Key business challenges discussed at the event included the impact of Brexit on the local economy and Cork businesses, competitiveness and infrastructure. In his address, the Minister spoke about Ireland’s position in the EU post-Brexit, Cork as a successful, sustainable regional capital and Government’s commitment to the €116 billion National Development Plan as well as its objectives for Cork.
Speaking at the event, Minister Donohoe said: “Cork is a thriving commercial hub and home to some of Ireland’s top indigenous businesses as well as leading multinationals across a range of sectors. In recognition of the importance of the city as a regional centre for economic activity, Government has committed extensive infrastructure investment to the region through the National Development Plan, ensuring that it is well positioned to capitalise on future growth. This investment will support Cork’s rising population through the development of new housing and will make the region more accessible and connected than ever before – solidifying its reputation as a great place to live, work and do business.”
With Cork city alone set to grow by 115,000 people by 2040 – twice the growth rate of Dublin city and three times the national average rate – Managing Partner for EY Ireland Frank O’Keeffe, who also spoke at the event, commented on the rapid growth Cork is experiencing and the impact of this growth on the business environment:
“We have witnessed first-hand as a firm the true strength of Cork’s position as a hub for economic and commercial activity, with EY in Cork having experienced strong double-digit revenue growth in FY18, and a 70% increase in headcount in the past five years alone. EY Cork is now one of our fastest growing offices and this expansion has been driven by an increased focus on emerging technology and data analytics, as our clients in the region are increasingly seeking to integrate tech across all areas of their business.”
Frank added, “Whilst many businesses across Cork are feeling the weight of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the significant competitive advantages that the country and the region of Cork holds including a strong domestic economy, a young and skilled workforce and the presence of some of Ireland and the world’s most successful companies on our doorstep. This, coupled with the investment committed by Government to the region through the National Development Plan, demonstrates Cork’s standing as an attractive and sustainable regional capital for Ireland.”