An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for the construction of a cruise berth and access causeway as well as dredging of a navigation channel and associated works at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
This new development is estimated to cost €18m and will allow for ships up to a maximum length of 250m and could attract around 50 cruises ships a year during the summer months from May to September.
The news has been welcomed by the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) which will mean that Dun Laoghaire Harbour will be able to accommodate up to 80% of the cruise ships that currently visit Dublin Bay.
Eithne Scott Lennon, Chairperson of DLHC, has said: “We are very pleased at the decision of An Bord Pleanála. The development of cruise tourism in Dun Laoghaire and its hinterland is recognised in the County Development Plan, the Harbour Masterplan, and the National Ports Policy, which envisages the future of the harbour in terms of marine tourism, marine leisure, cultural amenity and urban redevelopment.”
She added “In addition to the positive economic impact for the area, the commercial revenue accruing to the Harbour Company will be significant, particularly in the context of the need for us as a Company to continually invest in the maintenance and upgrading of the massive infrastructure of the 200- year old man-made harbour.
Today’s positive outcome now enables cruise tourism in Dublin to significantly grow by allowing Dublin’s two ports – Dún Laoghaire and Dublin – to collaborate and work with other stakeholders to exploit this great tourism opportunity. DLHC will also be engaging collaboratively with local Stakeholders in the months ahead”.
But what does this decision really mean for Dun Laoghaire town at large?
With possibly two cruise ships docking each week, each with up to 2000 passengers, it’s been suggested this could generate up to €10 million per season. That would represent a much needed boost for cash starved main street but many fear that the passengers will simply hop on the dart and head straight to the city centre to spend their money. Certainly it’s never too early to start formulating a plan to encourage these cruise passengers to stay local and spend local.