THE elected members of Wexford County Council have unanimously passed a motion calling on the government to look at amalgamating Rosslare Europort with Belview Port in Waterford.
The motion was brought by Independent councillor Ger Carthy, who proposed that, in light of Brexit and other market influences, an amalgamation of the south east ports would be beneficial. He called for “strategic investment in the ports, in particular through the purchase of additional land for the expansion of Rosslare Europort and the advance construction of the Rosslare Europort Harbour Access Road” as well as “an amalgamation of the ports structure and governance to create a Tier 1 port as a combined entity”. He also called for the combined entity to be designated as “the service port for offshore renewables in the Irish and Celtic Seas”.
The motion found favour with Cllr Carthy’s colleagues. Fianna Fáil councillor John Fleming lamented that Rosslare had been designated a Tier 2 port in the first place, laying blame with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who was Minister for Transport at the time. He said that the study didn’t include passenger numbers and that it was his belief that Rosslare could have been Tier 1.
Fine Gael’s Jim Moore was vociferous in his support for the motion.
“There’s an underpinning element behind this that we’ve not seen before,” he said.
“That is the co-operation with other local authorities in the south east. If we’re going to continue to grow, we’re going to need to look at co-operation. Rosslare is roll-on, roll-off freight only. Waterford is load-on, load-off. We need to be able to offer both.
"There’s a strategic importance here that needs consideration, not just in the council chambers of the south east, but at cabinet level too.”
The motion was passed with no dissenting voices.