Details have emerged of Chinese investors’ plans for Dundalk following a meeting with the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce. The investors have identified Dundalk as a potential new “urban centre” for Ireland, with plans for a new university, regional hospital and light rail system on the cards.

The initial proposal plans for a population of 30,000, with the hope of growing this population to 100,000 over time. The population will be made up of a mixture of Irish residents and ex-patriots from Hong Kong.

The idea was first proposed by Ivan Ko, CEO of the Victoria Harbour Group, an international charter city investment company. In the wake of strict new laws imposed by China on the self-governing territory, he says that many residents are considering moving away from the city.

Mr.Ko has identified Dundalk as the potential site for this “charter city” for Hong Kong ex-patriots. Ko has publicly stated that Dublin is too expensive but has said “anywhere near Dublin” would be welcomed by Hong Kong people. He added that “we are targeting the city ultimately or ideally to be 50% Hong Kong people and 50% local people together with people from around the world”.

Ko and other backers of the project have emphasised the need for the Irish government and local authorities to work closely with private investors in order for the project to be a success for all parties. Ko added that, “post-Brexit, such a new city would help make Ireland more attractive for international financial services”.

Paddy Malone, PRO of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, was among a group from the chamber who met with the Victoria Harbour Group in Dundalk yesterday.

Following the meeting, Malone said the Hong Kong investors “have identified that we have a very strong infrastructure in most areas”, commenting on our broadband and road network in particular. He further stated that the investors emphasised the need for a light rail, regional hospital, and a university, but specified that such developments are “all on agenda with the 2040 plan”.

Adam O’Sullivan – Reporter