Ac­cess is an ur­gent is­sue with Brexit on hori­zon, says CIF

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - LIFE SCIENCES - Kevin O’Neill

Up­grades to Dun­ket­tle and the N28 to Rin­gask­iddy have be­come Ire­land’s ‘ most im­por­tant’ in­fras­truc­tural projects, says the Con­struc­tion In­dus­try Fed­er­a­tion.

Of­fi­cials from the CIF said that re­tain­ing ac­cess to Europe via the Port of Cork is more im­por­tant than ever in the wake of Brexit and have called on the Govern­ment to fast­track the up­grades to the Dun­ket­tle In­ter­change and the de­liv­ery of the N28 mo­tor­way.

Speak­ing at CIF Cork’s an­nual con­struc­tion din­ner, chair­man of the CIF Cork branch, Cor­mac Smith, said that the works are crit­i­cal in en­sur­ing Ir­ish ex­ports can re­main com­pet­i­tive.

He said: “Many of our ex­ports, es­pe­cially those from the agri- food and pharma sec­tor, are cur­rently be­ing ex­ported to con­ti­nen­tal Europe via the UK. How­ever, with Brexit, this op­tion will no longer be avail­able to us.”

In­stead, Ir­ish op­er­a­tions will be­come more EU- fo­cused, Mr Smith said, with the Port of Cork be­com­ing an even more im­por­tant ac­cess point.

He said: “We are in the lucky po­si­tion here in Cork that the Port of Cork is the clos­est na­tional tier one port to con­ti­nen­tal Europe. We now need to pro­vide the in­fra­struc­ture to al­low the ca­pac­ity of the Port of Cork to grow, to en­sure that our ex­ports can reach their mar­kets in the most com­pet­i­tive man­ner pos­si­ble.”

The planned works at Dun­ket­tle and the N28 have be­come ‘ Ire­land’s most im­por­tant strate­gic in­fras­truc­tural projects’, ac­cord­ing to Mr Smith.

“These two projects can no longer be talked about in terms of pos­si­ble de­liv­ery dates,” he said. “These projects must now be de­liv­ered in a much shorter time­frame than orig­i­nally planned for.”

En­sur­ing ac­cess to the con­ti­nent will safe­guard against many of the po­ten­tial neg­a­tive im­pacts of Brexit, he added, ad­dress­ing many of the CIF’s 300 mem­bers in Cork.

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