Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1093, 1113, 1117)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1093. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to accommodate cruise ships berthing here in view of the fact that the new Dublin Port cruise berthing policy will reduce the number docking here; if he has engaged with Dublin Port in this regard; if he has undertaken a financial impact assessment in respect of this policy in the context of the number of tourists visiting Dublin and its surrounds (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13352/19]

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Michael McGrath

Question:

1113. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the decision by Dublin Port to restrict the number of cruise ships visiting from 2021; his views on the fact that implementing this policy will have a negative impact on the tourism offering not just in Dublin but also will have knock-on effects elsewhere due to a reduction in the number of cruise ships visiting ports such as Cork; the steps he plans to take to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13703/19]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1117. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to protect and enhance visits by cruise ships (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13728/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1093, 1113 and 1117 together.

I met with Dublin Port Company on the 20 March 2019 in relation to this issue.

Dublin Port is currently undertaking major capital infrastructure development in its Alexander Basin to provide additional cargo handling capacity for our growing economy. In the last six years there has been a 36% growth in freight at the port.

Dublin Port has confirmed that it will operate a full cruise season in 2019 and 2021 but that there will be some disruption to cruise business from 2021 to 2023 to enable construction work to take place while ensuring the port continues to handle large cargo volumes. Cruise berths will have to be limited to around 80 cruise ships yearly for a three year period from 2021. The port hopes to revert with increased cruise capacity after 2023 when it infrastructural works are completed and increase cruise calls back to 150 ships for the 2024/2025 season, and more thereafter.

To allow for this, Dublin Port has already secured planning permission to construct new berths for cruise ships on the North Wall Quay Extension. A cost benefit analysis is currently underway on these additional berths (due for publication later this year) and this forms a solid basis for discussion on how this vision can be brought to fruition.

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.