Taoiseach defends Cork city against claim by CNN reporter that it 'looks tired'

However, he said the city also needs to take on board criticisms from visitors.
Taoiseach defends Cork city against claim by CNN reporter that it 'looks tired'

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was asked by The Echo about recent comments from CNN business editor-at-large Richard Quest in which he had described the city centre as looking “tired”.

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has defended Cork City amid claims it looks “tired” but said the city also needs to take on board criticisms from visitors.

Mr Martin was asked by The Echo about recent comments from CNN business editor-at-large Richard Quest in which he had described the city centre as looking “tired”.

Mr Quest had said of his visit to Ireland: “Some of the places look tatty. I thought that in Cork. I loved the [English] Market, but the buildings look tired downtown.”

Mr Martin said it was thanks to a recommendation from him that Mr Quest had made his visit to the English Market and had given it a mention in his report. He also referred to the initiatives that are being carried out to improve public spaces and connectivity in the city.

“I’ll have to talk to Richard again...I did an interview with him, and I told him he had to go into the English Market,” said Mr Martin. 

“We have to take on board what people coming to visit say, and there is no doubt the city’s going through a transformative period in terms of the city centres of the future. I think the city council’s decision to pedestrianise about 18 streets during Covid was very imaginative.”

Mr Martin said the city faces challenges in the retail sector, some because of changing behaviours.

He said he believed that the active travel agenda of the Government and the council would prove crucial in making the city more attractive.

He said the Marina Park, which he opened on Sunday, was “a fabulous initiative”, and he said that he looked forward to phases two and three of its development connecting with the greenway coming from Rochestown.

“Basically, from the lower harbour, you will be able to cycle or walk the entire way up through the greenway into the Marina and into the city centre, and that’s my dream of this,” said Mr Martin.

“I was delighted yesterday the city management confirmed that they have concluded a deal with the Port of Cork to purchase a crucial strip of land to enable us to have that pedestrian walkway facility into the city, along the quays, so you’d never have to go near any major road.

“So from Passage up, literally, you can avoid all the roads and go straight into the city, and we need more of that to make the city more attractive.”

Mr Martin said he would have no problem inviting high-profile international figures to Cork City.

Asked if he would bring US president Joe Biden to Cork for a stroll, the Taoiseach replied that Mr Biden, who is descended from the Blewitts of Co Mayo and the Finnegans of Co Louth, is always welcome on Leeside.

“You’d never know,” said Mr Martin, “Cork and Mayo could make the football final this year again — we might get him over for that.”

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