Saturday 24 November 2007

Docklands forum hugely significant, says Ahern

FOUR of the biggest landowners in Cork’s sprawling docklands confirmed last night they have combined to drive forward the region’s multibillion regeneration.

The Docklands Landowners Group made the announcement during Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s visit to the city yesterday.

Mr Ahern was briefed by senior officials with developers Howard Holdings on their plans for a €1bn mixed-use project, which will include a conference centre, in the south docks.

It is understood a planning application will be lodged in January.

But McCarthy Developments, owned by Thomas McCarthy, the Marina Commercial Park’s Jerry Wycherley, Origin, a development company set up by IAWS, and Top Oil issued a joint statement last night welcoming Mr Ahern’s establishment of a national Docklands Steering Forum.

Chaired by former UCC president, Gerry Wrixon, it will provide a vital link between State agencies and Cork City Council, the lead partner in the docklands regeneration project.

“We also welcome the appointment of John Travers, as the nominee of the landowners,” a spokesman for the group said.

Other nominations to the forum include Sylvester Carruth, Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism; Clare Dunne, Department of Enterprise; Cork city manager, Joe Gavin; Conor Healy, from the Chamber of Commerce; Brendan Keating, Cork Port; John Martin, Department of the Environment; community representatives Mary Moloney, Finbarr Murphy, and Frank Murphy; Úna Nic Giolla Choille, Department of Communications; Fintan O’Brien, Department of Transport; Cork’s county manager, Martin Riordan; Paul Ryan, Department of Finance; John Shaw, Department of the Taoiseach; and Dominic Sullivan from the Department of Education.

Mr Ahern said the formal establishment of the forum was a “hugely significant step in the development of Cork’s docklands as a residential, economic and cultural centre to rival anywhere in Europe”.

“The wide range of experience of the participants will ensure that the redeveloped docklands will become a new hub of activity for all Cork people,” he said.

The forum will meet next month and report back to Government by June 2008.

Irish Examiner

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