Expert advice on strategic advice and an economic plan for Dun Laoghaire harbour on Dublin Bay is being sought by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county council writes Lorna Siggins
The search for a guaranteed revenue source for the harbour comes over four years after Stena Line withdrew its ferry service to and from Holyhead in Wales – ending a sea link dating back to 1835.
Independent senator Victor Boyhan, who has welcomed the move to inform a new masterplan, says he believes an international diaspora centre as suggested by the former Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company could be a “catalyst”.
The loss of the ferry link has been a major blow to Dun Laoghaire, where the former harbour company was unsuccessful in initial efforts to provide an alternative sea link provider.
The harbour company focused efforts on developing a cruise ship berth, and a 20 million euro digital hub at the former ferry terminal.
Developer Philip Gannon secured planning permission for the hub, but then withdrew from the scheme when it emerged that the harbour company had not been able to secure a foreshore license.
Last year, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown council took over the running of the harbour, after the harbour company was dissolved, and several other plans including a €5 million urban beach and a €51 million diaspora centre were put on the back burner due to funding shortfalls.
Three months ago, the council withdrew the planning application for a 30 million euro cruise berth facility.
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown council management confirmed that it had secured Government funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund to draw up a “spatial and economic action study”.
It said this would make recommendations in relation to “potential economic opportunities for the town of Dún Laoghaire, including the harbour”.
As Afloat reported earlier, a tender seeking consultancy advice has been advertised with a closing date of mid-September.
The tender states that Dún Laoghaire is a” suburban coastal town.... about 12 km south of Dublin city centre and is the county town of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown”.
“The town has a mix of residential, retail and office space and enjoys valuable seafront access at Dún Laoghaire harbour,” it says, stating that the council is now also “seeking expert advice on the development of the harbour for the benefit of its citizens”.
The move has been welcomed by independent senator Victor Boyhan a former Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county councillor and former director of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.
He said that a draft harbour masterplan, prepared during his time as director of the harbour company, had identified strengthening the links between the town and the harbour; improving public access to the water; and positioning the harbour as a marine, leisure and tourism centre, he said.
The draft masterplan also sought to re-imagine Carlisle pier as a centre for the international diaspora, and Senator Boyhan said he believed this could serve as” a catalyst” for the “integration of the diaspora in the economic, cultural and tourism development of town and county”.
“Any new plan for the harbour needs to be developed in conjunction with a statutory local area plan for Dun Laoghaire town, and ultimately fully incorporated into the county development plan, Senator Boyhan said.
Development company Bartra Capital has recently secured planning permission for the largest co-living apartment complex in the State on Dun Laoghaire’s Eblana Avenue.
People Before Profit TD for Dún Laoghaire Richard Boyd Barrett has compared the development to a “modern tenement” and said the move was “shocking and disgraceful”.