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Displaying items by tag: Paul McGrath

#OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY – President Michael D.Higgins welcomed the London 2012 Olympics Torch Relay for the first time to Ireland in Howth Harbour, where the first torch-bearer Cillian Kirwin from St Fintan's High School in Sutton had the honour of running with the flame, reports Jehan Ashmore.

Kirwin, a 15 year-old cross country champion was greeted by the President. Also attending where Lord Sebastian Coe of the London Olympics, Sir Craig Reedie of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) representing Jacques Rogge, Pat Hickey President Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and Mayor of Fingal Cllr Gerry McGuire, aswell as Carál Ní Chuilín, Sports Minister of Northern Ireland who accompanied the relay.

Hundreds of locals, excited schoolchildren and visitors alike enjoyed the festive atmosphere at the fishing harbour where the Olympic Council of Ireland headquarters are based. Their premises formerly Howth House, built around 1807 was where the supervisor of Howth Harbour resided.

Today's historic event with its detour to the republic is part of a 70-day London torch relay tour in the UK. Earlier this morning the torch had crossed the border where it was passed between two former Olympic boxers, Belfast's Wayne McCullough and Dubliner Michael Carruth.

The President told the large crowd that the flame's arrival in Ireland symbolised the growing closeness of the relationship between the UK and Ireland. The President spoke of the Olympics "where sport builds bridges" and of friendship and fairplay.

After a brief ceremony the Olympic hymn was sung by local children from Scoil Mhuire Primary School as the flame was whisked away under Garda escort to Dublin. The torch tour included Croke Park, the Garden of Remembrance, GPO and Trinity College.

When the torch reached the Liffey, it was carried across the Samuel Beckett Bridge by former international soccer player Paul McGrath to the Grand Canal Theatre. At the same time Dublin Port Company tug sisters Shackleton and Beaufort paid a tribute by firing powerful water jets high into the sky.

The sporting spectacle drew large crowds along the bridge and office workers looked down from their quayside offices to witness the torch head for its final destination in St. Stephens' Green.

Irish team's Chef de Mission Sonia O'Sullivan became the final torch-bearer. The celebrations culminated when she performed lighting an Olympic cauldron to commemorate the visit.

Published in Olympics 2012

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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