Tourism groups have reacted angrily to Dublin Port’s announcement that large cruise ships won’t be able to berth next year. The port company has defended its decision, saying that there are no berths available due to Brexit-related demand.
In a report by RTE’s Dublin correspondent John Kilraine, Niamh McCarthy of Excursions Ireland is quoted as saying: “The cruise lines are absolutely furious with this late announcement having had no indication that this was on the cards.”
“When tourism is down and beaten and on its last legs they have put the nail in the coffin for 2022 and beyond,” she added.
According to Excursions Ireland, large ships bring in 200,000 passengers a year and contribute around €17 million to the local economy. However, the port had previously cut cruise traffic to Dublin by half – limiting them to midweek sailings only.
According to Dublin Port, this was due to a steady increase in cargo shipping volume since 2012.
At the time, Jo Rzymowska, Celebrity Cruises’ Vice President and Managing Director for Ireland called the move “very disappointing” and asked Dublin port officials to reconsider the decision.
The pandemic put paid to 2020’s cruise schedule, while Brexit has seen a major uptick in cargo traffic – figures to March 2021 says traffic was up 18 per cent.
Ms McCarthy is unmoved.”Are we in a position economically to close the door on a growing industry which provides jobs for so many throughout the country?” she said.
“Are we putting Ireland off the map for cruise tourism? Will an itinerary without Dublin Port attract cruisers to Ireland or will they choose other regions instead?”