I met with Dublin Port Company on the 20 March 2019 in relation to this issue.
Dublin Port is currently undertaking its most ambitious capital infrastructure development programme in over a century. It will provide additional cargo handling capacity and will future-proof the port in terms of being able to facilitate larger-sized vessels into the future (in terms of both length and draft). This is necessary as in the last six years alone there has been a 36% growth in freight at the port.
Given the space constraints in Dublin Port, to enable this construction work to take place, while ensuring the Port continues to process the cargo volumes required by the economy will mean that for a number of seasons cruise berths will have to be limited.
Dublin Port has always actively supported the growth of cruise tourism into the Port, as can be evidenced by the impressive increase in cruise ship calls in the last number of years. Dublin Port has planning permission from An Bord Pleanála to construct new berths for cruise ships on North Wall Quay Extension. The temporary reduction in berths available to cruise calls between 2021 and 2023 is regrettable. However the Port has confirmed that it will operate a full cruise season in 2019 and 2020 and it is the intention of the port, to build cruise calls back to 150 ships for the 2024/2025 season.
The port is currently undertaking an analysis of its cruise strategy, which is due for publication later this year.
In the interim Cobh continues as a dedicated cruise berth and it will remain so post Brexit. The Port of Cork has advised that they are working with Belfast Harbour to see if they can take some of the business that may be lost as a result of Dublin infrastructural works.
Fáilte Ireland (the National Tourism Development Authority) supports the development and promotion of various tourism sectors, including cruise tourism.