Cross border car ferry service proposed

Published Thursday, 27 December 2012
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Greencastle, Co Down and Greenore, Co Louth could soon be linked by a car ferry service funded by private sector money.

Cross border car ferry service proposed
Sheep on the Cooley Peninsula, with Carlingford and the Mournes in the backdrop. (© Pacemaker)

The multi-million pound project has been developed by Carlingford Ferries.

Although subject to planning permission, if approved, the service could create 24 jobs as well as hundreds of other jobs as a direct result.

An independent Economic Appraisal has recently been completed which suggested that upwards of €10m of additional spending in the region would be generated.

Important economic and tourism links between counties Down and Louth would be established as well as the service further connecting both sides of the border.

It will take around €8,000,000 to complete and could be operational within twelve months. It is being financed by three families from counties Limerick and Clare, with previous experience in the industry.

Paul O' Sullivan, Carlingford Ferries, said the recent Narrow Water bridge funding announcement has given the car ferry project "renewed vigour."

In October, the European Union confirmed £14m of funding to help build the new cross-border construction. The money will cover the bulk of the cost of the cable bridge, due to open in 2015, which will also link the two counties.

The car ferry and the bridge together would create a circular tourism route between the Mourne region and the Cooley Peninsula.

Speaking of his own plans, Mr O'Sullivan said: "We have several decades of experience in the ferry industry and have been working on this project for almost six years.

"We have already made a significant investment in progressing it to this stage. This project would have a major impact on the cross border tourism potential of the iconic and outstandingly beautiful Mournes - Cooley region.

"It is important to us that we continue to develop this project in an inclusive manner in harmony with the local communities."

Mr O'Sullivan continued: "Tourists in particular, would have the option to complete a circular 35 mile round trip of the area and local people for the first time could enjoy the novelty of crossing the border at two different points on the water by car."

It is understood that planning applications will be submitted in the first quarter of 2013.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Realist in England wrote (726 days ago):
Nelson - I did acknowledge that but other companies might be interested. I have nothing against foreigners wanting to invest in Ireland and they, of course, have a right to expect a return on their investment. I am just concerned at the amount of foreign owned businesses at the heart of the Irish economy. Consider the Shell issue on the west coast, or Danske recently buying and merging Northern and National Irish. It's a bit scary to think that non-Irish organisations have such a major say over things that are vital for our economy. If a foreign company was allowed to buy Translink and CIÉ and then the parent company went bust, we could be seeing redundancies and reduced services for no reason other than to shore up some foreign business. Such a small venture as this may slip under the radar of larger multinationals but that issue would never arise if it was owned by the Irish people.
Nelson in Ireland wrote (727 days ago):
@Realist in England - I can't see a worldwide ferry giant like Stena Line being interested in a tiny local venture like this! lol
oli in warrenpoint wrote (728 days ago):
It needs to be seen how much damage this will do to the local environment in these areas. The Greencastle area in particular is a quiet idyllic area where i fish a lot. To be economically viable im assuming this project will generate quite a bit of road traffic in the vicinity on a fairly limited infrastructure, it would certainly annoy me if i lived in the area but as the article stated the project is being financed by families from the far south so i suppose they have nothing to worry about as it wont be on their doorstep.
Realist in England wrote (729 days ago):
I agree with you on one level Steve. Whilst I am glad to see that Irish people are planning the venture, that jobs will be created and that local economies will benefit, I'd rather see such things run by the state. The line is likely to be profitable or the project would not have got to this stage. Should that turn out to be the case, what is to stop Stena (unlikely for something so small, admittedly) or some other foreign company buying it up at some point? That would make a lot of money for a small number of Irish people followed by future profits leaving the country and Irish jobs having their security being held subject to events outside the country. Road infrastructure and transport within a country should be nationalised, in my opinion. I acknowledge the current de facto partition of Ireland but Stormont/Leinster House sharing the profits of such links (and underwriting potential losses to guarantee jobs) for the good of the Irish people would be better. Free market capitalism hasn't exactly been kind to Ireland of late - a hardly surprising fact given that free market capitalism is a cut throat environment in which only the strong and the ruthless tend to thrive, be they individuals, businesses or states.
Steve in Ballymena wrote (729 days ago):
Great news, especially about the jobs being created in the process and the advantage a ferry would give to tourists and the local communities.
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