Cork should develop a strategy of "Build and They Will Come", the city should be welcoming immigrants and refugees, inviting them to take up residence in her heartland the same way Barcelona does. Housing people in abandoned hotels in the rural countryside is of no benefit to anyone and hardly in the spirit of Irish hospitality.
Cork should provide housing for all nationalities in order to grow it's population and become a sizable city, a growing multi cultural domain comprised of various talents, enterprises, and cuisines.
Once achieved the City will have substantial support to build much needed infrastructure, such as a tram line from Kent train station to the airport, one that extends to the business park. A more ambitious Cork Luas project that connects the surrounding suburbs to the city centre and colleges is a must.
Cork has the capacity to start building at an unprecedented rate if it adopts a different strategy to that of neo liberal Dublin. This strategy should be one of housing, transport, and large scale infrastructure. Cork needs to be a city with a different ideology. Cork doesn’t just need to build houses it needs to build homes.
It’s already been pointed out by local TDs and councillors that the land on Old Whitechurch Road can be developed for affordable and social housing which would add 800 homes to Cork City. The fight for Leeside Apartments needs to end with security of tenure for existing tenants and a precedent set for tenancy rights in Ireland. Cork needs to be a home to all those who seek shelter and become a beacon of hope for those fleeing countries in turmoil, countries like Syria, Yemen, and England
Cork should demand that all government jobs are decentralised from Dublin and welcomed to the new city. There is absolutely no need for the majority of public service jobs to be located in Dublin, the majority of staff are countryside ex-pats looking to get out of the big smoke. Cork needs to stand up and say "Let my people go".
There should also be serious plans to relocate the spire to Patrick Street, it's attracted a large volume of rowdy Scottish seagulls to Dublin and it would be a welcomed addition to a city devoid of an iconic landmark, and as you know all major cities need to have a towering symbol of prestige.
Dublin has established itself as a centre for finance and IT, if that’s what you want to call a tax haven these days. As such Cork needs to focus on alternative areas that attract creative thinkers and social contributors. Cork needs to focus on industries that the capital has just become too crowded to accommodate, the focus should be on all our talented graduates that are slumming it out in Dublin, a city choked by a bulging tenant population. Cork needs to be a place that welcomes artists and designers, offering them free studio space and a place to live.
Cork should also take a different approach to city travel than Dublin, it should become Ireland's most friendly city to cycle in. By following the approach of our European neighbours Cork could be transformed into the cycling capital of Ireland.
Port development is also a huge opportunity for the second city and it could help reindustrialise this country to the extent that Ireland could become the most important port nation in a post Brexit Europe.
To achieve all of this Cork needs a lobby group in the Dail to achieve more for the people of Munster and the West coast of Ireland. TD’s from the West and South West need to come together and form a voting block that supersedes their respective party whips to ensure capital expenditure is shared with our second city.
As a country we need to strategically invest in infrastructure so that we can take Cork slogans off of t-shirts and concentrate on establishing the city on the world map. Cork needs to be our refuge, it has a chance to become the creative and industrial capital of Ireland but it needs affordable housing and infrastructure to be planned and implemented now. Cork can make a change.