The Green Party Spokesperson for Transport and Tourism, Adam Douglas, has said today’s loss of the Fastnet Line service linking Ireland and Wales will have very severe effects for tourism in the Cork and Kerry Region.
“Despite the best efforts of so many supporters, whether businesses, individuals or officials involved in the project, the region has been left without a great service which carried some 150,000 passengers in the 18 months that it was back up and running. These people deserve all our thanks for the work they put in against a really tough economic backdrop”.
Speaking this afternoon, Adam Douglas said the issue merits a reconsideration of how we apply State Aid rules: “Almost one billion euro has been invested over the last decade in new terminals at Dublin and Cork Airports, which have allowed the very real development of routes there. In that context, it is shambolic that with the relatively small amount of money needed to keep this ferry service going, it has had to close.”
“There is no doubt that this will have a hugely negative impact on tourism in the region in the coming years, and we have to examine ways to alleviate that. But in the longer term we must also have a debate about how, as an island nation, we link ourselves with the rest of Europe in the future. There is no doubt that we are facing into a very severe energy crisis in the not too distant future, with higher oil prices making flying more and more expensive. It is therefore very important that we maintain regular ferry services to and from the UK and France to allow tourists to keep coming here, and for business connections to prosper,” Adam Douglas concluded.