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A €750 million regeneration project at a city centre industrial site was unveiled in Cork on Wednesday and at its heart is an 800 berth marina. If it all goes ahead the new marina at Marina Commercial Park (MCP) will match the capactiy of the country's biggest marina on Dublin Bay. The project promises up to 1,200 construction jobs.

The redevelopment of the 24-acre Marina Commercial Park  in the heart of Cork city's docklands is expected to create 5,000 jobs once completed.

City manager Joe Gavin said: "This 24-acre site is at the heart of Cork's docklands and the announcement is a crucial step in realising Cork City Council's vision for the whole docklands area."

"It's a fantastic story in these bleak times and of course it would greatly add to boating in the south. It's also an example to the rest of the country of the opportunities that lie in city waterways", said David O'Brien of the Irish Marine Federation.

The proposed development features:

* More than 800 apartments, providing homes for up to 2,230 people.

* A marina where they can park their boats.

* A range of community amenities.

* A visitor and science centre, the Ford Experience, which is expected to attract up to 300,000 visitors annually.

* A new central plaza to provide a hub for the community, including a creche and library.

 

Published in Irish Marinas
The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has thrown its weight behind MEP Nessa Childers' efforts to raise funds in Europe for a stalled marina in Courtown.

Wexford Councillors and County Council officials have come together to seek European assistance to help save the stalled Courtown marina, news of the move was published in the Gorey ECHO.

"This is precisely the kind of question our politicians we need to ask if we're ever to complete the necklace of marinas around our coastline, said the IMF's David O'Brien.

Plans for a 230-berth marina in Courtown were unveiled in November 2008 and included apartments and retail units. The plans also included the construction of a breakwater off the south pier in the village.

Childers visited the north Wexford seaside village to discuss the possibility of restarting the project which has been stalled since 2008 due to the economic recession.

Following her meeting with council officials and county councillors, Ms. Childers submitted a Parliamentary Question regarding the possibilities for getting financial assistance for marina facilities in Ireland.

In the question Childers says: "Is there funding opportunities or other supports available from the European Union in order to assist in providing finance for the development of marina facilities in Ireland to enhance our tourism product?"

Ireland, as an island nation, is working to develop its infrastructure as a destination for sailing holidays.

"The development of marinas in a sustainable fashion at key locations around the coast of Ireland to accommodate sailing and boating activities would benefit from investment from a tourism and economic development point of view." said Childers.

For every euro spent berthing in Courtown marina visiting sailors will spend 10 in the village, according to our research, says O'Brien. Huge Tourism benefits can literally come in on the tide, if only we had the infrastructure", he added.

The IMF is the national body that represents the marine leisure industry including the Irish Marina Operators Association (IMOA).

The County Council carried out a feasibility study which found that the marina had to be self-funding through sale of apartments and other units as there was no government funding for such developments.

Speaking this week, Director of Services with Wexford County Council, Niall McGuigan said: "It is currently not financially feasible but we hope for the best. We would be very eager for it to go ahead."

Mr. McGuigan said that the project was on hold until either funding became available, an investor was found or a combination of both.

Published in Coastal Notes

The Irish Marine Federation in its role as  lead partner in the Interreg Programme, irish-sea.org, is currently working on the following projects. Executive Steve Conlon gives the following update to afloat.ie:

Marine Leisure Conference:
A conference to assist marine leisure companies to survive the current downturn on both sides of the Irish Sea is currently being planned. A number of high level speakers will be engaged to give advice on how to survive the recession and to bring forward development ideas to assist growth once the economies on both sides of the Irish Sea recover. The exact details of the speakers and the content is still being developed so if you have any suggestions for speakers or subjects to be covered please contact Steve Conlon. We intend this to be a seminal event of major importance to the industry so to ensure the maximum value can be gained for our members your input into the content and the context will be invaluable.
Coastal Communities:
The establishment of a number of Coastal Communities around our coasts to boast the marine leisure industry and to ensure that maximum number of marine leisure companies can benefit from the Interreg Programme. Two new coastal Communities about to get underway, Tralee Bay and Waterford/East Cork.
National Maritime Spatial Plan:
The Coastal Communities will also ensure that marine leisure becomes fully integrated into the national Maritime Spatial Plan when it is developed through contributing to a coastal audit of all marine leisure activities. Through our partners in South Wales, The Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum will assist us to produce an Integrated Coast Zone Policy for marine Leisure. This will be delivered through a number of workshops around the coast.
Marine Festivals and Events:
We have published the Social Economic Study into the value of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta: Copies of the study are available from Steve Conlon. The study provides an insight into the spend per boat, the tourism aspects of the event and also the visitor spend. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council is using some of the data collected for another project that they are conducting into the development of a new brand image for the Town of Dun Laoghaire. The total value of the regatta is put at €2.4 million.
Irish-sea.org is also conducting a similar study for the Town of Wicklow who held a Sailfest in conjunction with the Conway Round Ireland Race. This study is still being compiled and the results will be published later in the Autumn. The Interreg Programme worked with both Wicklow Sailing Club and the local Wicklow Chamber of Commerce on the event and the study. Approx 10,000 people visited the town during the 3 days of the festival.
The Fenit based Coastal Community held a successful Seabreeze Festival as part of the Round Ireland Powerboat race. The Interreg Programme assisted the Community with several aspects of the event.
Business Training:
Several marine leisure businesses have benefited from the business training that is available through the County Enterprise Boards. If you wish to be involved in this activity please contact Steve Conlon.
Marina Management Training:

Irish-sea.org has been working with the British Marine Federation/Yacht Harbours Association to bring a number of courses to Ireland. We had hoped to run an "Intermediate Marina Managers" course in Ireland this year but this has now been but back until the spring of next year. The BMF will run a full Certified Marina Managers Course in Ireland in the Autumn. If there are any members who have the pre-qualifications for this course please contact Steve Conlon as the programme would like to assist as many of those who do qualify to participate. The BMF have chosen Ireland as the location to run this international course in competition with a number of other locations. Ireland came out tops in every respect from the well run marina facilities that they visited, travel access and transfer, conference and hotel facilities. Ireland as a venue came out tops in almost every criterion tested so from a marine leisure tourism perspective the holding of this prestigious course in Ireland may help put us on the map.

Contact: [email protected]

Published in Marine Federation

It might be the least expected outcome after a torrid two years in boat sales but now Irish brokers have few large boats left to sell. The scarcity stems from the fact that Irish second-hands have been snapped up by foreign bargain hunters over the past two years.

"Ireland is a source for good quality, well priced second hand boats, says Broker Bernard Gallagher.
"The fact is plenty of good sail and power craft left these shores at the right price since 2008. We made many continental sailors very happy", he added. "It's surprising but for boats between 150k to 400k we now have more buyers than boats. We've done well on the export front"  Gallagher of BJ Marine said.
Now that sterling has become stronger it is expected Irish boats will become even more competitively priced this Summer.

Irish dealers are combating the problem of a lack of both sail and power brokerage boats however with attractively priced new boat offers that includes bank finance options. 
Unfortunately for the boat trade however demand is not across all sectors of the boat market. The bulk of the Irish market is stuck with a glut of small boat stock. 
"There's plenty of evidence of dealers simply closing the doors, others are desperately trying to clear stock", said David O'Brien of the Irish Marine Federation. The problem is particularly acute in the small motor boat section where even in the good times dealers readily concede the Irish market was over supplied. "No matter what price we put them at, it makes no difference, there's no market for them" one reseller told afloat.ie.

 

Published in Marine Federation

Irish businesses got a shot in the arm today with the news that UK VAT rates are to go up from 17.5% to 20%.The VAT differential will only be 1% compared to just over a year ago when it was 6.5%. "This makes large ticket items such as boats and equipment much more affordable at home and Irish business more competitive. It will help a lot with the problem of people crossing the border to shop" said Irish Marine Federation (IMF) chairman David O'Brien.

The Irish Marine Federation, an IBEC affiliated trade association, expressed concern at the implications for the marine industry when the UK Government reduced 2.5% to 15% with effect from 1 December 2008. It said then the effect would decimate the Irish Marine Industry, a forecast that proved correct.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne increased the value-added tax rate to 20 percent from 17.5 percent in the first permanent change to the levy on sales of goods and services in almost two decades.

"The years of debt and spending make this unavoidable," Osborne told Parliament in London in his emergency budget today as he announced a package of spending cuts and tax increases to cut the U.K.'s record deficit.

The Federation, that represents, the marine leisure industry has also renewed its call for VAT on safety equipment such as lifejacket and radios to to be abolished.

Published in Marine Federation
A turnout estimated in excess of 350 people produced 500,000 in sales at a Used Boat Show in Dun Laoghaire at the weekend. The Coal Harbour based marine firm, MGM Marine say the three day show led to at least seven boat sales. The boats, both sail and power, were from the company's brokerage list and represented a significant uplift in business.
The mood has changed, the Show goers were drawn from our existing customers and those definitely interested in boating, said the firm's Gerry Salmon.
Sales of boats varied from a Moody 31 Sailing Cruiser that is staying locally. A Jeanneau leader 805 motorboat, a Prestige 34 foot and 30 foot motorboat. Deposits were also taken on a Sea Ray 250 DA speedboat, a small brig RIB and a Maxum 25 speedboat.

A turnout estimated in excess of 350 people produced Euro 500,000 in sales at a Used Boat Show in Dun Laoghaire at the weekend. The Coal Harbour based marine firm, MGM Boats Ltd say the three day show led to at least seven boat sales. The boats, both sail and power craft, were from the company's brokerage list and represented a significant uplift in business. "The mood has changed, show goers were drawn from our existing customers and those definitely interested in boating", said the firms Gerry Salmon.

Sales of boats varied from a Moody 31 Sailing Cruiser that is staying locally to Jeanneau motorboats; a leader 805, a Prestige 34 foot and Prestige 30 foot. Deposits were also taken on a Sea Ray 250 DA speedboat, a small brig RIB and a Maxum 25 speedboat.

Published in Marine Trade

The Irish marine trade is recovering lost ground this spring according to the Irish Marine Federation's Mark McAuley. Having discussed market conditions with market leaders, it is clear that the market’s appetite for boats and boating holidays has improved – “As an industry, we sat down and took a hard look at the way things are going after a long dark winter for the industry. The great news is that boat sales are up around 30% compared to spring 2009. This increase is from a low base, but it’s good to see an upturn. Consumers are responding to the very competitive prices that are being offered by boat sellers to encourage people back into the market.”

Boating holidays on the Shannon are proving more popular. According to McAuley, “The hire boat fleet on the Shannon has shrunk somewhat over the last few years but bookings are up compared to last year and a bit of good weather could deliver a good season. Things have been helped by Bord Failte’s marketing of boating holidays to the Irish and continental European markets.”

 

“The marinas are also starting to fill up again. Since 2008 berths became readily available where once there were none, but the marinas have responded by lowering their prices and occupancy rates are rising in the major boating centres of Dublin, Cork and elsewhere.”

 

“Whilst the marine leisure market peaked like many others in 2006 and still has a long way to go if it is to reach those sorts of levels again, it is good to see that consumers are beginning to respond to the new pricing across the industry. There is an acute awareness that consumers are looking for value for money but, once they see it, there is now a willingness to buy.”

 

“Business costs remain a real problem, especially in light of falling prices. Rent and rates are big fixed costs and should have reduced in line with the market, but upward only rent reviews are blocking this. Competition in the domestic market is intense and our punitive VAT rate has eroded our competitiveness against UK suppliers.”

 

“The Irish Marine Federation is working hard to assist the industry and ensure it is well placed to take advantage of these small upswings in the market. The recession has had a huge impact on the industry and many companies have not survived, but the core of the industry is still there doing business. They are leaner and eager to keep people engaged in boating around our coasts and on our inland waterways. We have a wonderful marine environment and it’s great to see people out there enjoying it. No industry could ask for better a better foundation than that.”

UPDATE ON IMF ACTIVITY HERE

Published in Marine Federation
Page 3 of 3

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