WINDY CROSSER: 80 jobs as offshore wind brings economic boost to Cork

28 September 2020
By Tom Collins

BUSINESS: Positive news for Crosshaven, and indeed Cork

From Boatyard to Ballroom, to wind turbine service centre – Crosshaven secures welcome investment

Smooth country singer ‘Gentleman Jim Reeves’ (1923-1964) came to Ireland in 1963. One of the venues he played in was Crosshaven’s famous, Majorca Ballroom which opened that very year. A poster from the era proudly still hangs in Cronin’s Pub (currently closed – due to flooding). The Majorca Ballroom venue was hugely popular in the 1960’s-70’s. At its peak up to 30 CIE Buses would run from the city to Crosshaven on a Saturday night for those who didn’t drive (this was before PCP finance!). But times and fashions change, and the Brylcreem’ed men and fashionable women moved elsewhere. The derelict Ballroom was demolished in recent years, but the adjoining land remained in business as a boatyard on the cul-de-sac side of Crosshaven.

But now that boatyard has a new owner. ‘Green Rebel Marine’, a new business established to service the future needs of offshore wind farms, has acquired Crosshaven Boatyard and today announced plans to create 80 new jobs. The 9-acre Crosshaven site will serve as a base for the new operation to survey, equip and service a network of planned wind farms along the Irish coast. (Crosshaven Boatyard will continue its normal operations as a Boat Yard).

Cork businessman Pearse Flynn at the Crosshaven Boatyard. Mr Flynn has invested €10 million of his own money into the project, including the purchase of two specially equipped, high tech ships to service this nascent industry. Picture: Claire Keogh

Green Rebel Marine Ltd has been founded by Cork businessman Pearse Flynn. Today’s announcement was kept under wraps very well, indeed it was only in early September when the company changed its name (today’s announcement is comes at the same time as a similar announcement by another Cork company).

The new jobs will be created in Crosshaven within the next 18 months. The first vessel – the Bibby Athena, which will be renamed to Roman Rebel – has already arrived into Cork. The second is scheduled to arrive later this year.

Plans for offshore wind farms are at an advanced stage with a number of potential fixed and floating operators examining sites along the coast from Dundalk in County Louth, to the Cork coast and beyond. Their construction will not only increase Ireland’s ability to produce renewable energy, it will also create an entire new sector dedicated to servicing their operation.

Pearse Flynn hails from a fishing family in Ballycotton, in East Cork. He believes that Green Rebel Marine will eventually support hundreds of jobs around the coast. Mr Flynn said,

“Ireland is on the verge of a green revolution that will deliver 5 gig[a]watts of energy from wind not generated on land, but far out to sea. Green Rebel Marine will work alongside the operators of this new array of wind turbines to ensure they remain operational by using skilled mariners who are trained here. We have already hired some of the industry’s leading scientists who will help conduct surveying in the months ahead, and our team will remain involved in these projects until they are operational and beyond. This is a new sector, and one that has incredible potential to deliver for our maritime community.”

Pearse Flynn added,

“The cost of constructing these offshore, floating wind farms is coming down and there is a rush amongst operators to see who will be first to market. Unlike the challenges posed by such projects on land, these sea-based sites will be largely away from public view. Ireland has the potential to become a net exporter of electricity within a decade, as opposed to relying on imported fossil fuels. Green Rebel Marine marries the best of the Blue and Green Economies. We will create and sustain Irish jobs and become a global leader in this field.”

Green Rebel Marine also has plans to develop a centre of excellence in Crosshaven to train and develop the staff required to meet the future needs of the floating wind farm industry.

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