Business News

Luxuries on the Lee

By Business & Finance
15 September 2016

By Ann Doherty, chief executive, Cork City Council 

Ahead of Network Ireland’s National Conference and Awards, Ann Doherty highlights why Cork is such an attractive locations for such an event.

Cork city is a city full of character, with a huge diversity of restaurants, cafés, bars, culture, art, parks and, of course, the economic and commercial heart of the region. As a vibrant and dynamic city, we continue to innovate to create a city that will meet the needs of its people into the future. Through a proactive approach, working in partnership with key stakeholders, Cork city is seeing a revitalisation of the city centre.

The scale of Cork city allows for an ease of engagement between stakeholders and business, which supports this vibrant and dynamic environment. Initiatives such as CORE, a Cork city centre partnership, aims to build on this collaboration to improve, manage and market the city centre.

Cork is home to seven of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies and is a tech cluster with over 300 IT companies based here. These global brands, such as Pfizer, GSK, Eli Lilly and Novartis, are attracted by the talented and educated workforce, the value balance, a competitive tax environment, superb quality of life and a business-friendly and collaborative environment.

Cork is known as Ireland’s food capital with a rich and world-class heritage. Its strong drinks sector includes global leaders such as Heineken and Midleton distillery, as well as locally developed craft breweries such as Elbow Lane and The Franciscan Well.

Cork is known as Ireland’s food capital with a rich and world-class heritage

Cork is also home to world-class dairy processing plants with brands including Dairygold, Danone and Carbery Group. Just this year saw the launch of the Taste Cork brand, which aims to build on this excellent reputation for food and drink by collaborating with all the key stakeholders and by shining a light on the best our food and drinks companies have to offer here and abroad.

And, of course, the city is home to one of Ireland’s iconic landmarks, The English Market, which received worldwide attention during the visit of Queen Elizabeth. Only recently Cork City Council has introduced ‘The Start Up Stall’ as part of the English Market experience. This start-up space will offer new food businesses an opportunity to promote and sell their products as part of the English Market Collective.


Cork city is home to many global tech companies such as EMC, Dell, Fire Eye, McAfee and Huawei and only recently Tyco established their global headquarters in the city centre.

Cork is proud of the excellent educational institutions, such as UCC, CIT and the National Tyndall Institute, which is a global leader in integrated ICT research and is home to over 450 researchers, engineers and staff from over 38 countries with over 200 industry partners worldwide. These high-quality educational institutions provide a pipeline of over 35,000 talented graduates for industry.

The scale of Cork city allows for an ease of engagement between stakeholders and business, which supports this vibrant and dynamic environment

Cork is accessible and connected. Cork International Airport is Ireland’s second busiest airport, with direct air links to over 40 locations, including the core UK cities and European hub airports such as London (Heathrow and Gatwick), Amsterdam (Schipol) and Paris (Charles de Gaulle). This makes Cork an easily accessible business location for globally operating companies. Direct flights to Boston and New York are due to commence in 2017.

The port of Cork is the key seaport in the south of Ireland, with 11 million tonnes of traffic and bringing over 145,000 cruise passengers and crew to the region in 2015. A €100m upgrade to the port of Cork will commence shortly which will future-proof Cork as an international gateway for trade. The recent landing in Cork of the new Hibernia Express undersea cable links Cork directly to a network of fibre cables across the USA and UK, and will offer speeds of up to 100Gbps.


Cork is networked – it’s easy to engage with all stakeholders and there’s a sense of common purpose that is driving the region forward. The public and private sector and higher education work together and collaborate on a range of projects ensuring a business eco-system which comprehensively meets the needs of new and existing businesses.

Cork’s start-up community has grown enormously and the strength of our entrepreneurship eco-system was reflected by the recent Global Entrepreneurship Network decision to hold the 2016 Start Up Nations Summit in Cork. The ‘Cork team’ can assist prospective investors through providing access to relevant business networks, influencers and decision makers.

In Cork we make it easy to introduce and connect you into local and global networks. Companies will find the necessary facilities and people that are ready and willing to help.

Cork city centre is now undergoing an exciting transformation, with several new projects being delivered that are rightly described as game changers for the region. Major projects are currently underway at the former Capitol Cinema and the Courts Service, Anglesea Street.

Cork is networked – it’s easy to engage with all stakeholders and there’s a sense of common purpose that is driving the region forward

Although we (and city centre stakeholders) aren’t only focussed on the big projects – we are also looking to the quick wins that can be achieved with limited funds to effect big impact, such as grassroots environmental improvements or artworks that make us smile.

In addition, the City Council’s Residential Delivery Strategy has identified a potential 5,300 units that can be delivered without any additional supporting infrastructure expenditure and a further 9,000 unit that require some expenditure. These units will be located where they can be serviced by sustainable transport and thus will not add greatly to the city’s carbon footprint, in line with the proposed National Planning Framework.

With the improving economy and the demonstrated commitment of all, I am convinced that 2016 and beyond will see our city centre continue to flourish and prosper. Ultimately we need to ensure that the city offer is the best that it can possibly be, that it offers a great quality of life for everybody.

After all, a healthy heart is essential to provide the lifeblood to our city and to drive the development of the region and that is what makes Cork city a great place to do business.

About the blogger

Appointed to the role of chief executive of Cork City Council in 2014, Ann Doherty is responsible for strategic direction and delivery of services for one of the largest local authorities in Ireland.

ann dohertyAnn leads a team of over 1,200 people and is responsible for a multi-million euro budget at Cork City Council.

An experienced business leader with over two decades in senior management roles in Ireland and the UK, Ann has been responsible for the implementation of transformative programmes to deliver change and operational success in large public sector organisations including the Health Service Executive (Ireland) and the National Health Service (UK). Ann is also a director of the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork and sits on the board of the Marymount University Hospital and Hospice.