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Sailors express concern at harbour management

21st March 1997
DESPITE the buoyancy of the marine leisure industry, which is clearly evident at Boat Show 97 in the RDS this week, and the recent ERSI figures which show that over 80,000 people are involved in coastal boating, there is still no place provided for sailing on the management boards of at least two of the country's major sailing harbours. The harbour board announcements made by the Department of the Marine have met with an angry reaction from both the trade and boat user sectors attending the Dublin show. "We are very concerned about the snubbing of the leisure users of these harbours and what the implications might be for them, Irish Sailing Association (ISA) president Neil Murphy said yesterday.
Eamon Gilmore, Minister of State at the Department of the Marine, officially opened the 19th Irish boat show on Wednesday, and spoke of the need to assist the sector in its potential for growth. But instead, industry figures say they are being neglected. Bernard Gallagher, Irish Marine Federation (IMF) vice chairman, said: "It is extraordinary that the biggest growth area in the marine is not represented in any of the harbour authorities, even though under legislation the ports are supposed to be catering for both commercial and leisure users". A total of 14 new harbour boards will be appointed under the 1996 Harbours Act and they will have the freedom to manage ports on a more commercial basis. Of the 14 ports affected, Cork and Dun Laoghaire, the biggest leisure ports in the country, appear to be the main worries for the ISA and IMF. A spokeswoman for the Department of the Marine said yesterday: "The purpose is to make the new harbour boards commercial, semi state companies and to cater for all the needs of the harbour, including the leisure sector". The boat show runs until Sunday. Vendee Globe Yachtsman Tony Bullimore, whose rescue two months ago made headlines around the world, will attend tomorrow. In Clontarf, this week, the Mermaid Sailing Association reached middle ground on a problem that had been weighing heavy on the mind of class officers since it was revealed, after last year's national championship, that a difference of up to 80 kilos existed between competing boats in the 60 boat fleet. A new all up weight of 400 kilos has been approved for the 1997 championships. No minimum weight previously existed. The new rule will be reviewed at the end of season when enough boats will have been weighed to be find out what the true average weight should be. In Italy, with seven races sailed, sailing coach Trevor Millar reports that Aisling Bowman is leading the Europe class at the Anzio regatta which concludes tomorrow. Team

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