Local Cork MEP Billy Kelleher has said that Cork City Council should consider rezoning the IDA industrial estate in Kilbarry “as a matter of urgency”.
Mr Kelleher, a former TD for Cork North Central, made the call following the announcement by the Government of significant funding for local commuter train services in the Cork region.
“At present, the estate is being used as farmland.
“This to me is unacceptable when there are thousands of Cork families looking for public or private housing options.
“It’s nigh on unimaginable that new investments will ever take place.
“As much as I would love to see a big multinational set up shot there, if it hasn’t happened by now, it will never happen,” he said.
Last week the Government announced a €185.4 million investment as part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) intended to support the rollout of more commuter services in the Cork metropolitan area, as set out in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS).
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said this funding will see the construction of a number of different works by August 2026.
These include a new ‘through’ platform within Kent Station to create a suburban rail network between Mallow, Midleton, and Cobh as well as the resignalling of the suburban rail network with a view to future electrification.
It will also include double-tracking of the current single-track between Glounthaune and Midleton.
“The Mallow to Midleton rail corridor can act as a real enabler of transport led-development across the Cork city region.
“The corridor potentially unlocks a number of sites for large-scale housing delivery and will allow for the development of new sustainable communities at key locations.
“This project is the start of our ultimate objective to electrify services across the region and add new stations in the future,” the spokesperson continued.
Such new stations could include Tivoli, Blarney, Kilbarry and other locations.
Mr Kelleher said it would be critical that housing is located close by these stations.
“Commuter rail services must be accessible to local populations and crucially aligned with new housing projects,” he said.