AN Ikea store in east Cork has been described as “a dream for the area”.
The Swedish furniture giant has yet to confirm plans for a Cork store but is believed to have decided on opening a store in Carrigtwohill.
Independent Councillor Mary Linehan Foley said it would be a tremendous boost for the entire region.
“We would love to welcome Ikea to any area in East Cork,” she said.
“I know myself all the people who travel to Dublin just to shop in Ikea so it would be massive, not just employment but for business.
“If you are coming to Ikea you will go elsewhere in the area as well, so the spin-off would be marvellous.”
Ikea’s Dublin store employs 650 people and it is believed a Cork store would create around 500 jobs.
There had been speculation that the retailer would choose the vacant Amgen site but it is now believed to be going to another location, close to the rail line.
Fine Gael Councillor Anthony Barry raised concerns about the impact on existing furniture companies in Cork.
“You would welcome anything that brings people to the area but the issue I would have is the possible effect on others stores in the area selling furniture. I think that would have to be a big concern.
“Obviously they have a huge name and a fantastic product and they are very competitive in their pricing, so it is good for the customer. But there are other businesses in the Cork area that might suffer.”
He also said infrastructure improvements would be needed to handle the additional traffic.
“I would have slight concerns depending on exactly where it is going to go,” Mr Barry said.
“Ikea brings huge volumes of traffic to an area, we definitely need some road upgrades in the area. We all know the issues around Little Island and the pressure there. But Carrigtwohill and roads around the M25 are under huge pressure too.”
Cork Business Association president Pat O’Connell suggested the location choice was further proof that Carrigtwohill is now seen as part of Cork city.
“In many ways, it shows how integrated Carrigtwohill and areas like that have become with the city centre. It is no longer outside of Cork as such and companies realise it is part of it.”
Cork City Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald welcomed the news.
“Once it comes to the region I think it is great. A lot of people from here travel to purchase items from Ikea so it is great that people will have a store in Cork instead.”