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Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Local yacht clubs, marine businesses and sailing schools were among the attendees of the first ever meeting of Dun Laoghaire Harbour tenants and stakeholders that took place at Ireland's largest boating centre last week.

A draft agenda, seen by Afloat.ie, was circulated to over a dozen stakeholders before last Friday's meeting and outlines the purpose of the meeting as a means to 'establish any common concerns so they may be presented to the new landlords on a collective basis'.

The meeting comes during a period of intense change in Dun Laoghaire as the 200–year–old harbour is transferred from a state company ownership and into the realm of the local authority.

The well attended meeting discussed items of concern such as mapping out its viable future since the loss of the Car Ferry in 2015. The group agreed to a further update in a month's time when the local authority will have taken over the running of the harbour.

Suggested Further Reading: 

Without a Harbour Czar, Dun Laoghaire’s All at Sea

Dun Laoghaire Yacht Clubs Must Put On a United Front

Where is Dun Laoghaire Sailing's Strategic Plan?

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#DLHarbour - Solicitors for Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company called for the retraction of “damaging and disparaging statements” made at a council meeting on the transfer of the port to local authority control, it has emerged.

According to today’s Sunday Times (6 May), the solicitors claimed that remarks by four Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors at the meeting on 6 March “call into question the proper governance and management of the company.”

Mason Hayes & Currin repeated their demand on 16 March to DLRCoCo chair Tom Murphy, who replied that he was not responsible for statements made by other councillors in meetings, which are in general under qualified privilege.

Read more on this story from the The Sunday Times (behind the paywall).

#DublinBay - As Afloat previously reported the recent arrival of Stena Carrier to Dun Laoghaire Harbour was a surprise to many an onlooker as the imposing vessel towered above Carlisle Pier, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Stena Carrier is the largest ever ro-ro (freight-ferry) ship to enter Dun Laoghaire Harbour having anchored in Dublin Bay for over a week.

The call to the harbour was to permit carrying out surveys of the 182m long vessel. Furthermore, Afloat can reveal that works also involved the ro-ro's landing gear and the loading of stores at Carlisle Pier (see related story). The ship remains in port apparently awaiting a new charter. 

The 2004 Italian built '4Runner' class Stena Carrier is operated by Stena RoRo, part of the Stena group of shipping interests and not to be confused with their ferry division Stena Line.

At 21,000 gross registered tonnage Stena Carrier surpasses the no-longer in service 19,000grt High-Speed Service (HSS) Stena Explorer. The HSS car-carrying catamaran craft operated the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead fastferry seasonal route until a final crossing from the Irish port took place from St. Micheal's Pier (see related story) in September 2014.

In the following year, Stena officially announced to confirm the service be withdrawn and that the HSS would no longer return that season. This marked the end of the historic Ireland-Wales link dating back for more than 150 years. The move saw Stena consolidate existing services in neighbouring Dublin Port where operations to Holyhead are served by two ferries.

The Stena Carrier's location alongside Carlisle Pier is opposite to the East Pier where the harbour's only passenger carrying operator is Dublin Bay Cruises. They advertise the cruises as the 'Howth Ferry' with a sign placed at the beginning of the East Pier.

From the pier's jetty is where the 96 passenger capacity St. Bridget embarks and disembarks those travelling on trips. The vessel is not strictly a ferry, given it is not used by commuters but is based on excursion work. This involves a network of cruise leg options linking the capital port and both harbours.  

Prior to the arrival of Stena Carrier, the ro-ro vessel in recent weeks was on charter to P&O Ferries on their Dublin-Liverpool service. 

The ships's port of registry is Frederikshavn in Denmark. This is where Stena Line operate a short sea link (3.5hrs) to Gothenburg, Sweden. The west coast Swedish city is where Stena RoRo and the ferry operator's headquarters are based.  

The Ro–Ro Cargo Ship 'Stena Carrier' arrived into Dun Laoghaire Harbour this morning berthing at the Carlisle Pier.

The Danish flagged vessel has been at anchor in Dublin Bay since April 22nd. 

The 182.77m ship is the first such cargo arrival into the South Dublin Harbour that has been without regular commercial shipping since the cessation of the Stena HSS ferry in 2015.

Stena Carrier. 2The Stena Carrier on Berth Number Two at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Since then, the Harbour has only seen ad hoc cargo arrivals, such as the 2015 unloading of Guiness Fermentation tanks.

Afloat.ie sources confirm that Stena Carrier is alongside at number two berth in Dun Laoghaire for 'survey work' but there will be many in the vacant harbour hoping that this could possibly be the start of a new relationship with the Scandinavian company.

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#DLHarbour - “There is no immediate health and safety issue with any pier in Dun Laoghaire.”

That was the message from Transport Minister Shane Ross in his reply to a Dáil question from local TD Richard Boyd Barrett earlier this week.

On the question of the risk assessment and due diligence reports conducted on Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, Minister Ross said the process “is a matter for” the chief executive of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, who concluded last month “that the most appropriate model for the [harbour] company is the transfer and dissolution model.” 

The minister confirmed earlier this month that “all assets and liability” of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company would transfer to the local authority.

“I understand that the main issue now outstanding relates to remedial works in the harbour and how those works will be funded,” said Minister Ross in his response to Deputy Barrett, reiterating that National Ports Policy “clearly states that there is no Exchequer funding for any port company.

“My Department has been informed that there is no immediate health and safety issue with any pier in Dun Laoghaire,” he continued.

The statement comes after recent concerns over damage to the West Pier after Storm Emma, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

#DLHarbour - It’s all change for Dun Laoghaire Harbour ahead of its pending transfer to local authority control — and part of that change might be seen this summer in the form of an inflatable aqua park.

Big Splash Water Parks Ltd has lodged a planning exemption application for an inflatable waterpark and barge to be installed in the Coal Harbour, after winning a tender from the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company to provide the recreational amenity.

The inflatable aqua park would comprise an inflatable obstacle course with a barge for changing facilities. No works or change of use would be involved in its installation and therefore it does not constitute a development, the applicant states.

The application is available to view HERE.

The €33.5million figure for "Taking in Charge" of Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the transfer to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown is a broad brush number and needs to be examined writes Dun Laoghaire sailor Hal Sisk. 

During the recent DLR Council debate on the transfer, in response to queries, only four cost components were itemised by the consulting engineer for the accountancy firm conducting a financial "risk assessment":

€3m for the East Pier
€4m for the West Pier

€8m for repairs to piles at Berth 1
€800k for annual maintenance.

But most of the €33.5m was not itemised, and crucially, the report seemed to presume the putting right of all the structures including the now obsolete ferry berth. With the future of the Harbour as a Marine Park, with improved Public Access, and a Water Sports Centre, and thus without commercial port activity needing berths, most of the €33.5m may be unnecessary.

East Pier: €3m? Previously independently assessed at €4m, so plausible.

With €4m for West Pier, this leaves €26.5m for other repairs. But how much is actually necessary? €8m of this was described as "for repair to piles at Berth 1". But if there are no ferries, why spend money repairing a redundant structure? What other structures are irrelevant?

"An alternative new vision for the Harbour could make the cost of "Taking in Charge" hugely overstated" 

Similarly, if the basic structure of the Harbour is put right, especially the Piers and the Roundheads, which are "protected strictures", the engineer's estimate of €800k for maintenance may also be overstated.

Thus, now that Dun Laoghaire no longer has any credible commercial viability as a port, and after the winding up of the obsolete quango of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, an alternative new vision for the Harbour could make the cost of "Taking in Charge" hugely overstated.

But the Taking in Charge numbers, together with recent damage to the East and West Piers by Storm Emma, also suggests an accumulated deficit by DLHC in maintaining this national asset. Since DLHC cannot address these issues, the responsibility reverts to its parent body, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

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#DLHarbour - “All assets and liabilities” of Dun Laoghaire  Harbour Company will transfer to the local authority upon its pending dissolution — with no additional State funding available, the Minister for Transport has confirmed.

Shane Ross was responding in writing to a parliamentary question from local independent county councillor Michael Merrigan, which asked the minister to specify if any funding would be provided “to create a reserve to assist Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in outstanding liabilities as part of a final agreement of transfer”.

National Ports Policy recognised that the future of Dun Laoghaire port lies in marine leisure, marine tourism, cultural amenity and urban redevelopment,” Minister Ross wrote. “In addition, it clearly states that there is no Exchequer finding for any port company.”

Confirming that the existing port company’s assets and liabilities would transfer to DLRCoCo, the minister added that “the port will continue to generate income from marine-related and other activities such as rents, leases and car parks”, and that any remedial and engineering works “are normally prioritised” and funded via planned allocations.

Cllr Merrigan’s question raised concerns that Dun Laoghaire Harbour company’s financial liabilities “are greater than its liquid assets” and that the transfer comes with “risks and potential exposure” to the local authority.

The minister “needs to clarify funding” on the foot of a “€33.5 million burden on residents and businesses” in the county, the councillor added.

Last week, local Green Party councillor Ossian Smyth said the transfer of liabilities to the local authority is “not acceptable”.

#DLHarbour - The proposal by Transport Minister Shane Ross to transfer Dun Laoghaire  Harbour’s liabilities to the local authority along with its assets is “not acceptable”, according to a local councillor.

Last Monday 9 April, Green Party Cllr Ossian Smyth shared the news that the minister had decided the “responsibility for the future of the port” lies with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, in line with National Ports Policy.

Local campaigners broadly welcomed the news after a long period of uncertainly over the port’s future, with People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett hailing the decision as a victory for “people power”.

But now concerns have been raised with the particulars of Minister Ross’ letter to DLRCoCo chief executive Philomena Poole, in which he states that his “preferred model of transfer is that of dissolution of [Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company] and the transfer of all assets, liabilities and employees to the County Council.”

Cllr Smyth told Afloat.ie: “Dun Laoghaire’s taxpayers should not be left on the hook for debts accumulated by the harbour company while pursuing far-fetched projects like the super cruise ship berth, the floating hotel and floating homes, a hotel on the Carlisle Pier and so on.”

#DLHarbour - Transport Minister Shane Ross must ensure there is “no delay” in the transfer of Dun Laoghaire  Harbour to the local authority, as Dublin Live reports.

Earlier this week it emerged that Minister Ross had made his determination that the “responsibility for the future of the port lies with DLR County Council”.

The move is being hailed as a victory for “people power” by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, a long-time local campaigner for bringing the harbour under public control.

Minister Ross is set to meet with the chief executive of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to discuss the dissolution of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and the transfer of its assets to the local authority.

“[Successive Transport Ministers’] failure to act has meant that significant liabilities have built up and a lot of public money has been wasted,” said Deputy Boyd Barrett. 

“The Government needs to now stump up the money needed to cover these liabilities, while ensuring no delay in the transfer of the harbour into full public control.”

Meanwhile, DLRCoCo has signed a €9 million contract for the long-awaited redevelopment of the Dun Laoghaire Baths adjacent to the harbour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

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