Port development still a top priority, says Galway Harbour Company

The development of the port “remains a top priority for the Galway Harbour Company”, CEO Eamon Bradshaw vowed this week following announcements that the planning permission application to An Bord Pleanala has been revised and refined to take into account the current economic climate.

According to a statement received from Galway Harbour Company (GHC ) the revised development is a scaled back version of the original proposal, however, it will also allow for the future growth and expansion of the port when economic conditions improve. The GHC has now scrapped plans to achieve the project in two phases, opting instead to complete it in four phases at a cost of €190 million.

Phase one, which will be funded by the GHC to the tune of an estimated €50 million, will now involve the construction of a sheltered quay of 660 metres and makes provision for a turning circle for some of the world’s largest cruise liners and tankers. It is thought that this new phase will allow the port to sustain and grow its current core business and is essential to the current operating needs for the port.

Phases two and three will allow for the provision of a rail link to accommodate rail freight and the construction of a quay for the inshore fishing fleeet. Phase four makes provision for the development of a western marina that will be capable of berthing 216 leisure craft. Completion of all four phases is estimated for 2017. The GHC is currently engaging with An Bord Pleanala to finalise the planning submission which it is hoped will take place early next year.

Mr Bradshaw said: “The immediate requirement is to develop the port to a level where it can facilitate larger vessels including cruise liners in order for the company to continue to sustain and grow the core business of the port. The most prudent approach to the development is to revise the timeframe for the overall master plan and to complete the work in stages, thus making it financially feasible while meeting the immediate requirements of the port’s core business and customers.

“The Galway Harbour Company are committed to engaging in a robust public consultation session which is now likely to happen in January 2011, once An Bord Pleanala approve the planning process. The support and understanding of the Galway community in terms of getting this development across the line is something we take very seriously,” he said.

More information regarding the revised submission can be found on www.galway harbour.com.

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