Kevin Doyle Blog

Writing and activism

Blarney Business Park: For This We Suffer?

with 5 comments

If you think about the straightforward human need for decent, basic necessities – housing, education, healthcare and a means to earn your way in the world – then a visit to the Blarney Business Park is the sort of thing that is likely to make you weep.

 = WASTESomewhere, a while ago now, some bunch of businessmen egged on by other local businessmen and assorted land developers, got the demented idea that the village of Blarney (located a few miles outside of Cork) needed its very own business park.  And so it came to pass …

You might imagine then that the construction of Blarney Business Park was part of some grand plan to meet some vital human need – after all isn’t it often said that that is exactly what the ‘free market’ excels at. You know, matching demand to supply and supply to demand and so on and so forth?  Oh ha, ha, ha!   You’re surely joking.

Not only is Blarney Business Park today just about devoid of life,  it is also in competition with a rash of other business park ventures located near its pew on the edge of the Cork-Mallow road.   Yes, there’s NorthPoint at Blackpool keenly looking for tenants – only a few kms away.  And also close by is Gateway Business Park who are offering loads and loads of ‘office space’, ‘warehouse space’ and other various ‘turnkey solutions’ to anyone who will venture in their gate.

Yes, one has to wonder?  What were those fine businessmen that conjured the Blarney Business Park into existence actually thinking?  What imaginary hole in the marketplace were they desperate to plug when they turned the sod for this gigantic waste of an effort?

[Of course, the truth is BBP was all about making a fast buck.  Let’s not doubt that for one moment.   The developers wanted to cash in on a perceived ever-enlarging economic expansion.  They were motivated only by greed for more profits.  But importantly – and this is key – these profit-zombies also had access to the cash, credit and wherewithal to make their plan realizable.  Human needs were never a factor in their skewed calculations. ]

It was developed and built by Bowen Construction, as far as I can tell.  Bowen was a one time major Irish building company that is now in receivership.  A recent Irish Times profile declared that Bowen were “established in 1968  [… and] grew to become one of the largest building and civil engineering contractors in the State with offices in Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Limerick and Waterford”.   Now Bowen are under the control of NAMA.  Which means what, dear reader?

Well, what NAMA means is that the plain people of Ireland are picking up the tab.  And how? Via wage cuts, pension cuts, cuts in resources to education, cuts in hospital services, ward closures.  And so on.

Look closely at the above photo and you will see something interesting.  Laughable too.  The canvas backdrop decorating this empty showroom, depicts what? No doubt it was installed to entice and stimulate those would be entrepreneurs whom it was imagined were out there and ready to flock to Blarney Business Park.

Your eyes are not deceiving you: it’s a vista straight from idyllic rural Ireland.   A narrow boreen somewhere out there in west Cork or Kerry, or Clare or somewhere like that.   Oh how wonderful it looks.  And what a thoughtful, original and appropriate inclusion too.  They really did think of everything didn’t they – those business men who conceived of Blarney Business Park.  Truly, no stone was left unturned.


5 Responses

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  1. Hi Kevin,

    I’m a construction professional that was employed on the above Project. I just wanted to give you a little background info. Firstly the park was built by Bowen Construction. What you might find more interesting is that it was also developed by one of John Bowen’s other companies. It was envisaged that the Coleman Brothers development on the other side of the tracks would effectively move the town of blarney out there. As such JB got in early and developed the infrastructure for this park and sold off the sites to business owners wanting new buildings. The deal was that he would have his architects design the building and Bowen Construction Build them for a fixed price. So Design and build. The buildings were not built with the view of renting or selling them afterwards. The sites for the four car show rooms were bought by Elm motors (Limerick) and Top Car (Victoria Cross). Bowen were paid for these buildings and sites. It was the venture by the car show rooms that failed and have now left the premises. So these buildings may be with Nama but not Bowen or the developeR (John Bowen). There is also a bank vault building and a number of warehouses that are occupied as far as I know but the park is far from its capacity both in completed buildings and land there to develope. The infrastructure is in place for far more buildings, this along with the land is via Nama directly from the developer.

    Having worked hard on these projects and dealt with some very difficult people, its hard to see these projects empty from my point of view. Worse still is that I am one of the innocent casualties of wreckless lending, greedy contractors and developers. I didn’t graduate in time to actually make any real money, burdened myself with a house and was in the end shafted by my employer despite my hard work. Now working far from family and home and still burdened with a house that is worth half what i paid for it.

    If you want any info on this project let me know.


    October 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  2. Oh and just for clarity, the panoramic landscape decal on in the show room was put up by the car show room owner not the developer. All 4 show rooms were open for over 18 months.


    October 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    • Hi,

      Thanks such a lot for the reply and for the info. This post has generated a little bit of interest so your additional info will be very useful for people checking out about BBP. It is quite a place and I first thought of going out to look at it properly after seeing it from the Cork-Mallow road. It is shocking indictment of what went on and as you know the end result for so many of us now is that we are paying a heavy price for all of this. Criminal, but I am sure you know that already.

      One of the worst thing IMHO is that the people who gave the green light to all of the greed and rampant development that went on back in the days of the Celtic Tiger are still running the show here (and elsewhere). Maybe a few new faces here and there but essentially the same game with the same people calling shots …

      Anyway thanks again and keep well.


      November 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

  3. Hi,

    Can anybody tell me what the unit with the high security is/was? Its located above the glass showrooms away from the mallow road. Thanks.


    May 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    • Hiya. Not sure at all. There are a couple of regular businesses in the Park


      May 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm

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