Wexford People

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Ferry company and port reach a deal over fees

WEXFORD Ferry Company, Celtic Link Ferries, has reached an agreement with Rosslare Europort to end a stalemate which had ensued over €100,000 in landing fees. It comes after the port company last week lodged a petition in court to wind up the company over alleged unpaid bills.

Seamus O'Flaherty, who owns the company along with brother Brendan O'Flaherty and William O'Leary of O'Leary International Transport Company, had said that Celtic Link were being overcharged in comparison with competitors Stena Line and Irish Ferries and other ports around the country. Rosslare Port had been demanding a landing fee of €14.92 for cars and €48 for freight vehicles, however for some time now Celtic Link Ferries have been paying €3 for cars and €35 for freight vehicles, as they believed that this was approximately what their competitors were paying.

John Lynch, General Manager of Rosslare Europort, said yesterday ( Tuesday) that talks had been ongoing and that the two sides had come to an agreement. ' I'm delighted to inform you that Celtic Link and ourselves have sorted our differences and have come to an agreement to move forward and we look forward to maintaining a good working relationship for the future.'

While Seamus O'Flaherty echoed Mr Lynch's sentiment that he looked forward to putting the whole incident behind them, he still believes that Celtic Link are being overcharged in comparisson with competitors. 'We've come to an agreement alright,' he said. 'But I'm not going to say that I believe that we're not being overcharged. The agreement we've reached with Rosslare Europort all depends on the findings of the Competition Authority who we've both agreed will come in and take a look at the case. They will look into what we are paying in relation to our competitors and what other ports are charging at the moment and then present their findings to both sides. As part of the agreement, both parties have agreed to accept the findings of the Competition Authority.

'I can tell you that I'm pretty certain that the competition are paying less than us in Rosslare. Maybe it's because they've been there longer, I don't know.'

Seamus also moved to distance Celtic Link Ferries from allegations that the company is in financial difficulty, saying: 'A lot of the stuff going around in the papers at the moment is nonsense. There's a lot of talk saying we're in financial trouble. I can assure you that this is not the case though and that the company is strong and we'll be around for years to come and will continue to sail where our competitors are pulling back.'