Economy of Cork

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The Elysian in Cork City, the tallest building in the Republic of Ireland, in 2009

The second largest city in Ireland, Cork has an economy focused on the city centre, which as of 2011, supported employment for 24,092 people.[1] According to 2006 figures, the top five employers in the area were public sector organisations, and included Cork University Hospital, University College Cork, Collins Barracks, Cork City Council and Cork Institute of Technology. Apple Inc. was the sixth largest employer, followed by Supervalu / Centra Distribution Ltd, Mercy University Hospital, Bon Secours Hospital and Boston Scientific.[1]

Industry and workforce[edit]

Most of the industry in Cork is concentrated around the Greater Cork area, taking in Cork city and its hinterland, supported by the Cork Suburban Rail network.[citation needed]

The immediate Cork city area has a population of 150,000 in the city and suburbs, while another 150,000 live within the commuter belt giving Metropolitan Cork a population of c. 300,000. Large city suburbs include Douglas (25,000), Bishopstown (13,000) and Mahon (12,000). Larger towns in the commuter belt are: Ballincollig (20,000), Glanmire (15,000), Carrigaline (13,000), Cóbh (12,887), Mallow (11,000), Midleton (10,336), Youghal (7,000), Fermoy (7,000), Bandon (6,000), Carrigtwohill (6,000), Blarney (5,000), Passage West (5,000), Kinsale (4,000), Macroom (4,000) and Ringaskiddy.

Some of the companies within this area include Pfizer (Pharmaceutical), GlaxoSmithKline (Pharmaceutical), Johnson & Johnson (Pharmaceutical), EMC (Data Storage), Apple inc. (European HQ), Avery Dennison (Financial Shared Services), Siemens Group (Third party multi-lingual tech support) and the Marriott Group (Shared Services and Customer Service Contact Centre), Centocor (Biopharmaceutical Manufacture), McAfee (Security Software, EU Operations Centre), VMware (Enterprise Software and International Support/Shared Services Centre), Clearstream and (Customer Services – On line Retail Activities).

There are two key third-level institutions in the city, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and University College Cork (UCC), which are the sixth and third largest employers in the city respectively[1] - the latter employing approximately 2,800 people.[2]

Information Technology and pharmaceuticals[edit]

Cork County Hall

Information Technology multinationals such as Apple, Amazon, EMC, IBM, McAfee Ireland Limited, SolarWinds, Siemens and VMware INC have a presence in the city.

The area around Cork is home to a number of pharmaceutical and bio-pharmaceutical companies, with a number of pharmaceutical companies located in Little Island and Ringaskiddy.


Mahon Point Shopping Centre is County Cork's largest shopping center, having opened in 2005. Almost €737 million has been invested in Mahon, Cork,[citation needed] including the N25 dual carriageway extending from Dunkettle Roundabout to Cork Airport & Cork City via a €137 million tunnel, the Jack Lynch Tunnel, which opened in 1999. Construction began on the shopping centre in 2000, and opened in 2005. Other larger retail centres in the city and suburbs include Wilton Shopping Centre, Blackpool Shopping Centre , and two centres in the suburb of Douglas.

Offices and business parks[edit]

Larger office buildings in the city include Half Moon Street, Penrose Wharf and The Elysian in the city centre, with Linn Dubh and The Atrium in Blackpool, and City Gate Park in Mahon.

The larger IDA business parks in Cork City and surroundings include Little Island Business Park and Cork Airport Business Park. Other smaller parks include Cork Business and Technology Park, Kilbarry Business and Technology Park, Carrigtwohill Business and Technology Park and Ringaskiddy Business Park.

Recent city centre office developments include One Albert Quay, a commercial development consisting of 175,000 sq ft of office space on Albert Quay. Work commenced in September 2014 and the building opened in March 2016. The complex has seven floors as well as two basement levels, and is home to Johnson Controls (Tyco International), PricewaterhouseCoopers, Investec and others.[3] The building's developer described it as "Ireland's smartest building" due to the "smart systems" installed in the building.[4]

Planned developments[edit]

As of March 2017, several developments are underway within the city, such as the proposed 150 million euro development of the old Beamish and Crawford brewery site, which includes a planned viewing tower, tourist centre in the former brewery counting house, cinema, retail units, residential accommodation and events centre.[5] Construction on the planned 6,000-seat events centre was proposed to commence during 2015, but as of 2017 has yet to commence fully due to "rising costs".[6] Other developments include a multi-building €90 million office scheme at "Navigation Square" near Albert Quay,[7][8][9] a 65,000 square foot office development at Camden Place,[10][11] a large office and residential development at Horgans Quay and Cork Kent railway station,[12][13] as well as others within the city.[14]

Planned developments outside the city include a proposed data centre in Little Island,[15] and a program of projects around Cork Harbour, to "transform Cork into the 'Sydney of Europe' by the end of 2018".[16] This included a €40m redevelopment of Spike Island as a tourist attraction, with a further €40m to clean up the previous Irish Steel/Irish Ispat site on Haulbowline Island.[17] As of late 2016, the latter project was re-estimated to a cost of least €61m,[18] and queried for its suitability.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Cork City Employment & Land Use Survey 2011 (PDF) (Report). Cork City Council. March 2012. 
  2. ^ UCC Strategic Plan 2013 – 2017 (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "One Albert Quay - Occupiers". Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Ireland's 'smartest building' opens on Albert Quay in Cork". Independent News & Media. 7 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Our Projects - Brewery Quarter, Cork". Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "Request For Extra €12 Million For Cork Event Centre Criticised". Red FM. 21 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Work to begin on Cork's largest office development this summer". Evening Echo. 29 March 2017. 
  8. ^ "Navigation Square - The Buildings". Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Commercial property in brief: 73 homes proposed for eircom site in Ballinlough". Irish Examiner. 23 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Site clearance and demolition of Cork's Camden Place to begin February". Irish Examiner. 26 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "150 construction jobs announced for Cork at new €20m office development". Irish Examiner. 26 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "Kent Station revamp will transform Horgans Quay". Cork Examiner. 7 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "Horgan's Quay site to play key role in Cork city growth". Cork Examiner. 28 July 2016. 
  14. ^ "Press Release - 450-job boost for Cork's business boulevard with new office block". JCD Group Property Development. 23 March 2017. 
  15. ^ "Press Release - JCD as a part of a joint venture are developing a data centre campus in Little Island, 5 miles to the east of Cork City". JCD Group Property Development. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  16. ^ "Cork harbour to get 'Sydney of Europe' makeover". Independent News & Media. 28 February 2017. 
  17. ^ "Cork City Developments: Eight dynamic projects giving the city a facelift". Irish Examiner. 6 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "€61m for Haulbowline 'not enough' to convert old steel plant to public amenity". Irish Examiner. 26 August 2016. 
  19. ^ "'Unsuitable' Haulbowline plan given €61m". The Times. 13 December 2016.