Fine Gael Cork South Central Senator, Jerry Buttimer, has questioned the Government’s commitment to the development of the Cork Docklands Area in light of recent announcements of budgetary changes to the National Development Plan. Speaking in the Seanad this week, Senator Buttimer said the excuse from Government parties that the EU is holding up the development is a red herring and simply does not wash.

“The plans for the development of the Cork Docklands are at an advanced stage. The economic study has been completed, planning applications have been put forward by one of the major developers, Howard Holdings, the north and south docklands local area plans are complete and full consultation with the landowners has taken place.

“This project is pivotal to the growth and expansion of Cork and the Government’s inaction so far is a source of real concern. Due to its unique location and potential, the regeneration of the Docklands is an absolute priority for the city. It beggars belief why the Fianna Fáil-led administration is so intent on dragging its heels on the advancement of the project?

“When questioned on the matter in the Seanad this week, Deputy Tony Killeen, who was responding on behalf of the Minister for Finance, said it should be noted that:

‘if a redevelopment project of magnitude was to benefit from tax incentives in its entirety this would involve massive and long-term Exchequer costs. This is a very important consideration, particularly in the current economic climate where there is already some pressure on tax revenues.’

“Is this the Deputy’s way of saying that until the pressure on tax revenues stabilises, the Docklands project is being pushed to the back-burner?

“The Government must make clear its intentions to the regeneration of the Cork Docklands. It cannot be allowed to continue to sing out of both sides of its mouth on this issue, extolling the virtues of a regeneration project while its commitment to the project remains seriously in doubt.”