Political rivalries have been put aside in a bid to finally see Rosslare Europort achieve its potential. Although Chairman of the Rosslare District Cllr Ger Carthy went head to head with independent TD Verona Murphy in the last election, he is voicing his support for her calls to secure more operators from the harbour.
Having also been outspoken on the subject of the port in recent years, Cllr Carthy said it was positive to see the issue being driven out there.
'I would support Verona in her endeavours to secure more operators from Rosslare Europort,' he said. 'I don't know if the suggestion of moving Dublin Port down to Wexford will be a runner, it may just be flying a kite, but I'm glad to see Rosslare being raised. Many politicians were happy to raise the issue of the port around election time and haven't been seen since.'
Cllr Carthy believes that the only way that Rosslare Europort can truly progress is by looking at its management.
'In my opinion, I think the port should be operated by a commercial state company, just like any other port in the country,' he said. 'A lack of investment from Iarnróid Eireann over two decades has brought it to a stagnant level. We were all given a commitment two years ago that a €25 million investment would be forthcoming that would provide a new linkspan, an extension to berth one and other infrastructure works. Twenty-four months have gone by now and if there's a "master-plan" then it must be in a drawer at Iarnróid Eireann because there's nothing before the planning authority.'
'Iarnróid Eireann is a transport company that specialises in trains. They are not the gold standard when it comes to port matters. The company has given significant employment over decades and, in fairness, they have invested in Senior Management down in the port, but that's the only investment I've seen.'
In relation to Deputy Murphy's proposal, Cllr Carthy has his doubts that it's something that can be brought across the line.
'I don't think the political will is there to remove the port from the capital,' he said. 'I can't see any major changes under this government. Leo Varadkar was the Minister for Transport that allowed Rosslare to be designated Tier 2 instead of Tier 1 status. When these two parties become one, I'd fear that there just won't be the political will to do it. Equally, if the 640 acres at Dublin Port were sold, I can't see that money being handed over for re-investment in Rosslare. I would, however, support any endeavour to bring more business and operators to Rosslare Europort.'