Our public affairs team is dialled into every issue relevant in Cork. We care about Cork, we know about Cork, and we campaign for Cork to be the best place to do business.
Explore some of our recent successes below to learn more about what we do to support you.
CMATS Public Consultation Open
On behalf of you, our members, we continue to champion investment in public and sustainable transport for Cork.
From a business perspective, investment in sustainable and public transport is a top priority alongside more city centre apartment living. With 65,000 jobs targeted across Cork and significant population growth, we cannot continue to have 70% of commuters arriving into the city using private cars or have trucks directed through our city’s core because of a lack of alternative options.
Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS)
The National Transport Authority (NTA) have published the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS): A €3.5bn investment package for Cork including commuter rail, bus corridors, light rail, park and rides, walking and cycling infrastructure, and road networks.
This plan will transform commuting and life in Cork.
Read the full Cork Chamber statement on CMATS here.
Coke Zero Public Bike Expansion
Ten new bike stations will be added to Cork’s public bicycle network by the end of 2019. This has been confirmed by the National Transport Authority in response to our call for further investment.
The expansion comes after more than one million journeys were clocked on Cork’s shared bikes in 2018, four years after the scheme’s launch in 2014. In Cork alone, more than 270,000 journeys were made on 330 rented bikes in 2018: more than twice the figure for Galway and Limerick combined.
In 2017, we asked our members about their usage of the Cork public bike scheme and appetite for growth. The survey found that 62% of businesses use their private car when accessing or travelling through the city, followed by 15% cycling. Across our membership in both Cork city and county there is equally strong appetite for using the bike rather than a car. 85% of our members state that they would use Cork’s public bike scheme if it was expanded.
When asked to identify areas for new stations the most popular locations were:
Blackrock and Douglas
Ten new stations are a welcome first step. Now we need to focus on the next ten.
The Chamber vision for Ireland 2040 is for a high density City region with a diverse and resilient economy, with regional national and international connectivity, serviced by high quality transport corridors enabling a healthy, sustainable, educated, skilled, confident, and entrepreneurial community.
The Chamber campaign throughout the development of Ireland 2040 was for the plan to recognise Cork’s position as Irelands second city by way of growth projections and the alignment of capital expenditure and this approach has been validated in the published plan.
There is strong validation of Cork’s potential as Ireland’s second city region, with a larger percentage growth than Dublin and combined population growth equal to Limerick, Waterford and Galway combined.
There is welcome confirmation of existing projects such as the N22, Dunkettle Interchange, M28 and a commitment to get started on projects that have been stalled or are yet to begin. Most notably, there is a commitment to the M20 with full funding for delivery and planning for the eastern section of the Northern Ring Road. There is commitment to examine the feasibility of a high-speed rail connection between Cork and Dublin; a vision firmly endorsed by the Chamber.
There is a €2 billion urban regeneration fund, aimed for enabling places like theDocklands, but it will be competitive with countless national stakeholders eyeing the same pot.
There is a €500 millioninnovationfund, the detail of which we eagerly await.
Finally, Cork has received €200 million forpublic transportwhich must be used to develop a Rapid Transit Corridor to enable sustainable, enjoyable and appealing commuting and development patterns in our city region.
M20 Cork – Limerick Motorway
The M20 was cut from the agenda in the last financial crisis, an acknowledged necessity but a casualty of circumstance. Since then Cork Chamber has lobbied at every opportunity for it to be brought back to life.
In the lead up the development of Ireland 2040 and the 10-year capital plan we recognised the opportunity invigorate our message by collaborating with Limerick Chamber to substantiate our points. We jointly commissioned REDC and Indecon to prove what we all knew to be true, that the M20 would notably boost the economies of Cork, Limerick and the South West. Launched at the Summer Economic Statement, and used in a series of Governmental meetings, our report became the cornerstone of securing the M20 in the National Development Plan.
In acknowledgement, it was even confirmed by An Taoiseach months in advance, in the presence of a packed Chamber Members breakfast in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Transatlantic Connectivity from Cork to Boston
In 2017 transatlantic flights between Cork and the US commenced for the first time. Welcomed by all, securing the route was the result of a long, complex advocacy campaign led by a dedicated Airport team with Cork Chamber active at every step of the way.
For example, when the US Department of Transportation tentatively approved the proposed Cork-Boston flights in 2016 US unions quickly mobilised against the route. Chamber, in partnership with Cork Airport launched an extensive campaign aimed at gathering support among the business community in Cork, the East Coast and the South of Ireland, in addition to a range of external stakeholders. A campaign highlight was the route being discussed by Then Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Barack Obama leading to critical US Presidential support.
Ultimately, the pressure culminated in the EU commencing arbitration proceedings with the US over breach of the Open Skies Agreement shortly after which the US Department of Transportation issued the permit required.
Tier 1 Connectivity
From a digital connectivity perspective Metropolitan Cork boasts vital high capacity Tier 1 Express fibre connectivity. This offers the lowest latency in the EU to the East Coast of the US, connecting Cork with vital digital and financial markets in the US and UK. Our digital infrastructure enables the Cork area, making it ready to attract, further accommodate and grow Ireland’s national capacity and be the number one location for future investment from next generation digital and financial companies. Having identified the criticality of such enabling infrastructure, Cork Chamber advocated for this connectivity from the outset, lobbying government, state agencies and business interests extensively until the project announcement and final connection in 2015.
Cork Chamber emphasises the readiness of Metropolitan Cork in absorbing digital growth, and with specific emphasis on the ever-growing data centre industry we highlight the existing energy infrastructure, the regions unique position as a net exporter of energy to the national grid, and the characteristics of the region for even further development of renewable energy sources.
Purple Flag – Cork City Success
Cork City Centre holds the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation since 2015. This international award is for excellence in the evening and night time economy and signifies a well-managed, diverse, vibrant location with a wide offering of entertainment options including, shopping, theatre, dining and cultural venues. To retain the award, Cork City Centre is assessed annually under the five thematic areas, Wellbeing, Movement, Appeal, Place and Policy. As a member of the Cork City Centre Forum, Cork Chamber led out this initiative in 2015 and on behalf of the Forum. The award application engages with a broad range of public, private and volunteer sector services and representatives from across the City and we in Cork Chamber are proud to play our part in promoting our beautiful City.