Monday 18 February 2019

Enough is enough, say port protesters

Anna Hayes

Between 30 and 40 people attended a protest at Rosslare Europort, to voice their concerns about the potential downgrading of the port following the news that Irish Ferries are to withdraw their winter sailing to Cherbourg.

The Sinn Féin organised protest took place on the hill just above the port, with a docked ferry in the background.

Cllr Johnny Mythen said this was just the first protest and that another would be held this coming Wednesday in the same place at 6 p.m.

Remarking that their campaign would intensify, he said: 'The local people are very angry at the way Rosslare Europort has been allowed to deteriorate over the years due to political neglect.'

He pointed out that local residents, business owners (some of whom have operated in Rosslare Harbour for over 100 years), and local councillors Mick Roche and Thomas Forde attended the protest, brandishing placards with a variety of slogans such as 'Support Our Port' and 'You can't do imports and exports without a port.'

Cllr Mythen tabled a motion for yesterday's meeting of Wexford County Council, asking for a representative of Iarnród Éireann to address the council on the plans for the port and railway line. He also submitted a Parliamentary Question via party TDs in Leinster House.

He remarked: 'This ought to be a thriving and busy Gateway to Europe, especially in the context of Brexit. However, it's scandalous that it's being allowed to die a slow death due to lack of political will and bad management over many years. We've had the consistent neglect and downgrading of the Rosslare Port Terminal, the closure of the Rosslare to Waterford rail link (which ought to be a busy freight route post-Brexit) as well as attempts to cut the rail link to Dublin. Enough is enough. We need to shout 'Stop'.'

President of the Irish Road Haulage Association Verona Murphy, who is from County Wexford, recently referred to the withdrawing of the winter ferry as a blow for hauliers but said that the lack of investment in the port had to be taken into consideration in the context of that decision.

She believed the port needed at least €40m of investment, to bring it up to standard for post-Brexit operation.

Wexford People

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