Time for the Volvo legacy to result in port development
What would Roy Keane make of it all? Getting up out of the warm beds at ungodly hours of the morning to stand by the dockside, singing The Fields of Athenry and ole ole and clapping in boats from far flung corners of the globe. He’d raise the eyes of heaven and say that it’s not good enough boy, that we shouldn’t be clapping in small boats, that we deserve better; that we should be staying in our beds til we get the massive boats we deserve, the oil tankers, the cruise liners, ships that act as midfield generals, ships that won’t be blown around in the wind on the sea, bossed by waves or bigger boats. He’d tell us to cop on and get back into the leabas.
And as always with Roy, there would be a point to what he says. Not that we should lose any of our welcoming nature or refuse to pass on the welcome we have for the Volvo visitors, but that it is now time for Galway Port to play host to vessels that can consistently generate a benefit for the city and for the region.
This week has been marvellous, a true celebration of all that we are best at. It has been a triumph of human spirit, voluntary effort, endeavour, creativity, and energy; and credit must go in shiplaods to those who organised it or who had a role to play in ensuring it went smoothly.
However, what we must not do on Monday morning when all are shipped up and gone is to lose the momentum that has been built up over the past while. We should try to bottle this force and ask how advanced are plans to develop the city as a cruise liner location. Already this year we have seen several cruise ships dock. Now we should be further emboldened to address all the obstacles and move this to the next stage.
Galway Harbour is unique in that it is located just a few hundred yards away from the city streets. It is a shame that this proximity is only used every time we host the Volvo.
This is the sort of proximity that the major cruise line companies would love to have to other cities around the world. In most other ports, cruise line passengers have to board a coach to travel from the ship to the port entrance. In Galway, passengers could walk down the gangway and within 10 minutes have their shopping bags full of geansais, leprechauns, art, and be spending in a manner that would truly benefit our region.
The lasting legacy of this Volvo finale should be that every effort is made to ensure that the port development goes ahead, that every objection is met and addressed, that every i is dotted and t crossed so that it can go ahead strongly.
Galway's future would be secured if we were to attract cruise liners here during the summer season. Imagine the employment it would create, the buzz it would generate.
This has been one of the most successful weeks in Galway’s history. Now let’s build on that and move forward.