Number of cruise passengers visiting Ireland could quadruple in ten years

Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company calls for new facilities

Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company attracted 14 cruise ships to the port this summer. Photograph: Frank Miller/THE IRISH TIMES

Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company attracted 14 cruise ships to the port this summer. Photograph: Frank Miller/THE IRISH TIMES

Wed, Sep 18, 2013, 13:36

The number of cruise passengers visiting Ireland could quadruple over the next ten years if the right facilities are in place, an Oireachtas Joint Committee has heard.

Chairwoman designate of the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company Eithne Scott Lennon said the south Dublin port was a suitable location to develop a facility to cater for large, “next generation” cruise ships.

“With our unique setting and recent categorisation as a leisure port in the Government’s port policy, I strongly believe that Dún Laoghaire harbour offers the most suitable home for a cruise facility,” she told members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications.

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She said the Dún Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group has engaged with An Bord Pleanála with a view to building a new facility to cater for large cruisers. “There are no facilities for these ships in Dublin at present and this is a lost opportunity that needs to be addressed quite urgently in my view,” she said.

“The number of cruise passengers visiting Ireland could, we believe quadruple, over the next ten years but only if we invest in the right facilities, in the right location,” she added.

Ms Scott Lennon said passenger ferry traffic—the traditional mainstay of Dún Laoghaire harbour—had declined and the harbour now needed to target the cruise line market.

She said she envisioned a situation where Dún Laoghaire catered for cruise ships while Dublin Port concentrated on industrial shipping and roll-on/roll-off ferry services.

Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company attracted 14 cruise ships to the port this summer including the Queen Mary II and the Queen Elizabeth. Ms Scott Lennon said the ships brought some 30,000 visitors and crew to the area.