Sunday 20 October 2019

DUP sizing up Dublin's cruise business for Belfast Harbour

Ergo

In a surprising move, the port's decision has piqued the interest of the DUP. Stock Image
In a surprising move, the port's decision has piqued the interest of the DUP. Stock Image

The Dublin Port Company's decision to limit cruise ship activity has been hit by some well-publicised choppy water.

Port boss Eamonn O'Reilly announced in these pages last month that rising freight volumes and the need to create space due to Brexit meant that trade needed to be prioritised over tourism.

Naturally, business owners have hit out at the plan and have spawned the All-Ireland Cruise Ship Action Group.

The group has sought the support of the Government, warning that as much as €50m in consumer spending could be lost "forever".

They have also received the support of local politicians. Independent councillor Christy Burke is set to put a motion before Dublin City Council tomorrow asking it to halt the decision made by the port company.

Ergo understands that the cruise campaign has also received the backing of lord mayor Nial Ring, who sits on the board of business representative group Dublin Town.

In a surprising move, the port's decision has piqued the interest of the DUP.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has called on Belfast Harbour to "look closely" at the likelihood of declining numbers of cruise ships entering Dublin.

"On the face of it, their position appears to lack vision or strategic development. It does however present a potential opportunity gain for Belfast," Robinson said.

"Any inability to call at Dublin will not remove the desire to visit our shared island. Our port is open and increased numbers of visiting cruise liners are more than welcome.''

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