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Green Party Speaks Out for Small Boat Owners in Dun Laoghaire

9th February 2011
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Green Party Speaks Out for Small Boat Owners in Dun Laoghaire

Ciaran Cuffe TD of the Green Party has spoken out in support of small boat owners in a submission to the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Masterplan. Cuffe, a candidate in the General Election, says the prioritisation of space within the harbour for surface car parking and marshalling yards for ferry services has reduced the space available for small boat owners. Cuffe says the masterplan should specifically enhance facilities and storage space for small boat owners, such as the Coal Harbour Users Group (CHUG) and local yacht and water sports clubs. He also says consideration should be given to the development of workshops to promote traditional boat building and small craftrepair and restoration.

The full submission from Ciaran Cuffe is below:

"I welcome the preparation by the Dún Laoghaire Harbour of a masterplan for the harbour area. Dún Laoghaire harbour is a major recreational and amenity resource for the locality andwider Dún Laoghaire area and a long-term strategic vision underpinned by a plan-ledimplementation framework is vital in order to secure the harbour's future for the benefit of both the Harbour Company and the local community.

Maintaining a ferry link to the UK
I welcome the proposal to redefine Dún Laoghaire Harbour as a leisure harbour. However, Ibelieve that future opportunities to keep a ferry link with the UK should not be lost. As we have seen during recent incidents when airplanes were grounded, travelling by ferry is still aviable means of travel and may become increasingly so in the future. A seasonally ferryduring the summer months could be considered and the infrastructure needed for a ferryservice should be maintained. The Harbour Company should work to secure INTERREG funding to provide better linked-in ferry and train services between Ireland and the UK.

Cruise Ships & Tourist Development
There is considerable scope to attract the cruise liner market to Dún Laoghaire. Dún Laoghaire is a fantastic harbour location with a unique built and natural heritage. Its location immediately adjacent to the Dún Laoghaire DART station makes it an ideal gateway locationfor tourists to explore Dublin City and hinterland. We have seen the positive impact of large cruise liners docking at Dublin Port with thousands of visitors disembarking, visiting Dublin's tourist attractions and spending money in local businesses. Dún Laoghaire Harbours offers a much more pleasant and suitable docking location for cruiseships and there is a major opportunity to exploit this economic potential for the benefit of the wider locality. Any physical works required to facilitate the mooring of large cruise liners in Dún Laoghaire should be carefully designed so as to avoid any adverse impact on local builtand natural heritage, including the Dublin Bay Special Area of Conservation.

Built Heritage
The unique physical fabric and built heritage Dún Laoghaire Harbour is an important assetand must be conserved and enhanced. In particular, the historic Carlisle Pier now has thepotential to provide a high quality outdoor public amenity space. I understand that elements of the 1890's Victorian railway building have been retained and I believe that these elements should be reconstituted as part of multi-functional covered space to, for example, host an ice-rink in winter, the Festival of World Cultures in summer and occasional outdoor events andmarkets.

Open Space & Public Accessibility

In recent years significant areas of the Harbour Company land was converted to revenuegenerating surface car parking. This has created a car dominated environment and adisconnect between the harbour area and Dún Laoghaire town. The long-term future of theharbour is much better served by opening up the harbour area to pedestrians and cyclists, enhancing accessibility for the general public, improve directional signage, reducing surfacecar parking and delivering more green spaces. In order to achieve this, the Masterplan shouldinclude a detailed design framework for the public realm including further measures to removethe barriers to accessibility due to the rail line.

Views
The sensitive built, natural and visual environment of the harbour requires a very carefulapproach to any future infill development. Particularly, infill development should be in keepingwith the existing building heights of the town to protect the harbour setting and views fromDún Laoghaire to Dublin Bay and Howth Head and sensitively designed to conserve thecharacter of local built heritage and the numerous important protected structures.

Small Boat Owners
The prioritisation of space within the harbour for surface car parking and marshalling yards for ferry services has reduced the space available for small boat owners. The masterplan should  specifically enhance facilities and storage space for small boat owners, such as the CoalHarbour Users Group (CHUG) and local yacht and water sports clubs. Consideration should be given to the development of workshops to promote traditional boat building and small craftrepair and restoration.

Conclusion
Dún Laoghaire is extremely fortunate to have a unique historic harbour resource, which is a central part of the local identity and a much loved and valued social, recreational, and amenity resource. However, the future economic viability of the harbour is dependent on creating appropriate synergies with the wider economy of Dún Laoghaire. The imaginative redevelopment of the harbour can contribute significantly to the local economy, particularly inthe development of heritage and tourism initiatives, The Masterplan must focus on how the future development of the harbour can contribute to cultivating these synergies in a manner, which is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable."

Published in Dublin Bay
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