Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said (27th March 2013) that everyone in Dun Laoghaire; the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council, the Harbour Company Board and local business associations are working together to develop Dun Laoghaire Harbour and to maximise its potential into the future.
Deputy Mitchell O’Connor was speaking following the publication yesterday by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, of the new National Ports Policy. The Policy sets out a plan to transfer the corporate governance and oversight of the Harbour from the Department to the County Council, which is best placed to meet the long-term future needs of the harbour.
“As the third largest ferry port in the State, Dun Laoghaire Harbour has moved away in recent years from commercial port-related business to focusing on developing tourism, marine and recreational related activities.
“The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has done an excellent job in developing long-term future plans for the Harbour. The Minister’s decision to extend full control to the local authority, by making it a separate legal entity with share capital, owned by the local authority, will allow for the mutually beneficial development of the Harbour down the line.
“There are so many exciting projects attached to the Harbour with up to 14 cruise vessels, including the Queen Mary II, planning to come to Dun Laoghaire following a successful marketing campaign in the US by the Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group. This effort to develop the tourism potential of the Harbour will help it to maximise the use of the Harbour, and with an estimated additional 30,000 passengers and crew set to come ashore, the benefits for the town will be significant.
“The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Master Plan, which was published in 2011, aimed at increasing the tourism potential of the Harbour and getting the best out of what we have to offer. Proposals have already been put to An Bord Pleanála for the construction of a new quay that would be able to cater for larger vessels, to allow Dun Laoghaire to harness an increasing amount of tourism market share.
“The Gathering represents a brilliant opportunity for people who have an interest in Ireland to pay a visit to our shores. With a host of conferences taking place at the Harbour, including the diaspora and the bratacha (flag) conference, all minds are focused on how best to develop Dun Laoghaire Harbour as a cultural amenity, a tourist attraction and a marine and leisure amenity.”