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Displaying items by tag: Brexit

Fishing rights remain a contentious issue as Brexit talks continue, with Britain lowering its demands on catches by EU fleets — but still far above Brussels’ recent offer.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier made a proposal to hand back 15-18% of fish caught in UK waters by EU fleets, a figure that could be worth up to €117 million to the British fishing industry.

But as the Guardian reports, Downing Street officials dismissed the offer as “derisory” while revising their demands to 60% from the previous 80%.

Barnier said today (Wednesday 2 December) that progress was being made on a number of key issues, including the UK’s demand for annual negotiations on catches.

Yet he is now under pressure from EU ambassadors not to rush into a deal that would be damaging to Europe’s fishing fleets. Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue stressed to Barnier at the weekend that “Ireland’s fishing industry needs a strong and stable EU/UK Fisheries agreement".

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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Brexit trade talks are set to continue into the weekend after it was reported an offer was made by the European Union to return up to 18% of fish caught in UK waters.

According to RTÉ News, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is said to have briefed member states on the offer this morning, Friday 27 November.

The proposal to hand back 15-18% of fish caught in UK waters by EU fleets could be worth up to €117 million to the British fishing industry.

Fishing rights are among the three main stumbling blocks in the path to a trade deal between the UK and EU, as the end of the Brexit transition period looms less than five weeks from now.

TheJournal.ie reports that Barnier will head to London this weekend for face-to-face talks, with the UK’s lead negotiator David Frost saying a deal was still possible but it “must fully respect UK sovereignty”.

The news of the quota offer has come as a surprise to many in Brussels, with sources of one BBC journalist saying the figures involved were among many discussed in recent weeks and would be a “very high price to pay” for Ireland and other EU fishing countries.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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"Mayhem" at Holyhead port is what hauliers have claimed there will be when the Brexit transition period ends.

The north Wales ferryport is the second biggest "roll-on roll-off" port in the UK after Dover, carrying 1,200 lorries and trailers a day across the Irish Sea.

The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) said the first six months of 2021 would be "terrible" as the port is not ready to cope with the change.

But the port's owner, Stena Line, has said the process would be smooth.

The IRHA remain unconvinced as the deadline to agree a new UK-EU deal approaches and the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December.

It is concerned border-ready pre-boarding IT systems have not been tested for outbound travel.

The European Union is planning to enforce border controls on the Irish side from 1 January but inbound lorries into Wales will not face any checks by UK authorities until July 2021.

For much more BBC News reports here.

Published in Ferry

Cork’s new Brexit-busting Ro-Ro freight link with Zeebrugge will be the focus of discussion at a special webinar on Thursday 26 November.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Port of Cork facilitated CLdN’s establishing a new direct shipping route from Cork to the Belgian port — bringing Europe closer and bringing SMEs within 550km of 60% of the EU’s purchasing power.

Gaining direct access to mainland Europe is increasingly important for businesses, as concerns grow over potential delays for companies sending products via the UK landbridge as Britain leaves the Single Market.

As Irish businesses re-evaluate their supply chains, finding business partnerships and sourcing products in these new markets may be daunting.

But support agencies such as Flanders Investment and Trade and the Enterprise Europe Network can assist with this process.

Flanders is also an ideal investment location for companies looking to get a foothold in Europe and reach clients in Belgium, its neighbouring countries and the European hinterland.

Book now to join the discussion to learn more about the new direct connections between Cork and Zeebrugge, and how this can be a first step for your business in bringing Europe closer. Speakers include:

  • Ambassador Pierre-Emmanuel De Bauw, Belgian Ambassador to Ireland
  • Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Cork
  • Lieve Duprez, Chief Officer Shortsea, Port of Zeebrugge
  • Jacques Vanhoucke, Trade and Investment Commissioner, Flanders Investment and Trade

This event is being hosted by Cork Chamber and the Enterprise Europe Network in association with the Port of Cork, Belgian Embassy, Flanders Investment and Trade & Port of Zeebrugge.

Published in Port of Cork
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Ireland could see an influx after Christmas of visiting boaters from Northern Ireland seeking to secure the VAT and duty status of their vessels as the Brexit transition period ends.

The suggestion comes after the UK’s Royal Yachting Association earlier this week welcomed “greater clarity” on the position of the customs status of boats from the European Commission.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, British boaters resident in the UK and the EU alike have feared being left in limbo regarding the tax and duty status of their vessels — and facing hefty charges when selling on or even relocating across territories.

The situation could still see a depression of the used boat market in Great Britain as EU-based buyers may be dissuaded by significant import levies.

Addressing UK boaters’ concerns, Howard Pridding, the RYA’s director of external affairs, said: “The Commission is no longer saying that any boat lying in the UK at the end of the transition period will not be eligible for Returned Goods Relief (RGR) as the boat will not have been exported.

“Instead they have differentiated the advice based on where the boat is registered and where the owner is established.

“The Commission’s interpretation of the law provides important guidance, but the final decision on what actually happens when a boat is imported rests with the authorities in the country in which that import is taking place.”

Pridding also noted the European Commission has confirmed the RYA’s suspicions “that documentation (such as a T2L, customs opinion letter or other supporting documentation) issued by the UK before the end of the transition period will not be valid in the EU as of the end of the transition period.

“However, we would recommend that boat owners keep hold of such documents, as they may provide useful evidence of the boat’s history and could be helpful when dealing with customs authorities in the EU27 in the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, as talks continue, it’s also expected that UK boats in the EU will be given a year’s grace to return to Great Britain before losing their UK VAT-paid status.

The situation is less clear for boats currently lying in Northern Ireland, as the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol is still under negotiation.

Nevertheless, a source close to Afloat.ie has suggested Ireland might now “expect to see a lot of Northern Ireland boats” and even boats from Wales “come [to the Republic] after Christmas to be in the EU” and then return to Great Britain in the New Year in the hopes of retaining their current VAT and duty status.

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Brexit checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea should be “operational effective” on 1 January even if customs facilities at ports are not yet on the ground.

That was the message from a senior Stormont official who gave evidence to the Executive Office committee yesterday, Wednesday 21 October, as TheJournal.ie reports.

“If buildings aren’t fully complete then that doesn’t stand in the way of there being effective checks,” said Andrew McCormick, Stormont’s lead official on EU exit.

Extra checks will be required on animal-based products entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the EU is seeking to have 15 customs and veterinary staff working alongside UK officials at ports of entry to ensure the proper implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

However, officials warn that the new physical infrastructure needed will not be ready by the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has welcomed the resumption of Brexit trade deal talks by the EU and the UK which aim to close the gaps between the two sides, including on the key issues of fisheries, the level playing field and governance.

Addressing the the Brexit Stakeholder Consultative Committee today, Thursday 22 October, the minister again urged agri-food businesses to immediately take the practical steps necessary to prepare for the changes that Brexit will bring from 1 January next year.

“This meeting is being held at a critical time, given that there are only around 70 days until the economic Brexit becomes a reality for us all,” said Minister McConalogue.

“We have said this before, but it bears repeating … things will change on 1 January 2021, and we need to understand what this will mean and be ready for it. There will be additional delays and costs, and businesses need to factor this into their planning for the period from 1 January onwards.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs gave an update on the state of play of EU-UK negotiations and the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland — the full, effective and timely implementation of which remains vital.

The Department of Transport provided an update in relation to the issue of direct ferry connections to the continent. Minister McConalogue encouraged businesses to engage with ferry companies on direct services in order to avoid potential delays on the UK landbridge.

‘With just over two months until the end of the transition period, time is very short and action is required urgently’

Recognising the vulnerability of the agri-food and fisheries sectors in the event that no EU-UK agreement is reached in the coming weeks, the minister welcomed the Government’s recent budgetary provision for an overall contingency fund of €3.4 billion to address the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid-19.

“This contingency fund will be made available to assist our most vulnerable sectors,” the minister said. “In addition, we know that the EU will establish a €5 billion Brexit Adjustment Reserve for the Member States and sectors worst affected by Brexit.

“Clearly, Ireland and its agri-food and fisheries sectors are particularly exposed, and I look forward to seeing the Commission’s proposals in relation to how this fund will be administered.”

On fisheries, the minister noted his recent bilateral meetings with fisheries ministers from France, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands when he attended the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg this week.

“As we reach a critical point in the negotiations, I highlighted that, now more than ever, it is vital that member states continue to remain united in order to protect the EU’s fishing industry and coastal communities.

“Unity, co-operation and solidarity between member states are vital at this critical juncture.”

Concluding, the minister said: “With just over two months until the end of the transition period, time is very short and action is required urgently. This is not something that can be left to the last minute, so I would appeal to businesses in the agri-food sector to take action now.”

Published in Fishing
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‘ACT now and Prepare to Switch’ — that’s the message to the logistics and maritime transport sectors from the IMDO as the prospect of a disorderly Brexit looms.

The two-part strategy for stakeholders begins with ACT, or Assess, Communicate, Trial.

As highlighted by the Government since 2018, Irish industry needs to assess supply chains to avoid disruption on the UK landbridge from 1 January 2021.

There is maritime capacity available on both existing and new services to transport goods directly to Continental Europe across different modalities (RO/RO, CON/RO, LO/LO), which represent reliable alternatives to the landbridge.

Now is also the time to communicate your requirements to shipping companies.

There are multiple options to avail of new routes and new services. If there is a level of demand, shipping companies have demonstrated that they will respond to exporters’ needs — the latest being CLdN, which has indicated it can “dramatically” increase its direct services to the Continent if need be.

The next step is trial — work now with your logistics provider or shipping companies to trial new options well in advance of any changes after the Brexit transition period ends.

Stakeholders should Prepare to Switch to direct services to the Continent to protect their route to market and avoid disruption on the UK landbridge. This is especially important if:

  • Your supply chain needs a lead in time to make alternative arrangements on the Continent;
  • Your produce is time-sensitive;
  • Customs procedures will cause unmanageable delays and costs to your business;
  • There is a risk to your business in switching routes and this needs to be trialled well in advance.

For more information on planning for Brexit, see gov.ie/Brexit

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Royal Yachting Association is hosting a free webinar this Wednesday 14 October at 4pm to share news on its latest lobbying activities over Brexit.

Representatives from the RYA’s cruising and legal and government affairs teams will cover the latest communications with the UK Government on the Brexit-related subjects that RYA members are most concerned about.

These including cruising access to the Schengen Area, the Return Goods Relief for boats, the validity of sailing qualifications in the European Union and changes to border controls.

Registration for this free one-hour webinar is open now.

Published in Cruising
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The Cabinet has heard that Dublin Port is not yet ready for the looming Brexit deadline and needs another inspection facility.

On Tuesday Ministers discussed how prepared Irish ports and airports are infrastructurally. The Cabinet was told that while airports were on target, and Rosslare Port is also prepared, an inspection facility is still needed in Dublin Port.

Minister were updated on the looming Brexit deadline and a number of “high-level risks” that have been identified, including potential delays and blockages at UK ports for Irish operators.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is due to introduce a new Brexit omnibus Bill in the coming weeks to prepare Ireland for the changes that will arise at the end of the transition period.The Bill will consist of 21 parts under the remit of 11 Ministers.

The Irish Times reports also on the Climate Action Bill.

Published in Dublin Port
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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