A group of businesses across the tourism, retail and transport sectors have come together to campaign against the Dublin Port Company’s surprise ban on cruise ships entering Dublin Port from 2021. The group, which will be known as the All-Ireland Cruise Ship Action Group (AICSAG), was launched recently at an event in Buswells Hotel in Dublin.
The group was formed following Dublin Port’s recent decision that is in stark contrast to its activity in the past 10 years of promoting Dublin Port as a cruise destination and highlighting the benefits that cruise ships bring to the Irish economy and tourism business.
AICSAG will be ramping up its campaign to reverse the decision by hosting a series of roadshows and media briefings across the island of Ireland, stopping off at principal locations such as Belfast, Cork and Waterford before travelling to the west and northwest of Ireland. The group is made up of concerned businesses in the retail, transport and tourism sectors who will be severely impacted by Dublin Port’s move. The group has the backing of Dublin Town and Retail Excellence Ireland.
The Group’s spokesperson, Niamh McCarthy, Chief Executive, Excursions Ireland, said: “The Dublin Port Company’s decision will devastate Irish tourism and is driving a death nail into our business. Last year, cruise ships brought over 442,000 visitors to Ireland and generated over €50 million for the Irish economy. If Dublin Port is allowed to go ahead with its plan, all of this will be lost forever. We are calling on Government and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to take immediate action to protect our jobs and businesses.
“For the past 10 years, the Dublin Port Company has played an important role by increasing the numbers of cruise ships docking in Dublin and was at the forefront of highlighting their benefit to the Irish economy. Dublin Port has performed a compete sea change, to everyone’s amazement. Its latest damaging strategy has come out of nowhere and will risk the many thousands of jobs in Ireland dependent on the sector. This sudden change in policy is a total shock to the all-Ireland tourism sector and its international stakeholders.’’
Another AICSAG member, Feargal Barton, Barton’s Transport, said that the Dublin Port Company’s decision will also have a catastrophic impact on Ireland’s other port cities of Belfast, Cork and Waterford. ‘‘The cruise companies market Ireland as a destination and, in addition to Dublin, the cruise ships stop off at Belfast, Waterford and Cork. Without access to Dublin Port, cruise companies will no longer stop in other Irish ports and will take their business to other European destinations. The cruise companies arrange cruises and marketing plans two years in advance, so urgent action is required to save the business for the 2021 season.’’
The recent decision by the Dublin Port Company to stop cruise ships docking at Dublin Port from 2021 was taken without any consultations or engagement with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, local businesses, Dublin City Council, or the other Irish ports, namely Belfast, Waterford and Cork, who will be severely impacted by this decision.