Infrastructure enables trade, powers businesses and connects workers to their jobs and creates opportunities. In short, it’s the backbone of a healthy economy.
The government has committed significant funding to the Cork and Munster area, which has led to job opportunities, but it has had its blockers.
With Cork growing at a fast pace, there is an argument that Cork isn’t ready. Ireland’s economic and societal progress is utterly dependent on the development of a thriving southern region.
The government has said that Cork and the southern region need to grow at twice the rate of Dublin over the next 20 years.
Several of the projects in the pipeline include the Dunkettle interchange, the M20, M28, funding for urban regeneration and social housing projects.
There are also some new plans in place around transportation in Cork and Munster which is an exciting advancement and will be a necessity for things to progress.
2040 Transport Strategy & the impact on jobs
The plan proposes a new LUAS system for Cork along with a major upgrade of the city’s bus, rail, cycle and pedestrian networks.
The plan includes:
- New stations and enhanced train services which will see 20% of people and 30% of jobs within walking distance of the suburban rail network.
- A new east-west Light Rail line between Ballincollig and Mahon. This will provide a new transport option for Cork, with 30% of people and 60% of jobs across the enlarged city region located within walking distance of tram stops.
- By 2040 over half of all journeys in the morning peak will be by sustainable transport modes (public transport, cycling, walking) compared to just 33% at present.
There are also plans for a €15m commuter and tourist ferry network in Cork Harbour, which will create up to 70 jobs. A group of private investors are aiming to have the tourist ferry service operational by next year and the commuter service up and running in 2022.
The ferries will have a top speed of 25 knots and will be able to bring commuters from Crosshaven and Aghada into the city centre within 45 minutes. Cobh would be just 25 minutes away. Capacity will be for 350 passengers with the hope of the commuter service reducing the number of cars on Cork roads daily.
The Harbour Cat Ferries plan was initially lodged in 2007 and full planning permission was granted for the commuter service for eight docking locations. However, the plans were put on hold when the recession hit. The timespan on planning permission has now lapsed and the investors must reapply for it, with the project made viable again by the upsurge in Cork’s economy.
The recently published National Planning Framework 2040 envisages that Cork will become the fastest-growing city region in Ireland with projected 50% to 60% population growth in the next 20 years.