The absence of transatlantic flights from Cork Airport is costing the county jobs, the developer of a huge office campus at the centre of Cork’s latest jobs boost has warned.
John Cleary, the managing director of JCD Commercial Property Developments, was speaking as US cloud computing firm VCE announced 150 software engineering jobs over the next two years at a new global research and development hub at JCD’s massive City Gate Park in Mahon.
“I believe the only challenge facing Cork now is accessibility,” Mr Cleary said. “We need transatlantic flights, and more links to Europe. I get that feedback directly from client companies. If it was easier to get here, I’m sure there’d be more companies coming back here. We must focus on making it easier to get here. As a location, we need to prioritise it.”
Several US-based VCE executives jetted into Shannon Airport and travelled by road to Cork to attend the jobs announcement with Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton and Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock.
Mr Cleary’s firm built City Gate and City Gate Park, one of the country’s largest office campuses, where just over 2,000 people work. The company is poised to break ground on a €50m nine-storey, 2,000-worker capacity office block on the city’s Albert Quay within weeks. Mr Clear said: “Cork is a fantastic location and has proved itself time and time again, with companies like EMC and Apple. We have a very talented skill base with fantastic third-level universities producing the graduates companies like this want, but access must be prioritised.”
Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock said there is no regulatory impediment to a transatlantic route out of Cork.
The comments came as a new high-level stakeholder body set up to boost the development of Cork Airport met for the first time yesterday.
The 15-member Cork Airport Development Council (CADC), established by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and chaired by DAA chairman Pádraig Ó Ríordáin, includes representatives of Fáilte Ireland, Cork Chamber, EMC, the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce and Ballydoyle Stables in Co Tipperary.
“The region is not getting as many overseas visitors as it should, and we intend to work with tourism agencies and stakeholders to help grow that business for the benefit of all players within the region,” Mr Ó Ríordáin said. “More than 1.2 million people live within a 90-minute drive of the airport and the connectivity that the airport delivers is essential for the future growth of the region.”
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