago will be remembered.

It would be of value too to remember the sacrifice the young, middle aged and elderly citizens made after 2008 when they endured a huge surge in unemployment, rampant emigration and a collapsed economy.

But the hard yards made in the last six years will have long-term positive consequences for the Republic that needs to be acknowledged by all sides of the political divide.

Joe Gill is director of corporate broking at Goodbody Stockbrokers. His views are personal.

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