#ferries - Operator Irish Ferries has brought a High Court challenge over a finding it must pay compensation to thousands of passengers affected by the cancellation of sailings between Ireland and France last summer.
As The Irish Times reports, the ferry company says it had to cancel the services because a new ferry, the WB Yeats, which it had ordered to operate the service between Dublin and Cherbourg, was delayed for several months.
Its legal challenge is to the National Transport Authority’s decision last January that, arising out of the cancellations, the company breached EU regulations concerning the rights of passengers travelling by sea.
The NTA issued the company with two notices requiring it pay compensation to impacted passengers within a period of two months.
The notices direct the company to pay compensation to passengers impacted by the cancellations who had to travel from Rosslare instead of Dublin and from Roscoff instead of Cherbourg.
The notices also state passengers who were delayed in reaching their final destination who have already requested compensation from the company must also be paid compensation.
Non-compliance with the notices is an offence, with a maximum fine on conviction of €250,000.
The company disputes the NTA’s finding and contends the notices are invalid, irrational, disproportionate and breach its rights under the Constitution and EU law. It also argues the NTA has misinterpreted the relevant EU regulations.
The cancellations occurred because a new ship it had commissioned from the German shipyard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft was delivered some “200 days” late, Paul Gallagher SC, for the company, told the High Court on Monday.
The delay came as a shock to Irish Ferries and made headlines in the media, he said.
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