The Government is being urged to “be ambitious” and to “seize the opportunities being presented by the economic recovery” to enhance the quality of life of Cork’s regional economy.
The call to action comes from Ibec ahead of their Regional Insights Series event, taking place online tomorrow.
Ibec Senior Regional Policy Executive, Helen Leahy said that Cork needs critical infrastructure to enhance regional connectivity and competitiveness and that the economic recovery from Covid presents a “golden opportunity” to reimagine how society and the economy are shaped to enhance overall quality of life.
“While Covid has dominated much of the agenda in 2020, it must not be forgotten that even before this current crisis, the Cork region was facing systemic economic and societal issues such as Brexit, climate change and funding deficits in critical infrastructure investment. While it is difficult to quantify what the eventual economic impact of the pandemic will be on the regions, it is undoubtedly being exacerbated by pre-existing challenges and regional disparities.
“One of the most effective means of stimulating regional economies is by investing in infrastructure including housing, education, transport, broadband and health, which all play vital roles in making urban centres vibrant and attractive places in which to live” Ms Leahy said that Cork needs critical infrastructure to enhance regional connectivity and competitiveness.
“The long-term strategic development of Ringaskiddy port for example will be enhanced by ensuring the port is served by high quality roads which will improve access. Accessibility to strategic infrastructure is essential to the functioning of a strong regional economy and must be prioritised to unlock regional growth. Improved port access will also become increasingly important considering the possible implications of Brexit.”
Ibec has set out a number of key priorities to underpin regional recovery and growth in Cork including the delivery of strategic road infrastructure upgrades including such as the N28 Cork-Ringaskiddy, the Dunkettle Interchange, the Northern Ring Road, the M20 Cork-Limerick and N25 Cork-Rosslare.
Other priorities include the speedy roll-out of the National Broadband Plan and the 5G mobile network, development of smart cities and revitalising town centres to reboot and reimagine urban centres, and an improved and more integrated citywide public transport system including light-rail and BusConnects should be progressed.
“The economic recovery from Covid presents a golden opportunity to reimagine how we shape our society and economy to enhance overall quality of life. Innovative actions must be taken now to build economic resilience and stimulate the regional economies to mitigate the lasting impacts of these systemic issues,” Ms Leahy said.
“Addressing infrastructure deficits and tapping into the economic potential that remains unused in our regions is essential to move forward. Doing so will significantly enhance the overall national economic recovery effort,” she added.