Transport Minister held 'frank' crisis talks to prevent closure of Irish Ferries route

Transport Minister Shane Ross has held "frank" crisis talks with the chief executive of Irish Ferries' parent company in a bid to prevent the closure of the Rosslare to Cherbourg route next spring.

Transport Minister held 'frank' crisis talks to prevent closure of Irish Ferries route

Transport Minister Shane Ross has held "frank" crisis talks with the chief executive of Irish Ferries' parent company in a bid to prevent the closure of the Rosslare to Cherbourg route next spring.

Mr Ross confirmed he has urged the head of Irish Continental Group, Eamon Rothwell, to cancel the closure plans, despite admitting "it is a completely commercial decision" and that "we can't tell him he can't do it".

Speaking on RTE Radio's News at One programme 24 hours after Irish Ferries announced the route will be shut down, Mr Ross said he met with Mr Rothwell to try and prevent the service closure.

However, during the discussion, the Transport Minister said he was told it is a "commercial decision" and that there is little the Government can do to prevent what is happening at this stage.

"I’m worried that Rosslare should not be disadvantaged... It’s very bad for Rosslare, but I can’t interfere with a commercial decision," Mr Ross said.

The Rosslare to Cherbourg route closure has heightened concerns over the impact of Brexit on the south east region, with tourism likely to be particularly hit in any fallout.

Concerns about the closure have been expressed by Labour leader Brendan Howlin and Defence Minister Paul Kehoe, both of whom represent Wexford, with Mr Kehoe insisting the decision "came out of the blue".

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