Trips to see Fungie at risk from new harbour charges
Dingle’s Fungie boats, which ferry tourists to see the resident harbour dolphin, are to cease to operate “with immediate effect” if new fishery harbour charges are imposed, a spokesman for the boatmen said.
They appealed for public support against the proposals for new charges at fishery harbour centres by Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney.
Fungie, a bottle-nosed dolphin named by local fishermen, appeared in Dingle in 1984 and he rarely moves beyond the harbour mouth. Trips to see him are a mainstay of the local tourism industry.
The new charges, if implemented as proposed, would mean the eight Fungie boats will have to find between €8,500 and €9,000, “in advance” of the season.
They simply will not be able to do it, chairman of Dingle Boatmen’s Association Jimmy Flannery said yesterday.
The current charges of about €2,500 to use the harbour are paid at the end of the season by the Fungie boatmen.
This method allows the boatmen to earn the money first, Mr Flannery said. “I don’t think people understand how serious this is,” he added.
He appealed to anyone working in tourism in Dingle and elsewhere to make submissions before the April 20th deadline.
Yachting interests will also be affected by the proposed new charges. They will also apply at Killybegs, Co Donegal; Rossaveel, Co Galway; Castletownbere, Co Cork; Dunmore East, Co Waterford and Howth, Co Dublin.