Fianna Fáil Councillor Mary Hanafin has said she is extremely disappointed by the loss of the passenger ferry service from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead.
Councillor Hanafin has said she is concerned about the impact the withdrawal of the service will have on the local economy and is very supportive of efforts being made to bring a new carrier into the area.
Councillor Hanafin commented: “This is very sad day for Dun Laoghaire. The route to Holyhead has been in operation for decades and has been a huge part of the character of our community and a big contributor to the local economy. It is essential we see a new carrier brought on board in Dun Laoghaire to ensure further development of the marine features for the town.
“There is huge potential for expansion, growth and increased employment through the further development of Dun Laoghaire harbour. It is true that passenger numbers have been in decline on this route but more than 140,000 passengers and 40,000 vehicles passed through it in 2014 and this would serve as a significant income stream for a new carrier.
“It is essential that the jobs at Stena are secured into the future. We also need to see action from the Government. The Government should immediately move to progress the new diaspora centre for Dun Laoghaire. Funding has already been sought from Europe for this project and Tourism Ireland must also work closely with Dun Laoghaire Harbour to expand the cruise ship business which has huge potential for the area.
“The seasonal traffic supported by the ferry service has also been of economic benefit to businesses. Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has assured me that it is working to replace the service and has had preliminary contact with potential operators and is seeking expressions of interest through the etenders website.
“I share the view that unfortunately it is unlikely that a new ferry service will be up and running by this summer but I hope the necessary agreements can be reached with a new operator to ensure the service is restored for next summer.”