UPGRADES to Dunkettle and the N28 to Ringaskiddy are now Ireland's 'most important' infrastructural projects according to the Construction Industry Federation.
Officials from the CIF said that retaining access to Europe via the Port of Cork is more important than ever in the wake of Brexit and have called on the government to fast-track the upgrades to the Dunkettle Interchange and the delivery of the N28 motorway.
Speaking at the CIF Cork Annual Construction Dinner, chairman of the Cork branch of the CIF Cormac Smith said that the works are critical in ensuring that Irish exports can remain competitive.
He said, "Many of our exports, especially those from the agri-food and pharma sector, are currently being exported to continental Europe via the UK. However, with Brexit, this option will no longer be available to us."
Instead, Irish operations will become more EU-focused, according to Mr Smith, with the Port of Cork becoming an even more important access point.
He said, "We are in the lucky position here in Cork that the Port of Cork is the closest national tier 1 port to continental Europe. We now need to provide the infrastructure to allow the capacity of the Port of Cork to grow, to ensure that our exports can reach their markets in the most competitive manner possible."
The planned works at Dunkettle and the N28 have become 'Ireland's most important strategic infrastructural projects', according to Mr Smith.
"These two projects can no longer be talked about in terms of possible delivery dates," he said.
"These projects must now be delivered in a much shorter timeframe than originally planned for."
Ensuring continued access to the continent will safeguard against many of the potential negative impacts of Brexit, he added, addressing many of the CIF's 300 members in Cork.
Similar comments have been made the Cork Chamber and the Cork Business Association in recent weeks, with hopes high that the two projects may be fast-tracked under the review of the government's capital plan, which is due to be published later this year.