The 51-metre swing-span bridge, estimated to cost €80m, will be the largest of its kind in Europe. It would unlock the entire south docks area.
Environment Minister John Gormley confirmed that funding decisions relating to the crucial infrastructure project have been deferred due to the collapse in the public finances. Lord Mayor Dara Murphy warned that refusing to authorise the comparatively small level of funding for the design team for the bridge could undermine the council’s plans.
The council has already spent more than twice that amount on a preliminary design and seeking planning approval for the bridge. A public hearing into the land acquisition has already been held and a decision from An Bórd Pleanála is expected within weeks.
When jobs are being lost in a recession, it is crucial to generate projects that provide employment, especially when the project has the potential to rejuvenate the economy of the whole area. This is so much more preferable to paying those same people unemployment assistance.
The Cork Docklands project is estimated to be worth €10bn. Inevitably in recessionary times, funding cuts are necessary, but it is worth remembering that the IFSC project began at the height of the last recession and undoubtedly contributed significantly to the employment that helped to lift the country out of those straitened times.