Dún Laoghaire and cruise ships

 

Sir, – The news that Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council will not proceed with an investment in cruise-ship facilities is an act of self-harm and an admission of defeat to the forces of elitism, represented by the Dún Laoghaire harbour yacht clubs and their unlikely allies, the local People Before Profit clique (“Dún Laoghaire’s controversial cruise ship plan scrapped”, News, May 22nd).

It represents a victory for those who want to resist any significant future commercial role for the harbour and for the town of Dún Laoghaire; it is, without doubt, a death-knell for this community which is already in serious economic difficulty. And the arguments put forward in defence of this Luddite approach were and are spurious as well as myopic.

One has only to look at Helsinki, also with two adjacent commercial ports, to discover that both ports take in a combined €60 million per annum in cruise ship revenue, during a relatively short cruise season due to the Baltic Sea climatic conditions. Both passengers and crew spend an average in excess of €50 per day in the port environs. The latter group, who normally make up half of all on board cruise ships, are constrained by their work to remain close to their ships, and so local commerce in Dún Laoghaire would benefit directly from their expenditures.

A once-off investment of €30 million by the council would have been recouped within a very short time, if the Helsinki precedent had been emulated.

Instead, we allow ourselves to be intimidated by what I witnessed to be a small, quirky demonstration along the East Pier with a few small boats circling around in the background, hooting their horns; news photos of the occasion flattered.

Have we no aspiration to secure a prosperous future for our community in Dún Laoghaire? – Yours, etc,

DÓNAL DENHAM,

Dalkey,

Co Dublin.