THE Mayors of Cork City and County have joined forces to lobby Government for a multimillion euro stimulus package for Cork over the next three to five years.
Cork City Lord Mayor Mick Finn and Cork County Mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy, who are both recently elected, met during their first days in office to discuss the year ahead.
Both mayors are to seek a joint meeting with Cork’s Ministers, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney, and Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality, David Stanton. The mayors will be seeking the Cork ministers to facilitate a meeting with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance.
The basis for the mayors’ case for a stimulus package is that the two councils in Cork are preparing to re-emerge as two brand new entities following reconfiguration.
The stimulus package would be to facilitate the transition process and to forge a fresh approach to driving the economic performance of the region.
In a joint statement, they said: ‘We both want Cork to prosper and grow and ensure that both councils can hit the ground running when legislation is enacted. As was the case with the reconfiguration of the Limerick councils – with the support of then Finance Minister Michael Noonan – we are calling on Government and our local Ministers Coveney, Creed and Stanton to provide Cork with a multi-million euro stimulus package to ensure we can thrive in the boundary reconfiguration and can operate effectively right from the off. We also call on all of Cork’s TDs and senators to row in behind this initiative. Cork will also be one of Ireland’s most vulnerable counties for Brexit in the Republic given its dependence on the quality food and drink industries. We need to be in a position to cope to meet this and other challenges.’
Both mayors stressed the need to promote and develop Cork to overseas markets and investors. Cork has such a broad range of tourism and economic assets that are unique to the region; ranging from tourist attractions and amenities, to marine leisure and the islands, to its unique culture and heritage. Its quality of life offering is second to none, and has been recognised as being a key factor for growing employment and investment. Cork needs to continue its efforts to promote further investment in the region’s bio-pharma, agri food, financial and tech sectors.
‘The city and county are joined at the hip. Our two councils will of course operate separately but our joint focus must be on Cork as a driver of the region. We call on the Government who instigated the changes in the first place to now back the City and County Councils with the injection of extra funding to bed-in the two new authorities and to facilitate new initiatives,’ they added.
Mayors Murphy and Finn called on the Cabinet to immediately announce the timeframe for legislation to enact the changes.
‘The timing will be tight in light of next summer’s local elections so this complex legislation needs to go through the Oireachtas so we can get on with it.’