Representatives of the construction industry have written to all Cork TDs and Senators to warn about ongoing frustrations about the lack of progress on major infrastructure projects in the region.
The Cork branch of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has raised a concern about "significant delays in the procurement, planning and funding approval process across a number of projects".
Specifically, the delays in delivering the Dunkettle Interchange, the M28 and the event centre are cited in the letter, while CIF representatives have also hit out the relative lack of funding for Cork projects under the Urban and Rural Regeneration Funds, as well as other public funding streams for the provision of social housing.
They are planning to brief local TDs in September on the impact of the issues and have implored them "to ensure that decisions made at board level at semi-state agencies or within government departments are more favourable to public investment in this region".
"Cork city and county, with a population of approximately 550,000, is by far the largest concentration of population in Ireland outside of the Dublin region," CIF state in the letter.
It is extremely frustrating to see consistent delays in all types of projects for Cork at a time when our infrastructure needs critical upgrading.
In a separate statement to the Irish Examiner, Conor O'Connell, the regional director for the CIF, said that the ongoing delays with several major projects are threatening to undermine the projected growth of Cork and the wider region as outlined in the government's Project Ireland 2040 plan.
The plan envisions Cork, Limerick and Galway as growing at twice the rate of Dublin in the next 20 years.
"To achieve this, we would need to see a significant increase in investment in infrastructure today to have any chance of achieving a balanced Ireland," Mr O'Connell said.
"In fact, we have seen a slowdown in the delivery of infrastructure in the region. The Government has committed significant funding to this area but it is being stymied by bureaucracy, Ireland’s inadequate judicial review system and our antiquated public sector procurement system.
"Over the last 20 years, there has been very significant population and employment growth in the South-West region and private sector investment has seen a buoyant period of activity in Cork city, in particular, with many exciting projects commenced or in the pipeline.
"However, the industry and other business partners in the region are extremely concerned about the slow pace of the delivery of infrastructural projects which will help the region grow even further."
If major projects, like the Dunkettle interchange upgrade, are not fast-tracked, it will impede further growth in the region, Mr O'Connell added.
"Strategic infrastructural projects such as Dunkettle, the M28 and the events centre underpin further private sector investment and at this stage, a number of very significant private sector projects are delayed or facing delays as a result of stalled public sector infrastructural investment," he said.
Even short delays of these projects today mean future cost overruns and exponential increases in future completions dates.
"The Government and most business organisations, and economist in Ireland have highlighted the need to invest in public infrastructure. However, delays on the ground in our region have reached a chronic situation."