BY FRANCIS FARRAGHER
THE switch of ownership and control of Galway Port from central government to the local authority, has been welcomed as a positive move for the proposed redevelopment of the docks, by the Chief Executive of the Galway Harbour Company.
CEO Eamon Bradshaw told the Galway City Tribune that it was ‘full steam ahead’ for the construction of the new port (south of Rinmore Point) with the move to local authority ownership – announced last week by Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar – a ‘natural progression’ for the docks area.
“These are very exciting times for the development of the port and our planning application for the project will be lodged with An Bord Pleanála by May of this year.
“We expect that the planning process will roughly take a year and we would hope to start work on the project by January 2015. We have the funding secured and we are ready to go,” said Mr Bradshaw.
He said that the cost of Phase One of the project would be €52 million, to be completed over a three year timescale, that would facilitate the berthing of cruise liners and larger cargo vessels in Galway at the ‘new port’.
“We are restricted to vessels of 6,000 tonnes coming into the harbour at present and if we are to move forward we need to be able to accommodate the larger ships.
“The move of the port from its current location also opens up a whole range of exciting opportunities for the current docks site from economic, cultural and social perspectives,” said Mr Bradshaw.
The new National Ports Policy was announced last week by Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar, who said that it listed the strategic role of Galway Harbour as regards fuel importation, tourism, marine leisure, urban regeneration of off-shore energy.
He said that given that the port’s existing freight only accounted for 1.2% of total national traffic, ‘it made sense to transfer the oversight and governance functions to local authority levels’.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.