Minister for Transport Shane Ross has announced the designation, on a temporary basis only, of five strategic maritime routes into and out of Ireland as Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes during Covid-19 for a period of up to three months. These are Dublin to Cherbourg and Rosslare to Fishguard, Pembroke, Cherbourg and Bilbao.
The Minister was speaking after Government approved the emergency provision of a maximum contribution of €15 million towards the costs involved in the continued operation of passenger ferry services on these routes in the three-month period. The operators currently providing these services are Irish Ferries, Stena Line and Brittany Ferries.
The support package will be restricted to the five designated routes and will be targeted at compensating the gap between specified costs and revenues generated on the services (the details of which will be established in contracts with the ferry companies). Transport companies will continue to pay shipping companies for the services on these routes as usual.