Coveney expresses concern Dublin Port decision on cruise liners

Tanaiste says plan to reduce number of passenger ships could hit tourism

The MV Astoria due to dock in Cobh on Monday.

The MV Astoria due to dock in Cobh on Monday.

 

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney has expressed concern about plans by Dublin Port to limit the number of cruise liners calling there and how it might impact on other ports including Cork which is preparing for a record number of cruise lines visits this season.

Mr Coveney said he had raised the issue with the Minister for Tourism Shane Ross.

“The decision that Dublin makes has an impact on other ports because of course the capital city has a very strong draw in terms of cruise liner traffic. Cruise liner traffic has been increasing year-on-year in Dublin but of course there is a space problem for Dublin Port.

“They have to prioritise how they use that space in the context of Brexit planning and more freight and more bulk product coming in and out of that port but I do think there needs to be a further discussion in terms of how Dublin Port can find a way of giving leadership on cruise liner traffic elsewhere.

“When cruise liners visit Dublin, they will also visit ports around the island of Ireland so there’s an impact on Cork, Waterford, Killybegs, Dingle and Belfast so we do need to try to ensure these decisions are made in the context of the national interest.

Mr Coveney made his comments as the Port of Cork is preparing itself for a record season with the first of some 102 cruise liners, MV Astoria due to dock in Cobh on Monday to start a season which will see an estimated 200,000 passengers and 80,000 crew call to the port.

According to Conor Mowlds, Port of Cork chief commercial officer, and recently appointed chairman of Cruise Ireland, Cork’s profile has been raised significantly in recent years, due to a series of glowing reports in some of the world’s leading cruise travel journals.

Mr Mowlds pointed out that the Port of Cork is capable of handling some of the largest liners in the world at its dedicated cruise berth in Cobh and while some 14 liners will make their maiden calls to the Port this season, the number of repeat visits to Cobh from cruise lines is particularly encouraging.

Mr Mowlds said the increased cruise calls to Cork are indicative of the wider global cruise business which has seen huge growth and he pointed to 2018 when an estimated 27.2 million people took a cruise on more than 450 cruise ships worldwide.