THE government needs to tackle the housing crisis and poor broadband connectivity to ensure that cities like Cork continue to grow.
That was the message from the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) at a business lunch in the city.
Major infrastructural projects like the Dunkettle interchange, the N28 route to Ringaskiddy and the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway were also highlighted as essential works by Barry O'Sullivan, the President of AmCham, which represents 32,000 people working at more than 150 multinationals in Ireland.
A huge number of these, including major pharmaceutical giants, tech companies and cyber-security trailblazers are based on Leeside.
Mr O'Sullivan said: “Cork’s business relationship with the US continues to thrive. There are now more than 32,000 people working at over 150 multinational companies across a range of sectors from med-tech, to pharma, gaming and cyber-security. Pfizer celebrates its 45th anniversary here this year. Since then, the region has become home to 7 out of 10 of the world’s top ten pharma companies. In addition, Bio Marin announced an investment of €37m in Shanabally just a few weeks ago."
He added that Cork is growing its capacity for investment.
“From the port to the amount of commercial development underway, this region is clearly open for business and ready to capture future waves of FDI.”
However, Mr O'Sullivan highlighted a number of threats to this growth, warning against complacency.
“We have never seen the competition for US business investment from other regions of the world as intense as it is today. It is essential that we constantly benchmark our competitiveness against the countries that currently compete with us; our international competitiveness ranking and our falling global university rankings need serious attention.
"Uncertain timescales and delays in planning decisions for key projects do us no favours. From solving the housing crisis to roll out of our National Broadband Plan, these are all things largely within our control - getting things done is supposed to be part and parcel of our global reputation.”
He added: “Our physical and digital capacity, our broadband still needs significant improvements if we are to enable further growth."
To ensure this growth continues, Mr O'Sullivan said the interest group will continue to push for the completion of works at Dunkettle as a matter of urgency, as well as continuing to support projects for the N28 to Ringaskiddy and the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway.