Transport links to the rest of Europe
Sir, – Following on your correspondent’s letter (November 27th) on expanding the facilities at Rosslare, surely it is time that we now need a minister with the foresight of Sean Lemass.
It was 1941 that as minister for supplies he founded Irish Shipping, which between then and 1943 had 15 ships of varying size ensuring our exports and imports at a time of dire need.
This need is now being repeated by Brexit. We now have perhaps two years to act as Sean Lemass did in 1941.
As the French transport minister has stated, there is capacity in French ports for expansion.
As there is indeed here in Ireland also, which apart from Rosslare, has Dublin, Waterford and Cork ports also available for expansion.
Irish Shipping continued and expanded to include larger ships of up to 72,000 tons, including a tanker fleet, until 1984.
In 1984 it was liquidated by the then coalition government amidst great opposition. The main reason was due to an over-expansion of the fleet through questionable charter deals and a general shipping slump and not to the general running of the company.
A view of many in business felt that the matter could have been handled by a route other then liquidation.
Here there is a comparison with another action of Lemass introducing the transatlantic service of Aer Lingus in 1948 which was nullified by a later coalition but thankfully subsequently brought back again by Fianna Fáil.
If the tailbacks on the landbridge service materialise as expected, the need for an expanded direct connection with our European partners will be vital.
Now is the time for the Coalition to act positively and erase the errors of the past. – Yours, etc,