A public protest has been organised at Rosslare Europort for Wednesday evening, with those interested asked to meet at the petrol station for 6 pm following the announcement that Irish Ferries is to pull its winter service.
The protest is being organised by local Sinn Fein Cllr Michael Roche and the party’s general election candidate Cllr Johnny Mythen.
Cllr Mythen told WexfordToday.com; “I’m shocked to hear of the closure of another ferry route from Rosslare. After much effort we managed to get Minister Ross down to County Wexford when he appeared for a quick photoshoot recently and didn’t appear to suggest any problem. The closure of the route represents yet another critical failure on the governments part to secure this vital harbour and strategically important gateway to the continent. It is an absolutely critical gateway, especially post-Brexit.”
Cllr Mythen reckons that Rosslare Europort needs an investment of up to €50 million or more for a major upgrade that will equip it to handle the ships of the future.
Rosslare Europort is Ireland’s second busiest in terms of ship visits and freight and is designated as one of only five ports of national significance in the National Ports Policy.
Upgrading should entail deepening the existing berth to handle deeper ro-ro ships as well as the construction of a new berth on the reclaimed land that would have enough space capable of a ro-ro ramp for deeper water.
“Yet we get news of another cut coming just a week after the government’s 2040 Strategic Plan which outlines nothing in terms of developing Rosslare Europort. It is another slap in the face for County Wexford, said Cllr Mythen, who added; “It’s very clear that Iarnród Éireann have no long-term plans regarding the Rosslare to Dublin line. Wexford County Council made a submission to Iarnród Éireann on what’s needed and Chief Executive Tom Enright met its CEO and had been given an assurance that the line was being looked at.”
It is understood that Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ní Riada and some local councillors also met port management some months ago.
“One thing that needs to be done is the frequency of the trains need to be increased and the quality of the rail stock should be improved. A major problem with the rail link is that there are only four trains a day. That is not convenient for people who need to get to Dublin. At the Dublin end it has been suggested to separate the DART from the mainline service so it skips smaller stations at peak times. We were told some of the new rolling stock would be put into Wexford but that hasn’t happened.
“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.”
Cllr Mythen said “Enough is enough. We need to shout STOP! I now call on a representative of Iarnrod Eireann to discuss its plans with the councillors as a matter of urgency. They seem to have a plan for every area of the country except the South East.”