I am keen to help mitigate any adverse impacts on the tourism industry, including cruise tourism. With these concerns in mind, I first met with Dublin Port Company on this issue in March, when the Company outlined its capital development plans and rationale for prioritisation in the context of Brexit, as well as the specifics with regard to cruise berths.
I have since held further, positive meetings with key stakeholders - including Dublin Port Company again and representatives of other ports, the tourism agencies and other industry stakeholders. These meetings have assisted the relevant bodies to consider the options available that could help mitigate any potential negative impacts on the cruise industry and Irish tourism more generally following Dublin Port’s strategic decision.
In my engagements with Dublin Port Company, I have always emphasised the need for it to take account of the broader impact of its commercial decisions. This includes the effect on sectors supporting the cruise tourism industry or serving cruise visitors, not just in Dublin but in other ports and associated regions around Ireland.
Through my wider stakeholder engagements, I have encouraged port and cruise industry stakeholders to take maximum advantage of other options available during the period of construction at Dublin port, when a reduced number of berths will be available for cruise calls. While Dublin Port is important in attracting cruise liners to Ireland through Dublin, other benefits can accrue to other ports around our coast.
In the meantime, Cobh continues as a dedicated cruise berth and will remain so post-Brexit. I also welcome the fact that the Port of Cork, Dun Laoghaire Harbour and Belfast Harbour are considering how they can take some of the additional business that may be lost as a result of Dublin Port's infrastructural works. In addition, Fáilte Ireland continues to support the development and promotion of the cruise tourism sector.