CORK city needs to be expanded to take in the satellite towns to create a single city of 300,000 people under one local authority if it is to compete with Dublin, developer Owen O’Callaghan believes.
“If we are serious about marketing Cork and I am aware that much work has been done by the Chamber and others, we need to get real first.
“Extend the city boundary, create a marketable city population immediately by taking in the satellite towns for example, Blarney, Glanmire, Carrigtwohill, Passage West, Carrigaline, Douglas, Bishopstown and Ballincollig. Give us critical mass, 300,000 people, to work with and let the city authority run it. And better still while we are at it, go a step further and get a single authority to run the city and county,” O’Callaghan Properties managing director Owen O’Callaghan said.
Speaking at a Cork Chamber Business Breakfast held in association with the Irish Examiner Mr O’Callaghan said the development of the greater Cork area, to be as good as Dublin, is in our control. The infrastructure is in place, unlike the Docklands, he added.
Mr O’Callaghan said that by any general definition of the term, Cork is only a large town. The city population is about 117,000 and it has been mainly in decline for 20 odd years except for one small rise. He asked that given the changed economic climate, could we be guilty of holding the Docklands out as a kind of panacea for Cork?
“We are all a bit culpable, I think, largely because Docklands is a very exciting concept. But we should remember that, in reality, it will cost huge sums of money to create the infrastructure for the Docklands to happen, money that is not there and probably will not be there in the foreseeable future. Already the Lucan Luas and the Metro West have been dropped in Dublin, and in the minister’s constituency.
“It is right to plan for the Docklands and I am not saying there will not be any development there. There will be, especially on sites nearer to the city centre but I honestly don’t see the quantum of development originally envisaged being achieved or the time frame being anything like that outlined,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
He said the development of the Greater Cork area or the new Cork city is much more achievable, costs a lot less, is in our control and gives us the critical mass we need much more quickly.
“All we need is one local authority overall to run each county and that includes Dublin.
“The creation of four separate councils in Dublin in 1994 not only created massive replication but had local authorities competing with each other,” he said.
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