Cork Chamber to Varadkar: ‘Give us a minister to drive growth in Cork’

Cork Chamber to Varadkar: ‘Give us a minister to drive growth in Cork’
Pictured at the Cork Chamber's Dublin Dinner held in association with EY, Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO; Paula Cogan, Cork Chamber Vice President; An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD; and Bill O’Connell, Cork Chamber President.

THE government has been urged to create a Minister for City Regions to oversee the delivery of crucial projects such as a light rail transport system for Cork.

Cork Chamber President, Bill O'Connell.Pic John Sheehan
Cork Chamber President, Bill O'Connell.Pic John Sheehan

Cork Chamber President Bill O’Connell, addressing a meeting of 600 people from across Ireland’s business, political and diplomatic landscape in Dublin last night, said a new Government minister was needed to drive the predicted growth in Cork and other cities across the country.

He told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that Cork must become a “real complement” to Dublin and a new Ministerial position was needed to ensure the Government delivered on its Ireland 2040 pledges.

“Let’s do it, let’s make it happen,” Mr O’Connell said. 

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make Cork a global destination. We need investment commitments to get underway and deliver on Government’s 2040 vision.”

Pictured at the Cork Chamber's Dublin Dinner held in association with EY, Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO; An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD; Tanaiste Simon Coveney TD and Bill O’Connell, Cork Chamber President. NO REPRO FEE
Pictured at the Cork Chamber's Dublin Dinner held in association with EY, Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO; An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD; Tanaiste Simon Coveney TD and Bill O’Connell, Cork Chamber President. NO REPRO FEE

Mr Varadkar said ‘Cork’s economic story is one that we should be proud to tell worldwide’ as he praised the region as a leader in the areas of pharma/biopharma, manufacturing, ICT, financial services, and food and maritime industries. 

“For Ireland to succeed we need Cork to succeed,” he said. 

He believes there is still considerable potential to develop further and highlighted projects the Government will prioritise.

“Our ambition is to build an Atlantic Corridor with a high-quality road network linking Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo so all roads will no longer lead to Dublin,” he said. 

“This includes the M20 Cork-Limerick Road; the N8/M25 Dunkettle Interchange; the N22 Ballyvourney Macroom; the N28 Cork to Ringaskiddy; the Northern Relief Road Mallow; the N25 Carrigtwohill to Midleton, and the Cork-Dublin rail line.”

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Mr Varadkar said regional economic policy will promote the sustainable growth of Cork. 

“Many projects have already been earmarked within Cork including a National Food Innovation Hub at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Moorepark, and the expansion of the Tyndall National Institute,” he said. 

“The new €1 billion Rural and €2 billion Urban Redevelopment and Regeneration Funds will be game changers for communities and groups across the country and in the county of Cork.”

Frank Boland receives Outstanding Contribution to Business Award 2018 at Cork Chamber's Dublin Dinner held in association with EY. Pictured are Conor Healy, Cork Chamber; Paula Cogan, Cork Chamber Vice President; Frank Boland; Bill O’Connell, Cork Chamber President; John Higgins, Managing Partner EY Cork.Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Frank Boland receives Outstanding Contribution to Business Award 2018 at Cork Chamber's Dublin Dinner held in association with EY. Pictured are Conor Healy, Cork Chamber; Paula Cogan, Cork Chamber Vice President; Frank Boland; Bill O’Connell, Cork Chamber President; John Higgins, Managing Partner EY Cork.Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

Meanwhile, the Chamber recognised businessman Frank Boland with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Business Award’. Previous recipients include Dan and Linda Kiely of Voxpro; Seán O’Driscoll of Glen Dimplex Group; Darina Allen of Ballymaloe and Brian McCarthy of Fexco. 

Mr O’Connell said: “From building a successful business of his own, to his active engagement on the boards of key semi-state companies, Frank has had a defining influence on the business and social life in his native city and acted as a formidable advocate for Ireland and for Cork.”

Mr Boland said: “I am honoured to receive this award and to join a group of recipients who have made such a notable contribution to Irish business over the years. This is not an easy time for Irish business. But we are resilient and innovative and well capable of meeting the challenges that lie ahead.”

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