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Delivery timelines for 2040 projects are vital

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 5:00pm

The State must not hinder the progress of the business community in Cork. This was the stark message from Cork Chamber President Bill O’Connell to the Government at the Chamber’s annual dinner last Friday.

Referencing a famous quote by former Chamber president Charles Stewart Parnell, he said: “Our past president Parnell said ‘No man has the right to say to his country ‘thus far shalt thou go and no further’. Today I say clearly that the state must equally not say to the business community ‘thus far shalt thou go and no further’.”

“We need absolute clarity and transparency on the delivery timelines for all projects in the capital plan and Ireland 2040 and we need them now.”

“Today’s best isn’t good enough for tomorrow. The plans that are set out in Ireland 2040 offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to change Cork over the next 20 years but if they stay in print alone they are nothing but aspirations. Reflecting on our history, it is clear that we must display both the vision of those who came before us, but most critically their ability to deliver,” he said to the crowd in City Hall.

President Michael D Higgins struck a more even tone, praising the Chamber for advocating for the economic and industrial development of Cork. He also mentioned the importance of “vibrant and sustainable regions” for the “health of our economy and the prosperity of our people”.

“We perhaps need to re-discover some of the lessons of regional economy policy that we learned in our own past. We need realisable long-term plans for our regions and cities, sustained by an active and ambitious state, one confident of intervening where it can to promote and even create economic development, and propelled by the businesses such as those represented here today.

“We need real regionalism with the capacity to ascertain possibilities and difficulties, establishing policy, make investment choices and be accountable to the people. That will be all the more important as we confront the uncertainty caused by the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union,” he said at the event championing 200 years of the Chamber.

Mr O’Connell also reflected on the past, present and future of the business community in Cork, and the leaders that have been responsible for its development over the past 200 years.

“From Blackrock trains to transatlantic planes, the changes in Irish life, business and society over 200 years are immeasurable. But their significance will be measured in the fullness of time relative to events that have yet to unfold. Relative to how we shape our city region physically, culturally, economically, environmentally and socially.”

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