Cork city in running to play host to National Diaspora Centre

Cork is bidding to be named European Green Capital 2017.

Also, in a second planned boost, the city is in line to host the National Diaspora Centre.

Cork City Council took the decision more than a month ago to seek the Green Capital title and is now finalising a proposal, Energy Cork vice-chairman Donal Kissane confirmed.

It is envisaged the award would see Cork recognised as a sustainable, green place to work, and could act as a significant incentive for attracting businesses to the region, said Mr Kissane, whose organisation is a partner in the process.

“We’ve been working on it for some time. The idea has been around since [the Global Cork Economic Forum] last year to do something along the lines of the City of Culture in the energy sector,” he said.

“The bid is definitely going in and we would be relatively confident of ticking the boxes and putting the case forward for Cork.” The submission to join the ranks of previous winners such as Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Nantes must be presented to the European Commission by October 20, after which a shortlist will be drawn up.

Meanwhile, the city’s bid to house the €15m national visitor centre charting Ireland’s emigration history has taken a step forward.

Cork’s National Diaspora Centre bid, backed by dance superstar Michael Flatley, has qualified from the first stage of the bidding process.

It is vying for national funding to develop the centre against bids from Limerick, Offaly, and Dún Laoghaire.

The bid is now backed by four bodies — the city and county councils, the Port of Cork, and University College Cork — and has now been invited to engage in a national dialogue stage before the funding is awarded.

Five expressions of interest from various riverside property owners, including the Port of Cork, are in the running to house the centre, which could attract up to 500,000 visitors a year.

The Port of Cork released graphics yesterday of how the centre could look if it was developed on their historic bonded warehouses and Custom House site on the city quays.

It would also include an iconic memorial to rival Dublin’s Spire and a new footbridge link to Kent Station.

The proposed national centre is a centrepiece of Cork City Council’s three-year tourism strategy.

They say it will use hi-tech interactive displays to trace and explain the rich and complex story of the Irish.

University College Cork also has plans to develop a national centre for genetic and genealogy research on the final site.


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