Many thought it would not happen before the Volvo Ocean Race. Many believed it would not happen long after the race left Galway, but this week it was confirmed that the massive oil tanks at the docks will be taken down by the end of April.
On Tuesday it was announced that the Irish owned fuel retailer Topaz has agreed to decommission its storage tanks in Galway Harbour ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race’s visit to the city in May.
Edward Holdings had reached agreement to purchase the Enwest Oil Terminal, located in Galway Harbour. This has allowed the acceleration of the process whereby the oil tanks can be demolished.
The site on which the tanks are located is the preferred location for the ‘Event Village’ for the Galway leg of the race.
Topaz said the 10 tanks will be taken down by the end of this month and the company’s facilities relocated to a new state of the art storage terminal at the Galway Harbour Enterprise Park - Enwest.
“The fact the tented village will now be located in the preferred location is a huge boost to the event,” said Frank Bergin, Topaz’s chief operating officer. “It should contribute to making it an even bigger success. It is also significant that the harbour area and city will be seen at their best by the thousands of visitors to the city and by the television audience of 1.8 billion.”
The Enwest Oil Terminal encompasses 6.5 acres of land in the Galway Harbour Enterprise Park and was built by specialist contractors Cold-chon, led by John Killeen. It is a state-of-the art storage and distribution facility with a capacity to store up to 40,000 tonnes of oil.
The facility is designed to operate and be compliant to the highest international environmental and safety standards. The terminal has received the approval of the Health and Safety Authority.
Speaking about the acquisition, Gerry Barrett, CEO of Edward Holdings said:
“With today’s acquisition, we believe we are playing a part in strengthening Galway’s economic and infrastructural development. This move could go a long way to accommodate a successful stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race.”
Independent Cllr Declan McDonnell, who has been working ‘behind the scenes’ to secure the removal of the tanks, has welcomed the news.
“I’m delighted and this is good for Galway,” he told the Galway Advertiser. “Gerry Barrett has contributed much to this and it is a credit to a man who believes in, and is good to, Galway. It’s also terrific news for the race organisers. The city can now look forward to the boats arriving on May 23 and hopefully it will be good for the city’s economy.”
Fine Gael Cllr Brian Walsh, a member of the Harbour Board, said: “This has been a priority of the board for a number of years and today’s announcement is positive news for the city. A lot of hard work has gone into this from the Harbour Board and other agencies.”
Let’s Do It Galway, the organisers of the Galway Volvo Ocean Race, has welcomed the decision by Topaz to decommission the tanks.
“We appreciate the efforts of Topaz and all parties involved in this negotiation,” said Let’s Do It Galway chairman John Killeen. “The support we have received from Failte Ireland and through business both nationally and locally has been outstanding in the current environment. We can now showcase the best of Ireland to a global audience.”
Mr Bergin also believes Topaz’s move to Enwest will have long term benefits for Galway.
“This move will facilitate the development of the harbour and docklands area,” he said. “By refocusing on the potential of this area we can deliver significant job creation and revenue to the local economy and play an active role in attracting further inward investment to the benefit of the entire region.”