Friday, August 3, 2012

Kelly worried about lack of investment in Rosslare Europort

Cllr Anthony Kelly has raised questions over why Rosslare Europort did not feature in the government’s announcement of a €2 billion stimulus plan for County Wexford. The Wexford Sinn Féin rep said that while he wholeheartedly welcomed the planned investment which will boost the areas of transport, education and health in our county, he had serious worries over the omission of Rosslare Europort from the plan.

“Sinn Féin has been calling for investment into County Wexford for many years and we would applaud any effort that will result in job creation,” Cllr Kelly said. “The recent announcement of a €2 billion stimulus for the county is welcome but I would have serious worries over the glaringly obvious omission of Rosslare Europort from the plan.”

“Rosslare Europort is a national strategic asset, supporting exports and tourism. Despite the recession and the neglect it has suffered at the hands of successive governments, the port has increased its business since the recession began. An Irish Ports Association report revealed that ferry based tourism through Rosslare Europort in 2004 was worth €550 million to the Irish economy and supported over 5000 jobs. Experts maintain that these figures are unlikely to have decreased with the rise in traffic at the port in recent years.”

“How often has the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government told us that exports will be intrinsically important to getting us out recession? Yet no attempt is made to maximise the potential of the state’s second busiest port. In fact the opposite has been the case. In recent years services in and around the harbour have been downgraded.”

“Rosslare is described as a gateway for British and Continental European tourists who wish to visit Ireland. Yet the harbour is missing vital services which these tourists require. The local tourist information office has been closed for the past three years, as has the harbours youth hostel. Two years ago the Rosslare to Waterford rail line was closed.”

“Minister Howlin’s stimulus plan was the perfect opportunity to invest in Rosslare Europort. The harbour could be extended and deepened. The Rosslare to Waterford rail line could be reopened and a new rail cargo depot built on site to increase the efficiency of logistics. Local services could be developed. All of these projects would create both short and long term employment; an investment not only in the port but in the people of Wexford.”

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