The future of plans for the redevelopment of Galway Port depends on the wording of a ports policy statement due to be considered by the Cabinet in the coming weeks.
This is according to Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh, who met with representatives of Galway Harbour Company, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Transport Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin to discuss the proposed €200 million redevelopment in the context of the impending ports policy statement, currently being finalised by the Department of Transport.
The proposed redevelopment would increase the ports’ capacity to accommodate large vessels and cruise liners, which would unlock major potential for Galway in the ocean tourism industry.
The planning application is being made under Article 6(4 ) of the EU Habitats Directive, which necessitates the development is required for Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest.
The Galway Harbour Company has been advised that a specific reference to the strategic importance of Galway Port in the ports policy document is considered critical to the success of the application.
Dep Walsh, who arranged the recent meeting, said the contents of the ports policy statement would have “hugely significant implications for the future of Galway Port and the development of the city”.
“This was communicated to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport at the meeting,” said Dep Walsh. “I am confident there will be cognisance of this fact when it comes to publication of the ports policy statement in the next few weeks.”
The Taoiseach has spoken publicly of his support and enthusiasm for the Galway Port project in the past, added Dep Walsh.
The national ports policy statement is expected to be brought before the Cabinet for consideration in around three weeks time.