Micheál Martin hails ‘vote of confidence’ in Cork

Micheál Martin hails ‘vote of confidence’ in Cork

Taoiseach Micheál Martin engaging with vendors, staff, and members of the public during a visit to Princes St in Cork City. Picture: Michael O’Sullivan

THE numbers working at Penrose Dock, the new office complex at the heart of Cork’s new docklands, are expected to grow to more than 1,600.

The figure was revealed as Taoiseach Micheál Martin and foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney both visited the development to meet with site leads from the 18 companies who currently occupy the scheme.

Penrose Dock, which has been developed by Cork-based JCD Group, now has nearly 90% of its floorspace already let. The entire complex offers a total of 250,000 sq ft of office space set across two buildings, Penrose One and Penrose Two.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Martin described the complex as a “first-class facility” which, he said, “indicates the future of the city in terms of the docklands, but also in terms of compact growth within the city”.

Penrose Dock has attracted a strong mix of clients from global technology to professional services companies.

Current tenants employ more than 1,100 staff, with plans to create a further 500 jobs.

Eleven of the companies based in Penrose Dock are IDA Ireland client companies.

Amongst the companies who have taken up residence at Penrose Dock are Qualcomm; Cloudera; Aspira; Tigera; Grant Thornton; Matheson; Cadence; Ibec; Remitly; Sophos; CH Robinson; and Minelab.

Yesterday, Varonis Systems, Inc, a pioneer in data security and analytics, announced the opening of its new and expanded office space at Penrose Dock.

“The companies who have chosen to establish their base in Penrose Dock have given the city a vote of confidence, and I would like to wish them every success in their future growth,” said the Taoiseach.

“In the months ahead, as restrictions ease, this part of the city will become a base for innovation.

“To see a strong mix of Irish companies alongside global firms shows how Cork is attractive as a destination for future investment.”

Foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney praised the calibre of businesses that chose to establish a base in Penrose Dock.

“Cork needs to attract companies of the calibre we have met here today,” he said. “As a Government, we are committed to balanced development across the island of Ireland, and we need to show companies looking to invest the potential that Cork has.

“I would like to congratulate JCD Group on this development, and the speed at which the available space has filled up is a testament to the facilities on offer. I would also like to congratulate the IDA on their ongoing commitment to Cork, which has resulted in the delivery of thousands of quality, well-paid jobs.”

IDA CEO Martin Shanahan was also in attendance at yesterday’s socially distanced ceremony.

He said the businesses locating in Penrose Dock illustrate how Cork is “attractive to global firms looking for a foothold in Europe and further afield”.

“Each of the companies who established here has praised the quality of the workforce, the strong industry connections with third-level institutions, and the improved quality of life that living in a city like Cork has to offer.”

Speaking yesterday, the Taoiseach also said the Government will soon review the further easing of restrictions, including a possible return for staff to offices before September.

The current public health advice is that people should continue to work from home unless it is necessary to attend in person.

“I think we will see towards the end of this month ... whether we can move forward in some areas like that,” Mr Martin said yesterday.

“I think predominantly the summer will be outdoor, but obviously we’ve got to gear up for the autumn period.”

“One of our key targets for autumn is the return of the college experience for students, for example.

“That to me would be essential.

“I know Minister Simon Harris is working on plans in that regard, that we get a normal campus-like experience for young students in further education in the technology universities and the universities.

“In the world of work as well, many young people have not yet been in their offices maybe who were recruited last year.

“I think it’s important that we can get that experience to happen as quickly as we can.

“We’ll take advice on it. We’ll take it step by step.”

Warning that underinvestment threatens recovery

Meanwhile yesterday, Ibec — the group representing Irish employers — said that as the Irish economy gradually reopens and restrictions ease, “decades of chronic underinvestment in key infrastructure including transport is threatening to undermine the prospects for economic recovery”.

The group is calling on Government to ensure that the National Investment Framework for Transport in Ireland (Nifti) supports the delivery of an enhanced National Development Plan (NDP), underpinned by an ambitious programme of world-class public services and infrastructure development.

“Nifti can play a central role in ensuring the delivery of an enhanced ‘NDP Plus’ programme of investment to support better lives and better business in the Cork region,” said Ibec regional policy executive George Gill.

“Both will be key enablers to ensure Cork fulfils its potential as a modern city and region of scale with strong local, regional, national, and international connectivity.

“Nifti must support the promotion of compact, densely populated urban centres as engines for economic progress.

“Residential densification can enrich character, placemaking and identity, provided that the urban centre is not choked with polluting, congested traffic.

“Traffic congestion risks undermining Cork’s growth and impacts its ability to attract and retain staff in our urban centres and compete for investment.”

Mr Gill said he believes the timescale for the delivery of vital projects is also taking “far too long”, saying: “The priority must be to get projects delivered much more rapidly.”

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