The classification of Galway Port as a port of regional significance and not a national port able to claim European funding, must be reversed immediately as it leaves the majority of the west coast without a port of national significance.
The call on the Government and on the Department of Transport to reverse the classification was made last night by Galway TD Eamon O Cuiv, who said that the decision was a serious blow to the region.
Del O Cuiv, the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht and Island Affairs says the downgrading of Galway Port is a major blow for the Western region and that he disputes the reasons given for the classification.
“Galway port is no longer a national port following a decision to categorise it as a “Port of Regional Significance”.
Deputy Ó Cuív said last evening that he is extremely disappointed that Galway Port is no longer classified as a national port.
“The categories as set out by the 2013 National Ports Policy sees Galway designated as a Port of Regional Significance, rather than a Port of National Significance.
“This downgrade will have a major impact on Galway and the surrounding areas.There is now no national port along the west coast north of Shannon-Foynes, which is on the southside of the Shannon estuary.
“It is incredible to think that a coastline of this size is being left without a national port. The downgrade will also have a cost implication for the port itself as it will no longer be able to apply for European funding as only national ports are eligible to apply under the Trans European Transport Networks (Ten-T Regulation ).“
The Galway TD said that Transport Minister Shane Ross claims that Galway Port was downgraded because it does not have sufficient tonnage, but Dep O Cuiv feels that this is unfair because of restrictions.
“I have regularly highlighted the fact that the tonnage in Galway is constrained is because of the fact that it is a tidal port. With the new plan for Galway and the development of the transport and of raw materials in and out of the port, Galway could become a major port and should have retained the status of national port.
“This is a major disappointment to Galway, particularly in view of the plans Galway Port has to upgrade its basic infrastructure to a higher standard. I will continue to fight for the west and I am calling on the Government to reverse its policy in this regard and treat Galway and the West fairly, before it is too late”, concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.