An overview of the development of Cork Harbour and its environs.

John O'Donoghue reports for 'Seven Days' on the changes taking place in and around Cork Harbour and examines how industrialisation is affecting the landscape and the people that live there.

Cork Harbour is one of the finest, natural, deep-water harbours in the world. It's also one of the most beautiful.

However, the natural beauty of the harbour is set against the emergence of growing industry with trade and commerce making their mark all along the harbour. 

From the Whitegate Oil Refinery and the site of the new ESB Power Station, to the Spire of St Coleman's in the Cathedral port town of Cobh, evidence of industrialisation abounds. 

Cork is well on the way to becoming the Ruhr Valley of Ireland.

At the centre of the change is the Cork steel industry - the state owned Irish Steel Holding. Verolme Dockyard is a place where large machines and complex technology meet and provide hundreds of jobs. The construction of the £78 million Nitrigin Eireann plant at Marino Point is the largest plant of its kind in Europe and is further evidence of industrialisation in the region. The plant is due for completion in March 1978 but under strict planning considerations. 

Further industrialisation includes the giant Pfizer Corpoation at Little Island, the Japanese Mitsui Company, and Penn Chemicals. 

All along the harbour, a powerful mix of oil refining, steel mills, ship building and chemical plant provide a mixture of state companies and multi-nationals whose joint efforts have meant thousands of new jobs for Cork and a new lifestyle, cosmopolitan and local at the same time.

The Cork Harbour Commissioners published the Cork Harbour Plan in 1972 to provide structure to development. However, the plan has been put on hold due to lack of government funding and as such Cork lacks the future jobs for its growing population. 

A 'Seven Days' report by John O'Donoghue broadcast on 23 July 1976.