However, the move is being regarded as a major blow to a sector on the rise, and one that would have a knock-on effect for businesses across the country.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Sean O’Rourke yesterday morning (Tuesday 12 March), Excursions Ireland managing director Niamh McCarthy said the port’s decision is risking the loss of a business worth €50 million annually to the economy nationwide.
McCarthy, a fonder of industry body Cruise Ireland, said cruise turnarounds — whereby thousands of passengers change over at one port for a lengthy stay to explore the country — “are the one sector of this industry that has been growing at an alarming rate.
“Last year Dublin Port handled five Celebrity turnarounds,” she said, explaining that each brought many thousands of passengers ashore to explore and spend money in cities and towns across Ireland.”
“Dublin’s decision to do this will have an absolute catastrophic effect on cruise in Ireland”
McCarthy said she is headed to the US next week for “emergency meetings” with cruise companies who are concerned about the lack of certainly around berth availability in the coming years.
“If they don’t come to Dublin, they won’t come to the other ports,” she warned.
“Are we the only country in the world that wants to turn that business away?”
Dublin Port is currently seeking to take back land leased for “non-core activities” that it says is required to accommodate customs checks and inspections post-Brexit, as The Irish Times reports.