The Shannon Foynes Port Company’s objections to the expansion of Galway Port are “spurious”, “without any sound basis”, and motivated by “self-interest”, according to Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish.
Dep Grealish launched a blistering attack on the Limerick based company during an oral hearing being conducted by An Bord Pleanála into the planned €126 million redevelopment of the harbour in Galway city, accusing the SFPC of objecting to the proposed development “simply for their own financial gain”.
“Foynes seem to think they have a God-given right to take all the business along the western seaboard,” he said. “They don’t want any other port to compete with them in any way and they are afraid if Galway gets the go-ahead they will be at a loss.”
Northern Europe is the second fastest growing region for cruise tourism in the world, and the number of trips were up by five per cent last year, with that trend is predicted to continue. In Ireland, Dublin is expected to receive more than 100 cruise ship visits in 2015 while the Port of Cork at Cobh will have more than 50.
Dep Grealish told the oral hearing that the Galway Port redevelopment will be of major importance to both the city and county, both economically and in terms of tourism, and that Galway itself is “ideally located”.
“Rather than taking away cruise business from the other ports,” he said, “an expanded Galway Port will complement them and offer cruise companies a real alternative when planning European itineraries.
“It’s not just Galway city that will benefit from this influx of thousands of visitors – there will be day trips across to the Burren in Clare, trips to Connemara, to the Aran Islands, up Corrib Country. The return in terms of jobs will be immense.”