In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit TD for Dun Laoghaire, has described today’s announcement that the Stena Ferry line is pulling out of Dun Laoghaire harbour as “a massive blow for Dun Laoghaire” and a result of the “abysmal failure of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company’s management and wider national maritime policy.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett called for the entire board of the Harbour Company to be removed and for the harbour company to be put under full public control.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that the Dun Laoghaire Harbour company had, over many years, “wasted vast sums of money and time on hair-brained and utterly inappropriate plans and “master-plans”, while failing to protect the harbour as a working harbour and public amenity.” He said the company had “systematically ignored the views of the public, harbour users and workers.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett added that the “on-going mismanagement and decline of Dun Laoghaire harbour has been “ably facilitated by successive governments” who he said “failed to recognise the harbour’s real value and importance” and who more generally “failed to appreciate and develop Ireland’s maritime potential and the potential of our harbour’s and ports.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett warned that the announcement of Stena’s withdrawal would now be used by the Harbour Company as “yet another excuse to accelerate the back-door privatisation of Dun Laoghaire harbour and promote the company’s mad-cap and utterly inappropriate “master-plan.”
He concluded: “Ireland is surrounded by the sea. We are a maritime nation. Dun Laoghaire harbour is a jewel in the crown of a network of harbour’s and ports around this country with endless potential. At a local level and national level, we have failed to protect and develop that maritime resource and potential. The Harbour board must now be removed and this vital asset and wonderful amenity must be brought under full public control before it’s too late. At a national level we need a fundamental change of Maritime policy.”