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Varadkar Warns of No Bail-Out to State-Owned Ports

12th May 2011
Varadkar Warns of No Bail-Out to State-Owned Ports
Minister for Transport and Tourism Dr. Leo Varadkar T.D. has warned that if state-owned ports get into financial difficulties they could become under the control of local authorities, as reported in todays' Irish Independent.
The minister was addressing a conference yesterday hosted by Dublin Port Company which was discussing it master development plans to 2040. He said that his department was assessing whether the government should retain ownership of ports following last month's publication of state assets led by economist Colm McCarthy.

In the report it was noted that there are too many ports and that the sector would benefit from a rationalisation of ownership and management structures. The decision which will be made over the next few months not only concerns the fate of the capital port but also the following state-owned ports: Dun Laoghaire, Waterford, Drogheda, Dundalk, Cork, Shannon Foynes, Wicklow, New Ross and Galway.

Mr Varadkar also warned that state money wouldn't be made available to bolster ports' balance sheets. "Where port companies are not successful, there will no bailouts and there will be no state aid. "It just isn't possible for the Government in the situation it's in to offer that," he said.

"Where smaller ports find themselves unable to continue operations, amalgamations or transfers to local authorities will be the preferred option."

On the issue of selling Dublin Port the company's chief executive Mr. Eamon O'Reilly who has cited previously that the port should not be sold as a private operator would not have the same incentive to invest as they would be focusing on generating returns.

As for the masterplan, he emphasised that the port would need to double its capacity so to handle the expected trade levels by 2040. He conceded the masterplan will cause some controversy but said the port has "great potential" to facilitate economic growth and make Dublin a better city to live in.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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