Cork City Hall & Elysian

Cork City Hall with Elysian tower behind – plans are now afoot for a new skycraper twice as high as Ireland’s current highest building

The Workers’ Party have called for an alternative vision for Cork city in which the needs of people will be put ahead of developers and which will preserve the historic cityscape while creating new jobs and homes for citizens.

Workers’ Party Cork City Councillor Ted Tynan said there was far too much emphasis on building office blocks and not enough on building public housing or creating sustainable and decent jobs.

Cllr. Tynan said: “Skylines dominated by construction cranes and building sites for high-rise commercial developments do not necessarily translate into positive progress for the city.  There is a real sense that the city of Cork is being moulded into a generic metropolis with its identity and character being lost through rampant and barely restricted development.”

Cllr. Ted Tynan

Cllr. Ted Tynan

“Our city centre and quay-fronts are increasingly being taken over by high-rise glass boxes which dominate the elegant cityscape that we all know and love. Cork is being turned into a carbon copy of a thousand other cities anywhere on the planet, stripped of its identity and dedicated entirely to corporate needs. The term ‘development’ is being taken blindly as the be-all and end-all of the function of the city council”, he said.

The Workers’ Party councillor said that in a sense the city management team had become a corporate enabler which saw its role, not as a provider of services to citizens, but as a promoter of private enterprise regardless of the views of citizens or the effect on the built environment.

“In effect”, said Cllr. Tynan, “the City Council is acting as a glorified estate agent which fast-tracks corporate planning, seeks out more get-rich-quick investors and sells off land which should be held for public housing while paying little heed to where employment will come from or the quality of jobs created in such developments”.

Cllr. Tynan said:  “The City Management, having already divested itself of the provision of refuse and water services, has slashed housing maintenance and other services from parks to libraries.  It sees its role at most as an overseer of such services provided at a premium by private operators. The City Councillors are largely ignored or acquiescent in this process and it is high time that the over-arching powers of management are rebalanced towards the elected members and the citizens.”

He said that even our educational institutions were being commericalised and developed into incubators for young entrepreneurs rather than being centres of learning that promote enquiring minds and provide a fully rounded education.

Cllr. Tynan said that with the major extension of the Cork city boundary now in sight, there was need for a comprehensive debate on the priorities and vision of the City Council for the next decades.  “The decisions we make over the next few years will have far-reaching implications for the Cork City of the future. The citizens must be at the heart of that debate and their well-being must be central to all decisions. That debate needs to start now”.