An independent local councillor in Wexford claims that there is “a lot of smoke and mirrors” around the decision by Irish Ferries to halt its service from Rosslare.
Cllr Ger Carthy says that the decision is “ill-advised” and he asked where was the market research to back up the company’s claim that customers would prefer to sail from Dublin Port.
He told RTE’s Morning Ireland that bookings from Rosslare were full, he also rejected the suggestion that the higher rates being charged by Rosslare port in comparison to Dublin Port had been a factor in the decision.
“The rates were not mentioned in any of the press releases. I don’t believe that’s the case.”
In mid-December Irish Ferries announced that it was “unlikely” to continue to operate a service between Rosslare and France in 2019.
A company statement said: “We continue to keep this situation under review. Our new WB Yeats ship will operate from Dublin to Cherbourg.”
Rosslare-France does not feature on the company’s 2019 schedule, which does list the Cherbourg route, along with its UK services Dublin to Holyhead and Rosslare to Pembroke.
Wexford County Council will meet today to discuss the decision by Irish Ferries to withdraw the service to France.
“This is a damning indictment of the management of Rosslare port,” added Cllr Carthy.
He said that three years ago when he was Mayor of Wexford he had met with the managing director of Irish Ferries who had told him that Rosslare port’s fees were high in comparison with Dublin Port.
“This needs to be looked at in the context that people do exist outside the Red Cow roundabout.”
Cllr Carthy pointed out that the opening of a new motorway in Wexford in the middle of this year will shorten the journey from Dublin to Wexford by 20 minutes.
Public anger in Wexford is palpable, he said. “People are very annoyed with Irish Ferries. The people of Rosslare and Wexford have been very loyal to Irish Ferries.”
He said that Irish Rail should have invested more in the port over the years. Plans for a €15million investment for the port are going to be difficult to implement he said, especially as €1.2million of annual revenue (fees from Irish Ferries) “are sailing out into the sunset.”