Cork City’s Port to Set Sail by 2050, Paving the Way for Urban Renewal

Port of Cork to Release City Quays and Tivoli Docks for Urban Regeneration by 2050, Says CEO McGettigan

The Port of Cork has announced plans to release the City Quays and Tivoli Docks for urban regeneration and compact living by 2050. The Chief Executive of the Port of Cork Company, Eoin McGettigan, revealed that a masterplan for the port will be published by the end of the month, detailing the steps that will be taken to change the port by 2050. The plan outlines the migration of port activities to the lower harbour closer to deep water facilities while also identifying the role that Cork Harbour can play in supporting Ireland’s energy needs. Mr McGettigan stated that the port intends to have net zero emissions by 2050.

The port is collaborating with Cork City Council to vacate the city quays over an agreed period. Once the port has moved, one of the city quays in the centre of Cork and another in Tivoli will be left behind. Mr McGettigan explained that both of these areas are suitable for compact living and urban regeneration. However, he added that the move to free the quays is dependent on the completion of the M28 dual carriageway to Ringaskiddy as well as offshore wind energy facilities. He also noted that there are a number of milestones that need to be achieved before the port can move from the city centre to the lower harbour.

Mr McGettigan said that two additional berths in Ringaskiddy, for which the port has planning permission, will need to be accelerated to facilitate the country’s plans to develop fixed-bottom offshore wind energy (ORE). Once the ORE construction phase is over, the port will repurpose the berths to support its exit from the City Quays and Tivoli. He added that Cork, as the closest port to continental Europe, has benefited from Brexit, as the port had very little trade with the UK.

Shannon Foynes Port Company Chief Executive, Pat Keating, has said that “time is of the essence” when it comes to offshore wind energy, and despite having “the best resource”, Ireland is “four to five years behind” when compared internationally. Mr Keating added that the policy framework must be correct, noting that An Bord Pleanála must be properly resourced. He also mentioned that some of the big international companies like Shell or Equinor who have looked at Ireland, have found that the resource sells itself but there is a level of frustration when they engage with the system.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, Barry O’Connell, has said that the movement of Dublin Port in order to use the space for housing would require a “cut and paste” of linked facilities such as the Port Tunnel and the M50. Based on a detailed assessment on the prospect of moving the port to another site on the east coast, Mr O’Connell said that a project of that scale would be a “mega project” that would likely take between 20 to 30 years “assuming that a suitable location could be found”. Mr O’Connell noted that Transport Minister Eamon Ryan mentioned three sites on Dublin Port that would be suitable for housing. However, one of these sites was deemed unfit for housing rezoning due to its proximity to the port tunnel. The other two sites are being used, one as a car compound and the other as refrigerated storage.

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