Dublin Port proposal to cut cruise liner numbers a ‘big worry’
Port plans to reduce cruise ships due to need for increased container capacity post-Brexit
Cruise liner passengers arriving in Dublin Port. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he did not want to speak for Dublin Port Company because “it needs to make commercial decisions itself”.
But he said the indication from Dublin Port that it was looking to limit cruise liner traffic “is a big worry in terms of the overall strategy on cruise liner tourism”.
Mr Coveney was responding to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who said Ministers were travelling the globe promoting Irish tourism in particular, yet Dublin Port was “developing a policy that would substantially reduce the number of cruise liners coming into the country. The cruise liner business is worth €50 million in revenue.”
He said the port planned to reduce the number of cruise ships allowed into Dublin from 160 this year to 80 in 2021 because of the need for increased capacity for container traffic when the UK leaves the EU.
Mr Martin said the cruise sector brought revenue to retail and hospitality sectors in Dublin, Cork and Belfast. Other areas including Galway were anxious to develop this sector, but “If the capital is not on the itinerary, these other locations will lose out significantly”.
Mr Coveney said he would raise the issue with the Minister for Transport.
He acknowledged that the port company “has pressures it is responding to, and in the context of Brexit, doing so in an extraordinarily efficient way”. It had capacity issues it needed to take into account.
But he said that “as a shareholder of Dublin Port Company, there does need to be a conversation”.