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#DunLaoghaire - Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has applied for a foreshore licence for the continued provision and maintenance of the existing moorings within the harbour.

The 10-year licence is intended to renew the previous decade-long foreshore lease, which has since expired.

No new works are proposed for the existing moorings, which are let to various marine organisations, private individuals and the harbour’s yacht clubs.

Full details of the application are available on the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government website.

The application is separate from the expressions of interest the harbour company is seeking for “a cluster of floating homes”, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Dublin Bay

#Property - Plans for “a cluster of floating affordable homes” in Dun Laoghaire could soon transform the look of the South Dublin port’s waterfront.

The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company is seeking expressions of interest via the State’s eTenders website for the development of as many as 50 single-storey homes, which would float on a pontoon on the western side of the Coal Harbour Dock.

According to The Irish Times, harbour company CEO Gerry Dunne says the floating homes — around the size of the average two-bed apartment — would have a capital cost of between €250,000 and €300,000 and would be geared towards those looking for a “starter or retirement” home.

Dun laoghaire harbour ice house coal quay 1982The site identified for the new floating homes in Dun Laoghaire Harbour known locally as the 'ice house' at the Coal Quays Photo: Afloat.ie

Floating accomodation is already in use by businesses in the capital, such as at Grand Canal Dock, but this is the first proposal for such a residential development in Ireland.

The Irish Times as more on the story HERE.

Published in Waterfront Property

#DLHarbour - Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company’s chief executive is seeking over €350,000 in backdated bonuses from the company, as Jack Horgan-Jones writes in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post.

Gerry Dunne lodged High Court proceedings against his employer in September last year, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

But it has only emerged now that Dunne, who took over as CEO of the beleaguered port company in 2009, will argue for the payment of bonuses stipulated by his contract.

Such payments have been withheld under current Government policy not to pay performance-related top-ups to the executives of State or semi-State companies.

Dunne spearheaded the ‘masterplan’ for the regeneration of Dun Laoghaire Harbour in 2011. However, the South Dublin port subsequently lost its anchor ferry link to Holyhead.

Few of the masterplan’s proposals have come to fruition in the six years since its launch, though plans to accommodate large scale cruise liners, previously subject to restrictions and much controversy, are now back on the agenda.

Published in News Update

Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) has issued a statement on its cruise berth facility following yesterday's court case decision in which environmental lobby group Save our Seafront, chaired by local TD Richard Boyd Barret, 'won its legal action against the decision to grant planning permission for the Dún Laoghaire Cruise Terminal'.

The Harbour Company maintain its 'Cruise berth facility is on track' as An Board Pleanála seek further information the state company.

The full ramification of this decision are still being fully analysed but the DLHC statement in full is below: 

'Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) has been informed that An Bord Pleanála will not be defending a Judicial Review of the decision of the Bord to grant planning permission to DLHC for the development of a cruise berth facility in the harbour. The Judicial Review had been taken on behalf of Save our Seafront, who had opposed the development. An Bord Pleanála has now determined that certain technical requirements of the Habitats Directive necessitate additional information to be supplied by DLHC. It is recommending that the planning application is sent back to the Bord for this additional information to be assessed. DLHC will co-operate fully with such a request by An Bord Pleanála.

Commenting, DLHC CEO Gerry Dunne pointed out that while the nature of the issues have yet to be outlined in detail they are believed to be “technical and not substantive”. Mr Dunne added that protecting the sensitive environmental and historical significance of the harbour and its environs remain a priority for DLHC.

The proposed 250 metre berth will, it is anticipated, attract c. 50 cruise calls a year (from May to September), an average of 2 a week. The money generated from these visitors will amount to €10m to the local economy annually'.

A statement from Save our Seafront, on yesterday's court case is here.

Published in Dublin Bay

#DunLaoghaire - Close to 100 people attended a meeting last night (Thursday 27 October) in the Royal Marine Hotel organised by the Save Our Seafront (SOS) community group, writes our special correspondent.

SOS campaigns for the public interest in the foreshore of Dun Laoghaire and against what they believe to be the inappropriate developments proposed by the authorities with responsibility for the coastal aspects of the harbour and the borough.

An imminent decision by An Bord Pleanala on the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company’s (DLHC) application to develop a major cruise liner terminal in the harbour was a significant factor in the discussion.

But the general sentiment was that no matter what the outcome, DLHC’s finances are widely believed to be in such a position that development would not be possible.

The alleged lack of fiscal responsibility by the DHLC was referred to repeatedly by the top table and from the floor.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors were not spared criticism, either, as several participants noted Cllr Melisa Halpin was the only one of the 40 elected representatives in attendance.

The recent pronouncement in the Senate by Transport Minister Shane Ross that a transfer of the responsibilities of DLHC was imminent was linked by Richard Boyd Barrett TD to the delay in the planning decision, when he said: “After five years in the Dáil, I don't believe in coincidences anymore.”

The meeting encouraged participants to lobby their councillors to vote for a complete takeover of the DLHC by the council, rather than the ‘quango’ option whereby the DLHC would remain as an entity within the council structure.

All types of harbour users were present at the meeting, many of whom were sailors.

Speakers concurred that the future of the harbour lay in water sports and in the wider maritime heritage sector, partially supported by smaller commercial activity than that envisaged by the DLHC.

Published in Dublin Bay

#DunLaoghaire - Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company chief executive Gerry Dunne has lodged High Court proceedings against his employer, according to Sunday Business Post business correspondent Jack Horgan-Jones in yesterday’s edition of the paper.

Dunne, who was appointed CEO in 2009, spearheaded the ‘masterplan’ for regeneration of the south Dublin harbour that has in recent years lost its long-time passenger ferry link to Britain.

Under Dunne’s oversight, plans for the harbour have included a now-cancelled diaspora centre, an ‘urban beach’ project that received planning permission in mid 2015 but was not realised as expected this summer, and a new cruise terminal to accommodate next-generation liners that was at the centre of oral hearings last year.

More recently, the possibility of hosting a floating hotel or ‘flotel’ in the harbour has been mooted.

However, Horgan-Jones writes that these ambitious projects have been subject to “reservations at the highest level of government”, with one civil servant raising concerns about the soundness of the harbour’s corporate plan.

In response to our request for comment, Dunne said that the precise matter of the High Court action is currently sub judice.

Published in News Update

#DunLaoghaire - The Transport Minister maintains that transferring the operation of Dun Laoghaire Harbour to the local authority is the best move for its sustainable development.

Responding to a Dáil question earlier this month from Dun Laoghaire TD Seán Barrett, who asked for clarity on the future of the South Dublin port, Minister Shane Ross confirmed that it is still designated for transfer to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

However, the minister also acknowledged the "dispute about the ownership and future model" for the harbour, which stems from Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company's reaction to changing commercial and economic conditions, such as the withdrawal of the Stena Line ferry service, which saw profits sink in 2015.

"My department is aware that the ongoing challenge for the port will require sustained effort across a number of fronts," he said. "This may even involve the sale of some non-strategic assets."

Other potential projects include the recently tendered 'flotel' concept, which is now seeking expressions of interest.

The minister did not respond to Deputy Barrett's assertions that the local authority has neither the expertise nor management structure to run the port effectively.

More recently, Minister Ross answered a request for statement from Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who again raised the issue of anomalies in executive payments by the harbour company, as well as concerns over alleged pension scheme irregularities ahead of a meeting between company trustees and the Pensions Board next week (Wednesday 27 July).

Noting that there was "obviously a misunderstanding or certainly a conflict of evidence" regarding legal acton to recover expenses paid to a former board member, the minister said that he could not comment on the matter and that his "powers in this particular matter are limited".

However, he welcomed the opportunity for meeting with any stakeholders Deputy Boyd Barrett might arrange.

Published in Dublin Bay

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company is seeking expressions of interest to operate a “Flotel” in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.  

According to a notice posted yesterday on the Goverment's etender website, operators are sought to run a “Flotel” in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Responses, according to the notice, are required by July 26th. The link to the notice is here

Harbour Company executive Carolyn Hanaphy has told Afloat.ie that the company 'enivsages a five star cruise ship as a flotel in the harbour', such as the SunBorn flotel in Canary Wharf, London.

Flotels are typically used as hotels on rivers or in harbour areas, or as accommodation for workers. They are also used in the offshore oil industry, mining industry or in environmental or natural emergencies.

Flotel accomodation varies but the Sunbourn example cited by DLHC features 'Polished, classic rooms have en suite bathrooms and feature flat-screen TVs and free WiFi, plus touch-pad room controls'.  is The upgraded yacht, moored at London's Docklands, also has suites add sitting areas or living rooms and soaking tubs. 

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company is awaiting a decision by an Bord Pleanala on its proposals for a new cruise liner berth in the harbour.

There is little or no regular commercial traffic at the harbour since the withdrawal of the Dun Laoghaire – Holyhead Stena service, a route that had a 200–year history.

Amsterdam's botelAmsterdam's botel

Published in Dublin Bay

ADVERTISEMENT:

Our client, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company Ltd., is at a significant stage in implementing its Masterplan.

The company is seeking to recruit a successor to the current Harbour Master, who is due to retire shortly.

The Harbour Master will be required to maintain a safe port, ensure that all statutory, regulatory and conservancy duties are carried out, enforce Harbour Bye-Laws and Regulations, levy rates and charges, manage port emergencies, and the port environment, and ensure compliance with safety and other relevant legislation.

The Harbour Master will be a member of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Management Team.

The successful candidate must hold an Irish or UK Certificate of Competency, Class 1 (Master Mariner), and also have at least 5 years relevant industry experience.

Please apply by sending your CV to:

Robert Ferry
RFC Executive Recruitment
406 The Capel Building
St Marys Abbey
Dublin 7
Email: [email protected]

Closing date for receipt of applications, 4th April 2016

Published in Jobs

As Dun Laoghaire residents await An Bord Pleanála's decision on the controversial cruise liner berth proposed for the town's harbour, local banker Paddy Shanahan took a look at the books of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) – and finds the whole situation wanting. Harbour CEO Gerry Dunne's response is also posted below.

I am a banker with over 30 years' experience working in New York and London. I have recently returned to Ireland. I am married with two small boys and I run a corporate finance and restructuring practice here in Dublin. I live in Sandycove and am part of Dublin Bay Concern, an organisation comprising many residents of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown (DLR).

My concern relates to the future status of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC). I am opposed to the planned super cruise berth terminal for the harbour and to the Masterplan submitted by the DLHC. An Bord Pleanála is currently deliberating on DLHC’s application following a month-long oral hearing.

Meanwhile, the Harbours Bill 2015 was recently introduced into the Oireachtas. This bill will decide the future of DLHC. We are presented with two options, one of which will be decided by Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe:

a) DLHC becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the chief executive DLR CoCo.
b) DLHC is dissolved and integrated into DLR CoCo.

On a matter of profound importance to the residents of DLR and to the hundreds of thousands who use the harbour as an amenity every year, there has been little to no communication by the relevant elected representatives back to their constituents on this matter, excepting Richard Boyd Barrett and his party People Before Profit.

Difficult financial situation

On my own volition, I obtained copies of DLHC’s accounts from 2012 to 2014. I have analysed these accounts and found the following:

DLHC’s financial position has been declining in recent years. In 2012 the company’s cash reserves declined by €2.0m and in 2013 by a further €1.3m. The decline in cash was much smaller in 2014 (€37,000) thanks to the receipt of a €406,420 grant, the provenance of which and use for is unidentified in their accounts.

At the end of 2014, DLHC had cash reserves of €3.5m. With no revenue from the Stena HSS in 2015, remaining cash reserves of €3.5m are rapidly dwindling.

DLHC had bank loans of €4.8m at the end of 2014 for which it does not appear to have sufficient cash or the prospect of sufficient cash to repay in future years.

Based on the above facts, it is clear to me that DLHC is in a difficult financial situation and has neither the reserves nor the ability to borrow the funds required to build the proposed cruise berth.

Notwithstanding its precarious financial position and ignoring the implications to the well-being of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, DLHC wishes to roll the dice and stake its future on providing giant cruise berth facilities – this despite the reality of Dublin Port.

Less than 5km from Dun Laoghaire, Dublin Port is a highly profitable world-class shipping port, and it is the preferred cruise ship destination offering quick access to Dublin city centre. It already receives over 80 super-sized cruise ships a year and has recently received planning permission to begin a €200m development which will double its large cruise ship capacity together with a state-of-the-art modern passenger terminal specifically being built for visiting cruise liners.

DLHC proposes a collusive duopoly for the cruise ship business with Dublin Port. Not only is this stupendously naïve, it is also illegal for State-owned bodies to distort the competitive environment, and elegantly demonstrates the flawed business case DLHC proposes – especially in light of the Stena HSS departing for good under DLHC’s watch.

'A likely white elephant'

The Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies issued by the Department of Finance in March 1992 and updated October 2001 states that:

“As the ultimate owners of, and investors, in State bodies, citizens and taxpayers have an important and legitimate interest in the achievement of value for money in the State sector. Whether commissioning public services or providing them directly, State bodies have a duty to strive for economy, efficiency, transparency and effectiveness in their expenditure.”

In 2012 and 2013 DLHC received €250,000 and €200,000 in grants from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCoCo) in respect of DLHC’S Large Cruise Liners initiative. The former was for tendering facilities outside the harbour mouth; the latter was toward defraying costs relating to the planning application.

If it transpires that the €400,000 grant unidentified in the accounts for 2014 was from DLRCoCo, then it would appear that nearly €1m of DLR taxpayers' money has been paid over by the council toward the planning costs of building a likely white elephant.

Is it unreasonable to posit a conflict of interest where the executive branch of DLRCoCo making the payments to DLHC houses the same department that approved the planning application currently being decided by An Bord Pleanála? Is this like Hamlet without the prince? Have DLHC fulfilled their obligations under the code regarding transparency and governance? Clearly not. Where is the oversight? There isn’t any.

Allowing true oversight

Addressing the Dáil on the occasion of the Harbours Bill 2015 debate on amendments last Wednesday 2 December, Minister Donohoe specified there is to be an undefined period of due diligence and examination of DLHC prior to its future being decided by himself.

In the interests of democracy let us hope the minister dissolves the DLHC and transfers its unencumbered assets to the local authority, thus allowing true oversight and accountability.

Given the close relationship and history between the non-elected executive branch of DLRCoCo and DLHC, a decision by the minister that makes the DLHC a wholly owned subsidiary of the chief executive will be a step backwards and simply perpetuates the current unsatisfactory status quo.

The future of Dun Laoghaire Harbour should be decided by the elected representatives of DLRCoCo, the harbour’s genuine stakeholders, and its various community groups.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour, dear to the hearts of all residents of DLR, is being held hostage to the ambitions of a dysfunctional organisation that is running out of money and being supported in a clandestine manner against all principles of transparency and governance.

Response from Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company CEO

DLHC has decided that it is not appropriate to make further public comment while An Bord Pleanala is considering our planning application.
Suffice to make the following brief points ;
[a] the European Commission have stated that the grant of €20m towards the Dublin Port development is made on the basis that such support is not given to dedicated infrastructure and facilities for cruise ships. Therefore, Mr Shanahan is fundamentally incorrect in his belief that Dublin Port can provide dedicated cruise infrastructure/facilities
[b] Mr Shanahan might be very interested to know that the four Dun Laoghaire yacht clubs combined make only a very minor financial contribution of c.€70k annually towards the upkeep/maintenance of the infrastructure of the 200 year old man-made harbour. This annual contribution constitutes less than 2% of our annual operating/capital costs.

Gerry Dunne, CEO DLHC

Published in Dublin Bay
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