Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said the Docklands developments will make a light rail system in Cork viable in the next 10 years.
He said more work will be done on developing a plan in the next 12 months with a view to ensuring it can be integrated into the city's current infrastructure.
Mr Coveney told the Evening Echo that a light rail Luas-type system will be made “viable” by developments along the Docklands including the potential €100m skyscraper at the Port of Cork Custom house site and Navigation Square - which will include office space for 3,000 workers once finished.
He added that is was important that any light-rail system would have to be properly integrated with Cork's existing bus routes and services.
“There is will be a business case for [a light rail system]. We will need it to connect the Docklands to UCC. Ballincollig and Bishopstown for CIT,” said Mr Coveney.
However, the immediate priority is to improve bus routes. The National Development Plan includes €200m of investment to reorganise Cork's services under the Bus Connects project.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Bus Connects project was the “Luas on wheels” and has also spoken of developing a Luas-type system in Cork.
When asked if a feasibility study needs to be carried out on the viability of a light rail system, Mr Coveney said it was more of a case of developing the right plan and work had already been carried out on routes with an East to West channel preferred to a North-South route.
“I think we will see a lot of work done in the next 12 months on this and, indeed, there has already been a lot of work done,” he said.
“The most likely route for it to follow is East to West as it is predominantly flat,” he added.