Ronan Murray has been elected President of Cork Chamber of Commerce at their AGM at The Imperial Hotel.
Addressing assembled members at the AGM, new Cork Chamber President, Ronan Murray, Partner M&A (Strategy and Transactions) at EY Ireland spoke about opportunities to enhance the reputation of the city region as a place for business.
“Cork continues to be a source of significant investment as small, medium, large indigenous companies seek to grow and expand. That coupled with continued FDI investment sends a very positive message on the future success of the city and beyond.
"Cork has a unique opportunity to build on recent successes by harnessing the right ingredients that will continue to encourage companies to strategically invest and grow in this region. In short, to become the investment city of choice on this island.
“The Government, Taoiseach, Ministers, TDs, local elected representatives, and local authorities have played a pivotal role in ensuring our economy has remained on track despite the prevailing uncertainties and challenges that the pandemic has presented.
"It’s important to recognise the achievements of this government over the past number of years. Although we are working from a positive position as the fastest-growing city region in Ireland, the associated economic growth and demand in housing and sustainable travel needs to be managed and planned for carefully to safeguard and enhance Cork’s attractiveness to live, work, visit and invest in.”
Reflecting members’ top concerns around the availability of housing, Mr Murray continued: “We are faced with a twin challenge of building housing supply to meet demand and retrofitting existing stock to meet climate action targets by 2030. Cork Chamber reiterates its call for viable and adequate provision of housing close to the city centre to allow for compact growth. A progressive environment that facilitates the viability of apartment living is also required.”
Mr Murray went on to describe how Cork has a real opportunity to build its reputation as a sustainable and accessible city region, further attracting inward investment. Citing the €600 million NTA investment in Bus Connects Cork and in the commuter rail network, he said: “All of this progress is critical to achieving the 15-minute city concept and prioritising access to Cork city centre maximising benefits for retail, leisure, and employment.
“We urge the government to continue to support sustainable infrastructure projects that focus on economic and environmental resilience. Timelines around delivery must be maintained to keep up the momentum. Critically, an effective planning system is also needed for a fighting chance of delivering on the NDP.”
However, he cautioned that infrastructural changes and policy alone will not be sufficient to support a shift to sustainability. Commenting on the space for leadership in climate action at all levels of society, he said: “A behavioural and mindset change for of all of us will be essential. Now is the time to move from words to action.
"Considerable co-operation and co-ordination will be required to ensure we deliver on our city-wide ambition to be a climate-neutral and smart city by 2030. Cork’s business community has a huge role to play in transitioning to a low carbon economy to enhance our energy security, boost competitiveness, foster innovation, improve quality of life, grow businesses in areas such as offshore wind, hydrogen, sustainable agriculture, low-carbon construction, as well as creating sustainable employment opportunities in Cork that will ensure more balanced regional development.”
Concluding the AGM, Mr Murray expressed thanks to outgoing President, Paula Cogan and board members John McAllen, Seamus Downey, and DC Cahalane.
The president welcomed incoming board members Catherine Sheridan, Richard Morrissey, David Swinburne, and Fiona Kearney.