Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla -Topical Issue Debates
I am very familiar with the area. My grandfather grew up in Glounthaune where we had a family farm so I know the area well. I will look closely at the file.
There is a whole range of developments in the Cork harbour and city area. We need to develop Cork as a counterbalance to Dublin. We need infrastructure in Cork, which includes Cobh and Carrigtwohill, Ballincollig on the other side, and Blarney. The city has spread a great deal. We need to bring life back into Cork but we also need to look after the 15,000 people in Cobh and those living in Glounthaune and beyond.
There will be a variety of ways to invest in this infrastructure. One will be to invest in Cork harbour. Marino Point, a deep sea port with a rail connection and one of the best harbours in the world, is an underutilised asset. It also has a lot of energy infrastructure around it. We will have to invest in the rail line. One of my top priority projects is developing a second track from Midleton to Cork city. I would also develop a station at Tivoli. I spoke to Cork County Council about this recently. If we did that, we could have 10,000 people in Tivoli docks. The other side of the estuary on the old Dunlop site and the docklands would allow massive development of the east of the city.
We also need to develop and look after Cobh for tourism and many other purposes. I know the bridge and road in question and what the Deputy has said is not untrue. The project would not be cheap. One might think it is just one section of road but it would quickly amount to tens of millions of euro. It is about balance, and I expect that, as well as the road, the strategic review is looking at further Local Link bus services and increasing frequency on the Cobh train line. Traffic volume on the R624 is an issue. The road caters for around 5,000 vehicles per day and probably has a multiple of that now. The study will have to consider the various options to solve the needs of people in the community. Their needs must come first. We must look at every option for achieving that.