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News & news archive

The Ferry service has been restored and the first commercial sailing of the new ship will take place on March 1st 2010!

We’ll continue to keep this page updated with breaking news about the Ferry.

We also send out an email newsletter
(Read our newletters here - December 09 -  September 25th 2009 -  April 29th 2009 -  April 8th 2009 - April 2009 - Late February 2009 - February 2009 - December 2008 - October 2008, August 2008, June 2008) to people who have requested it - including everybody who has given us their email address through the e-petition page. If you’d like to receive the newsletter - please leave your comments on our e-petition and you’ll automatically be put on our newsletter emailing list

Minutes of the Glengarrif Meeting are here - first meeting, second meeting


News index - Investment opportunities here!

3/10/09 The ‘Julia’ sails into Cork Harbour - (Southern Star)
THE title of the U2 song in Fastnet Line’s promotional DVD said it all. It was “a beautiful day” for Cork on September 25, the feast of St. Finbarr, as the magnificent MV Julia, arrived into Cork Harbour to herald a new beginning with the soon to be revived Cork-Swansea ferry link. more

25/08/09 - Search for new ferryboss nears completion
AROUND 10 people have been interviewed for the post of chief executive of Ireland’s planned new ferry company.
The Fastnet Line intends to operate between Cork and Wales on the Swansea route.
It is expected the successful candidate will be announced next month.
 Irish Examiner - Sean O’Riordan - more

15/7/09 - Hunt is on for chief to oversee relaunch of ferry service
WEST Cork Tourism is seeking to appoint a chief executive to run the Fastnet Line which will relaunch the Swansea-Cork ferry route next March.

The successful applicant will asked to develop the company’s operations during the next seven months and raise an additional €1.5 million for working capital.
Irish Examiner - more

9/5/09 Disappointment at deferral of ferry service until next March
-tempered by general acceptance of reasons
Southern Star - Leo McMahon
- more

30/4/09 - Council commits €250,000 to ferry   
Cork Independent -  by Mary O’ Keeffe 
- more - How to Invest - How to donate

11/4/09 Co-operative officially formed to restore Swansea-Cork ferry
By Jackie Keogh - Southern Star - more

10/4/09 More details on the Co-op and the deal
from West Cork Tourism -
more - How to Invest - How to donate

7/4/09 23:00 - It’s Unanimous!
Huge positivity at Shareholder meeting & Fastnetline pre-booking site opens
- From the Campaign -
more - How to Invest - How to donate

4/4/09 Sail Agreed! on the Julia
-
From the Campaign -  more

4/4/09 - John Hosford to address the Welsh Assembly
-
From the Campaign -  more

2/4/09 - Deal 'agreed' for Swansea ferry
- BBC News Website - more

1/4/09 Agreement reached on basis of a deal to purchase the Julia
-
Newsletter from the Campaign - more

13/3/09 Consortium Navigates Ferry Deal
- South Wales Evening Post - Rob Westall - more

12/3/09 Swansea-Cork ferry talks ongoing - BBC News
Backers aiming to refloat the Swansea to Cork ferry are in ongoing talks with the owner of a replacement boat.
- more

16/2/09 - Deadline extended for ferry bid
A consortium working to restore the Swansea to Cork ferry has been granted an extra two weeks to raise the money.- BBC News website
- more

26/2/09 - Moment of truth   
Mary O’ Keeffe   - Cork Independent - more

25/2/09 - Ferry roadshow comes to Swansea - Press release from the BringBackTheSwanseaCorkFerryCampaign - more

25/2/09 - Crunch nears over revival bid for ferry -
Thisissouthwales.co.uk
- more
“Up to 200 tourism businesses in Swansea could help bring back
the ferry service to Cork.”

25/2/09 - Deal for €10m ship under way
by Sean O’Riordan  - Irish Examiner - more

24/2/09 Ferry return 'would boost city'
The return of the Swansea to Cork ferry would boost tourism and business in south Wales, backers have said. - BBC News Website more

24/2/09 “It’s time to decide”
- from the Kingdom / Killarney Chamber - more

23/2/09 Call for more investors to help reinstate Cork-Swansea ferry
Irish Examiner - Jennifer Hough and Donal Hickey -  more

23/02/09 - Footballers pitch in to get ferry funds
Olivia Kelleher - Irish Times  - more

21/2/09 West Cork Tourism Co-Op confident of reaching target
By Jackie Keogh - Southern Star - more

19/2/09 - €2m pledged to resume Swansea-Cork ferry service
Olivis Kelleher - Irish Times - more

12/2/09 Fresh Hope for Swansea Cork Ferry Service and Future of South West Tourism
A New Co-operative calls for support of local business people to raise €3 million 
- from West Cork Tourism - more

24/1/09 - Final push needed to restore Swansea-Cork ferry service - by Frank O’Donovan - Southern Star - more

21/1/09 Bosses: Ferry route will be reinstated by April
By Sean O’Riordan - Irish Examiner

PORT of Cork management say they’re confident the Swansea-Cork ferry route will be reinstated by April. - more

20/1/09 - Success is close for Swansea Cork ferry! - Press Release from the Campaign
Campaigners for the return of the Swansea-Cork ferry link revealed today that the service could be running again by April.” - more

8/1/09 Announcement expected on return of ferry - Cork Independent  
An announcement regarding the future of the Swansea Cork Ferry is expected over the coming weeks with campaigners saying they expect the service will be reinstated in time for the 2009 holiday season. - more

6/1/09 Cork ferry could return by spring - Swansea Evening Post
THE Swansea-Cork ferry route could be re-established by March.
Campaign organisers say they hope to secure funds for the scheme before the end of the month. - more

12/12/08 “The Port of Cork says the reinstatement of the Swansea-Cork ferry service is just a step away.”Sean O’Riordan - Irish Examiner - more

23/10/08 “Talks raise hopes Cork_Swansea ferry will be restored”
- reported by Sinead Kelleher in the Irish Examiner - more

18/10/08 - A huge issue for tourism region! - An excellent summary of the story so far by Leo McMahon in the Southern Star - more

18/10/08 “Every effort being made to restore ferry service” - Capt. Michael McCarthy, Port of Cork - quoted in the Southern Star more

11/10/08 “Ten reasons why we’re not competing with Ryanair” -
by Chris Taylor - reported on www.talkireland.com more

26/09/08 - Cork-Swansea route eligible for Government aid
- Press release from MEP Colm Burke - more   

25/09/08 - Advance news of cross-party public meeting in Glengarriff
- Irish Examiner - more

19/9/08 Loss of Ryanair routes and ferry access will hit tourism in South-West
- Irish Examiner - more

10/9/08 Cork director's pledges for ferry return - Swansea Evening Post - more

9/9/08 Talks on bringing back Cork-Swansea ferry link - ‘A sign of considerable progress
Irish Times quoting  Capt Michael McCarthy (Port of Cork) - more.

9/9/08 Incentives for ferry operators to reopen link
Irish Examiner (online)
The Port of Cork, together with Associated British Ports, have agreed a joint package of incentives that will be presented to leading ferry operators in the hope of re-establishing the Cork-Swansea link
. - more

4/09/08 - Letter from Kathy Sinnott MEP to Noel Dempsey TD
- in support of the campaign - more

4/09/08 - Visitors to 60th Anniversary Morris Minor Rally call for return of Swansea-Cork Ferry - Bandon Opinion - more

3/09/08 - Website support swells for Swansea Cork Ferry -
reported in the Irish Post - more

27/08/08 - Port chiefs to discuss ferry route re-opening
- Sean O’Riordan - Irish Examiner - An important meeting is set to take place next month between the Port of Cork and Associated British Ports aimed at getting the Swansea-Cork ferry up and running again. - more

26/08/08 “Loss of the ferry is costing Cork & Kerry €100,000 per day”
- Helen Walsh of the Evening Echo reporting on our User Survey - more

25/8/08 Campaign featured on RTE Radio 1 ‘Seascapes’ programme - more

21/8/08 - Welsh AM Val Lloyd calls for the Swansea Cork ferry service to be restored
South Wales Evening Post - more

7/8/08 - “...Calling for decent pay and conditions for the new crew”
Letter to Noel Dempsey TD - Minister for Transport & Marine from Tony Ayton, (Retired ITF Inspector for Ireland) more

30/07/08 - “Joint campaign to restore ferry service”
- Irish Examiner article follows up the joint high-level meeting.....more

29/07/08 - “Politicians unite in effort to restore ferry service”
 - Irish Examiner reports on a high-level meeting about the ferry involving politicians from Ireland and South Wales..... more

19/07/08 “Cork needs a ferry link with Swansea”
- Cork Evening Echo on the appointment of the new Failte Ireland chairman, Redmond O'Donoghue. more

08/07/08 “World support for Cork’s fight for return of ferry”
- Helen Walsh in the Cork Evening Echo with some interesting statistics about the Ferry campaign.- here.

03/07/08 “New Mayor to press for revival of Ferry”
- story from the Cork Examiner - here.

29/6/08 "It's almost like a crusade at this stage – the region needs a ferry."
- says Capt, Michael McCarthy of the Port of Cork in this excellent article from the Tribune. more

18/6/08 Ryanair accepts subsidy for Kerry (airport) route
- From the Independent back in May 2008
- isn’t it odd how subsidies seem to be available for airports but not for ferries?more

5/6/08 Ferry Campaign makes the Front Page of the Southern Star ... more

27/5/08 - “We’re confident that the Route has great potential”
- say Port of Cork Commercial Manager Michael McCarthy in this ‘good news / bad news’ article from the Cork Evening Echo. more

1/6/08 - Full Steam ahead for Ferry Campaign
...a round-up of the story so far.... more

23/5/08 So near and yet so far!
- The Christian IV, was very nearly the next Swansea-Cork ferry - but, after months of negotiation with interested Irish parties,she was sold instead to a Russian company...
What a disgrace ! - more

21/5/08 - “Swansea-Cork Ferry service could be viable on a year-round basis”
- Transport Minister - Noel Dempsey more

16/5/08 - The Campaign featured in the Irish Post more

12/5/08 - Open Letter to An Taoiseach from John Hosford more

27/04/08 - Our Campaign is front page news in the Cork Evening Echo more

26/4/2008 - Swansea Cork Ferries website still ‘down’ !
- A conspiracy - or just plain ineptitude....? more

22/4/2008 - What’s actually been going on since October 2007 ?
- see our interview with Cork County Councillor Dermot Sheehan more


26 September

Cork-Swansea route eligible for Government aid
- Press release from MEP Colm Burke
  

The Government should immediately seek clarification from the European Commission with regard to providing financial support for a new shipping line between Cork and Swansea.

The call has come from Fine Gael MEP Colm Burke after receiving a response to a question which he had put to the Commission in the European Parliament last night.

The Commission, in their response, outlined that the Government can fund up to 30% of the cost of operating this route for a period of three years.  The ball is now in the Government's court to supply the strategic funds to restart this route, which is of immense importance to the Ireland South region.

The Port of Cork is also actively engaged in developing specific proposals for improving maritime links between Ireland, France and Spain through the Western Europe Sea Transport & Motorways of the Sea (WEST-MOS project) and direct services to the continent by-passing the UK land-bridge route.

Both potential routes can be funded as part of the "Motorways of the Sea", which is a stated priority under the Trans-European Networks Programme. It would offer enourmous potential for reducing costs, CO2 emissions and congestion on land motorways for consumers, hauliers and public authorities alike.

"In 2007 the Port of Cork recorded a record throughput of 10.7 million tonnes, proving that it is the premier port on the south coast of Ireland," said the MEP for Ireland South.

"It is obvious that investment costs for motorways of the sea would only amount to only a fraction of what new terrestrial motorways would cost. It is time that the Irish Government took this issue seriously and supported investment in maritime links between Cork and Swansea and Cork to Spain," said Colm Burke.

The full text of the Commission's reponse is below:

"At the EU level, the TEN-T Grant scheme supports funding of infrastructure and facilities. The maximum funding intensity is 20% for project parts located in only one Member State, and 30% for the cross-border parts of the projects. The support foreseen for the Priority Project Nr 21 - Motorways of the sea was established in the multi-annual work programme [1] 2007 and amounts to € 310 million for the programming period 2007-2013, distributed in calls published annually from 2008 to 2013.

"The Marco Polo II programme [2] supports transport operations and includes Motorways of the sea as one out of five actions eligible for support. The total amount available for the programming period 2007-2013 is € 450 million (for all actions). The maximum funding intensity is 35% for up to five years.

"The Cohesion [3] and Regional development funds [4] also allow for funding of Motorways of the sea, provided that Member States have included these actions in the corresponding programming documents. The maximum funding intensity is 85%.

"The European Investment Bank (EIB) can provide support for Motorways of the Sea either through senior debt financing or through the Loan Guarantee instrument for TEN-T projects [5] (LGTT).

"Moreover, in the event that Community available resources are insufficient, Member

"States may complement Community financing with State aid in order to grant projects selected under Marco Polo II and TENT-T with the maximum intensity of public support. For the sake of legal security the Commission intends to explain this specific aspect in a communication to be adopted by the Commission in the autumn 2008.

"Finally, at the national level, Member State may also provide national support to short sea shipping and Motorways of the Sea in accordance with the Community guidelines on State aid to maritime transport. The maximum funding intensity amounts to 30% for three years; prior to their implementation, national support schemes have to be authorized by the Commission pursuant to Articles 87 and 88 EC Treaty."

10 September 2008

Cork director's pledges for ferry return
Swansea Evening Post


THE Swansea-Cork ferry route could be re-established if enough work is put in, the director of the port of Cork has said.

Michael McCarthy has pledged to keep working to see the service resume in 2009.

He said: "I will keep working to see if we can get it up and running.

"I could say there was a five out of 10 chance, or six out of 10, or four out of 10, but that's really speculation."

Mr McCarthy added: "My gut feeling is if we all put enough work into re-establishing the route we can do it."

Pressure has been building on both sides of the Irish Sea for a return of the ferry.

Mr McCarthy said: " I have submitted a proposal to two consultants to establish the case — a cost-benefit analysis of the service — and a whole business case around it."

It was hoped that a meeting yesterday would result in an agreed package of incentives to encourage a new operator to reintroduce the vital ferry link, which was axed in January 2007.

It has been estimated that the ferry route was worth around £65 million a year to Wales in 2006.

A spokesman for the bring back the Swansea-Cork ferry campaign said: "We at the campaign hope this meeting will pave the way for the re-introduction of this lifeline between the UK and the South-West of Ireland — and breathe some life back into our flagging tourist industry in time for the 2009 season.

"Tourism in the region has been badly hit since the ferry crossing ceased operating in October 2006 — losses have been estimated at 100,000 Euros per day."

Managers at Associated British Ports have said it was impossible to say when the service will resume.

Some 1,823 people have signed an online petition so far at www.bringbacktheswansea corkferry.com
 

9th September

Talks on bringing back Cork-Swansea ferry link
OLIVIA KELLEHER - Irish Times

TALKS HAVE taken place in Cork aimed at re-establishing a ferry link with Swansea more than a year after the service was cancelled.

It has been estimated that the service contributed more than €30 million a year in tourism revenue to the Cork and Kerry region.

Port of Cork officials met management from Associated British Ports, which operates the Port of Swansea, yesterday afternoon.

Port of Cork marketing manager Capt Michael McCarthy said the discussions were a sign of considerable progress.

"We are very satisfied that the business case stacks up," Capt McCarthy said. "We have had one of the operators on the Irish Sea look at the business case. We tried to attract them to the route. They have not given us any decision as of yet, but they are happy that the route is commercially viable."

He believed the Port of Swansea was suffering as much as Cork and Kerry arising out of the cancellation of the service. He said he had received feedback from members of the Welsh Assembly and Tourism Wales and said all the relevant groups were hoping for the establishment of the route between Swansea and Cork.

A study by the department of economics at University College Cork found that the service has carried more than three million passengers since it was established in 1987.

Swansea Cork Ferries announced in January 2007 that it was terminating its service for 12 months because it could not find a suitable ferry to replace the 35-year-old MV Superferry , which it sold to a Greek line because of its age and limited freight capacity. The service has not operated since. Work is going on behind the scenes to find a secondhand vessel which could ply the route.

Cork County Council, Cork City Council and Kerry County Council have set up a working group to galvanise political support for the reintroduction of the service.

9th September 2008

Incentives for ferry operators to reopen link
By Sean O’Riordan - Irish Examiner (online)

THE Port of Cork, together with Associated British Ports, have agreed a joint package of incentives that will be presented to leading ferry operators in the hope of re-establishing the Cork-Swansea link.

Director of Swansea Port Matthew Kennerley, and his deputy port manager, Clive Thomas, said yesterday the loss of the route had hit the economy of south Wales equally hard.
It is estimated the south-west of Ireland lost €38 million in tourism revenue per year since the ferry service closed in 2006.

“Restarting the service is equally important from our point of view,” Mr Kennerley said.

Both parties previously outlined to major ferry operators in western Europe the economic viability of reestablishing the route

They now intend to revisit these companies hoping the “carrot” of incentives will prove sufficient.

They agreed the joint approach yesterday at a special meeting in the Port of Cork headquarters.

“If we get the right ship and the right operator we believe the service will prove to be commercially viable,” Mr Kennerley said.

Apart from the loss of tourism, both ports are also suffering from loss of freight on the route.

“The freight aspect was quite substantial. Around 10,000 units a year were transported on the ferry,” Port of Cork commercial director Michael McCarthy said.

He said freight hauliers were having to spend more money and time transporting goods through Rosslare because of the closure of the Swansea-Cork route.

“It is 240 miles overland from Cork to Swansea.

“Hauliers face stiff tachograph regulations and working-time directives. In addition, there are fuel costs and increased carbon dioxide emissions,” said Capt McCarthy

He said the Port of Cork was undertaking a study to quantify the amount of increased carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the closure of the ferry service.

“It’s challenging getting shipping lines to take it on, but all we can do is pursue and pursue again, and offer appropriate incentives,” Port of Cork chief executive Brendan Keating said.

He and his Welsh counterparts are hoping to strike a deal in the next few months.

Realistically, they know advertising the opening of a spring /summer service will have to start in December or early 2009.

But with the days of cheap flights coming to an end, both sides believe a Cork-Swansea ferry service is becoming more attractive.

27 August 2008

Port chiefs to discuss ferry route re-opening
- Sean O’Riordan - Irish Examiner


An important meeting is set to take place next month between the Port of Cork and Associated British Ports aimed at getting the Swansea-Cork ferry up and running again.

Representatives from Associated British Ports, which has responsibility for Swansea port, are to visit Cork on September 8.

Captain Michael McCarthy, commercial manager for the Port of Cork, said both authorities would discuss providing a list of incentives for would-be operators on the Swansea-Cork route.

He also revealed that the parties were already in discussion with two Irish operators who have expressed interest in re-establishing the service.

The loss of the ferry is believed to have cost the south-west region an estimated €38 million in tourist revenue last year. Cork County Council, Cork City Council and Kerry County Council have set up a working group, primarily aimed at galvanising political support for the reinstatement.

Captain McCarthy said work was already going on behind the scenes to source a second-hand vessel which would be capable of plying the route.

“Swansea Port has some limitations in regard to length and draught of a ship. A suitable vessel would also have to have the necessary stability to withstand weather in the Atlantic,” he said.

Capt McCarthy said the reopening of the route should have happened last season, but was lost at the last minute. He and his counterparts in Swansea are determined that this won’t happen for the summer of 2009.

“I’m reasonably confident that we will have the route reopened for next season.

“Re-establishing a Cork- Swansea ferry link is one of the main priorities of the Port of Cork and we have been spending a considerable amount of time on this project,” Capt McCarthy said. Discussions are now entering a critical stage, as any operator would have to start marketing the route shortly.

“Potential customers would have to be informed in November or December, so they could make plans for their summer holidays,” Capt McCarthy said. He believes the time is right for the re-establishment of the route, as airline fares begin to rise.

“Airline travel is going to become more and more expensive. There has been an increase of between 10% and 15% in passengers using ferries on the Irish Sea in the past year. So I’m confident that the Swansea-Cork route is economically viable,” the Port of Cork commercial manager said.

He added that the route would also prove very attractive to road hauliers, who are presently having to divert their cargoes through Rosslare and Dublin.

25 August 2008

Campaign featured on RTE Radio 1 ‘Seascapes’ programme

A short piece in Tom McSweeney’s popular Radio 1 ‘Seascapes’ programme

“A listener emailed  to say that she was visting English friends at their holiday home in West Cork and everyone was asking whether there's any chance that the Cork-Swansea Ferry would be revived.

Well there is a campaign called 'bringbacktheswanseacorkferry.com' which has just published its latest newsletter. With 1600 signatures to a petition, and it's issuing car stickers and button badges. It says support is also growing in Wales.

The Port of Cork has carried out a commercial examination of the route, which shows the service could be feasible on a year-round basis – and that's according to Veronica Scanlon, private secretary to Transport Minister Noel Dempsey – in a letter she sent to former ITF Inspector Tony Ayton.”

30 July 2008

Joint campaign to restore ferry service
Eoin English - Irish Examiner

THREE local authorities have agreed to work together to restore the Cork to Swansea ferry link.

The news emerged after a meeting yesterday between the mayors of Cork city, Cork county and Kerry along with the respective city and county managers and the South West Regional Authority's director and chairman.

Mayor of Cork county Noel Harrington, Cork city's mayor Brian Bermingham and mayor of Kerry Tom Fleming held talks on the issue in Cork County Hall with Cork's county manager, Martin Riordan, Cork's city manager Joe Gavin, Kerry county manager Tom Curran and the authority's director, John McAleer and its chairman, Cllr Jim Corr.

Mr Harrington, who has pledged to make restoring the ferry link one of his main priorities for his term as county mayor, described the talks as "frank and open".

He said they plan to make contact with other stakeholders in the coming weeks to get their views on how best to approach the issue.

"We are doing everything we can to explore every possibility to reinstate the ferry," he said.

The next meeting of the group is due to take place next month.

Yesterday's meeting marks the start of the first concerted cross-party political effort at regional level to address the issue which has begun to hit the region's tourism business.

The authority is the statutory public body with responsibility for strategic planning in the region.

Mr McAleer has described as crazy, the fact that a region so dependent on tourism does not have a ferry link to a potential market of 60 million people. The Swansea-Cork Ferry company announced in late 2006 it was ceasing operations on the route.
An attempt was made last October by its former managing director, Thomas Hunter-McGowan, to form a new company. However, the attempt failed after the Port of Cork refused to invest €3 million in the project.

Port authorities said they couldn't invest in one company when there was a rival consortium also seeking to reactivate the service.

The region is now facing its second season without the vital ferry service, which brought close to 100,000 people to the region every year.

A study showed the demise of the ferry link cost the region an estimated €38 million in 2007.

29 July 2008

“Politicians unite in effort to restore ferry service”
- Eoin English - Irish Examiner

‘The mayors of Cork city and county and the mayor of Kerry will hold round-table talks with high-ranking city and county officials from both counties and with representatives from the South Wales Regional Authority at County Hall..... read more

19 July 2008

“Cork needs a ferry link with Swansea” - Helen Walsh - Evening Echo

Cork needs a ferry link with Swansea — that's the message from tourism experts to the new Failte Ireland chairman, Redmond O'Donoghue. Tourism officials across the Cork area have highlighted the urgent need to get the ferry link up-and-running for the 2009 season and have called on Mr O'Donoghue to address the problem. He has been appointed by the Minister for Tourism, Martin Cullen, to chair the tourism authority over the next five years, taking over from out-going chairwoman, Gillian Bowler.

Last year, a record eight million overseas tourists spent almost €5 billion visiting Ireland, while domestic tourism contributed a further €1.6 billion to the economy. Conor B Buckley, chairman of West Cork Tourism, said he welcomed the appointment of Mr O'Donoghue, who retired as group chief executive officer of Waterford Wedgewood in 2005, after almost 20 years. He also served as chairman of Bord Failte between 1999 and 2001. "With a background like his, Mr O'Donoghue is very much aware of the importance of tourism to Ireland. Our main priorities in west Cork are the resumption of the Swansea/Cork ferry and transatlantic access into Cork. We will work with him to make sure that he is aware of the importance of both services," Mr Buckley said. "It has been a difficult season so far this year, and we are convinced that the biggest driver for tourism in west Cork is the restoration of the ferry ser- vice to Swansea."

Adrian Brentnall, who is behind an online campaign to fight for the return of the ferry, said people in the region would like to work with Failte Ireland to re-instate the service. "We will do everything we can to help Mr O'Donoghue in his new role and welcome the opportunity to work for the benefit of Cork tourism."

Ciaran Fitzgerald, chairman of Kinsale. Chamber of Tourism, said Mr O'Donoghue's appointment came at a key time for the industry. "Some of the mam issues we would like to see addressed are the re-instatement of the Swansea/Cork ferry and an increased focus and investment in regional tourism in the south-west region," he said. Mr O'Donoghue is a former president of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation in the southeast, is chairman of Good Food Ireland and a member of the board of Greencore.
 

7th July 2008

“World support for Cork’s fight for return of ferry” - Evening Echo

Helen Walsh with some interesting statistics about the Ferry campaign.- here.

3rd July 2008

“New Mayor to press for revival of ferry” - Cork Examiner

Noel Harrington - new Cork County mayor, pledges his support for our campaign.Thanks Noel ! See the article here

29th June 2008

“Cork waits for its ship to come in”
- an interesting piece by Conor Power in the Tribune.

"It's certainly a profitable route; we've no doubt about that… We're determined to get the route back up and running.
It's almost like a crusade at this stage – the region needs a ferry."

- quote from Capt. Michael McCarthy - Commercial Manager - Port of Cork

See the article here

May 2008

Ryanair accepts subsidy for Kerry (airport) route
From the Independant back on May 16 2008
- isn’t it odd how subsidies seem to be available for airports but not for ferries?


RYANAIR last night belatedly confirmed it had taken the Government up on its offer of multi-million euro subsidies to run flights from Dublin to Kerry.

Having previously slammed the subsidies as "extraordinarily excessive and wasteful", the low-cost carrier said its tenure on the route would slash €1.3m from the grants bill over the next three years. That saving implies Ryanair will be paid a subsidy of €7.5m for running the service, under a grant from a public service obligation (PSO) fund.
The low-cost carrier was initially offered the Dublin/Kerry route on Tuesday, snatching the lucrative contract from incumbent Aer Arann.

In a statement last night, however, Ryanair confirmed it had formally taken up the offer and would double the capacity on the Dublin/Kerry service to 400,000 seats annually when the route kicks off on July 22.
 

5th June 2008

Bringbacktheswanseacorkferry.com is Front Page News
in the Southern Star !

Many thanks to Frank O’Donovan for the great piece on the front of this weeks’ Southern Star - read it here.

27th May 2008

“We’re confident that the Route has great potential” - Port of Cork Commercial Manager Michael McCarthy in this ‘good news / bad news’ article from the Cork Evening Echo. Read the whole article here.

1st June 2008

Full Steam Ahead - the story so far...

It’s the start of a new month, and traditionally the start of the summer ‘high season’ when the towns and villages of West Cork should be filled with happy visitors from ‘up country’ and overseas. It’s a promising time, full of hope and opportunity - and a good time to reflect on ‘the story so far’ for our campaign to restore the Swansea Cork ferry.

It’s barely six weeks since this website was created - and in that time we’ve been delighted by the response we’ve received.
We’ve had some media coverage (although, in the early weeks of the campaign we concentrated on filling the website with useful content rather than courting the media). We’ve even been mentioned in the leading UK Newpaper - the Telegraph (even if they did manage to get the website address wrong!)  Over the following months - look out for more media coverage as we crank up the publicity.

News of our campaign has spread far and wide - largely due of word-of-mouth (or whatever the online equivalent is..) We’ve had thousands of visitors to the website, from more than 50 countries - and many of them (more than 550 to date) have left us messages of encouragement on our e-petition pages.

Speaking at one of his popular monthly Farmers Markets, John Hosford (campaign co-organiser - Hosfords Garden Centre, Clonakilty) said
 

    The level of positive responses we’ve had so far proves what a vital issue this is for people and businesses in West Cork and Kerry. We must now bring pressure to bear on our elected representatives to get the ferry service restored for 2009.
    The recent events with the ‘Christian IV’ prove that there are local operators who are interested in reviving the service - and we, the people of West Cork, need to show our support.
    The ‘Help Us!’ page on our website gives contact details for our local Councillors and TDs - it would be great if we could all drop them an email or write a short letter - just to let them know how strongly we feel about having the ferry restored.

As the holiday season approaches - now is an ideal time for all of us who have contact with tourists to spread the words about the campaign.
Please download the car/window/whatever sticker - and display it in your b&b’s, shops, hotels, markets - and encourage more people to sign the e-petition.

If you need any help with organising publicity - please contact us, and we;ll do whatever we can.

Together we can make this work !

23rd May 2008

“So near and yet so far !”

Disappointing news today for the restoration of the Swansea-Cork ferry service, as the vessel that several Irish groups were hoping to purchase (the Christian IV) was sold to a Russian company for €13m.

Captain Michael McCarthy from the Port of Cork explained
“I am very frustrated - we have spent a considerable amount of time and money assisting with the negotiations on this vessel - and to have them fail at this late stage is very annoying. Unless the Cork-Kerry region really gets its act together suitable vessels like the Christian IV will again be lost to the region.
It is imperative that a focus is established to re-establish the route.”

Please do what you can to help - without your support, we will not be able to get the service restored - which will have dire consequences for the Tourist industry in the South-West.
Please sign our e-petition, and spread the word amongst your friends and colleagues.
Lobby your local Council & Government representatives, find their contact information on our ‘Help Us!’ page.
 

21st May 2008

“Swansea-Cork Ferry service could be viable on a year-round basis” - Transport Minister - Noel Dempsey

Jim O’Keefe TD (Cork South-West) raised the issue of the Swansea-Cork ferry in the Dail.  “To ask the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the concerns regarding the continuing delay in the re-establishment of the Cork-Swansea ferry route, and if he will make a statement on the matter.” and “To ask the Minister for Transport his views on the re-establishment of the Cork Swansea ferry; the efforts being made in this regard; the supports available; and if he will make a statement on the matter”

After due deliberation, the Minister Noel Dempsey responded
“The Cork Swansea Ferries Company suspended its services in 2007, I can appreciate the concerns that have been expressed in the region in response to this development. However, as Minister, I have no direct role in the provision of such a service.
I understand that a number of interested parties and stakeholders have been in discussions with the Port of Cork Company about the possibility of commencing a new passanger and freight service out of the port.
I am informed that a commercial examination of the route has been carried out by the Port of Cork Company. This indicates that, subject to procuring a suitable vessel, the service could be feasible on a year-round basis.
The Port of Cork Company will certainly do what it can to facilitate the resumption of the service.
As Minister for Transport, I feel it is important that the market offers a diverse range of maritime links in and out of the State. This is vital to facilitate trade and tourism. I certainly hope that the current efforts show that the service is commercially viable and that it can be resumed as soon as possible.”

I’m sure we all agree with Noel. If you’d like to drop him a quick email to let him know your views - his email address is in our ‘Help Us!’ section.
 

14th May 2008

This Campaign featured in the Irish Post
“The new Taoiseach and his freshly-installed cabinet will get a crash course in the plight suffered by West Cork business people and English tourists alike since the controversial removal of the SwanseaCork ferry service.”
- read the full article here
 

12th May 2008

Open Letter to An Taoiseach from John Hosford - sent 12th May 2008


Mr. Brian Cowen,T.D.,
Office of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,                               
Dublin 2.

Dear Taoiseach,
Congratulations on your election as Taoiseach.
I wish you well on your tenure in office and wish you every success.

I would like to draw your attention to the absence of a direct passenger ferry link to the U.K. from Cork.
This is a grave disadvantage to the whole South-west  region as well as to our cross-channel neighbours in Wales and the U.K.

The withdrawal of the Swansea/Cork Ferry cuts off this whole region from our nearest and traditionally most important market with access to some 60 million people and additionally to the Continent with many people travelling via the landbridge of the  U.K. Ports .
The tourist industry in the region is suffering substantially due to this ostracisation with social  consequences as well for the traditional strong links between the 2 islands.
The ferry needs immediate restoration if the Tourist Industry is to survive, be viable and grow into the future.

The loss of this service is all the more important now because with weight restrictions on aircraft - people need to freedom to bring their own vehicles to transport goods between these 2 neighbouring countries.

I would like to draw your attention to our website
-www.bringbacktheswanseacorkferry.com.
This website will give you a flavour and scope of the depth of feeling that abounds on this most highly and topical subject in the region.

I urge you & your Ministers to raise this matter to the very top of your agenda and do everything  in your power to facilitate the return of a high quality passenger ferry service to the U.K..
I am fully aware there are two senior Cabinet Ministers in Cork and would expect nothing less than the highest priority for this most vital issue to the South-west economy.

This issue is about the survival and vibrancy of the tourist industry, regional equity and share-out of the tourism cake and injecting life, vibrancy and survival of rural communities.
This service once restored brings immediate benefits- to retailers, guesthouses, hotels, activity providers and a whole cross-section of the local economy..
The picturesque rural landscapes and seascapes of the South-West are crying out for return of this vital lifeline. The more western parts of this region in the dramatic peninsulas need this service. The whole journey to Rosslare is far too tortuous and people won’t travel to the region where they have a punishing 6 or 7 hour journey.
The area is losing an estimated 37million euro a year due to the suspension of this service. This service is capable of sustaining jobs, it is an immediate financial injection to the region and most importantly will create and sustain jobs where there is little or no new industrial start-ups-sustaining artisan food producers, craft producers and very specialised industries which people have carved out and created. It will provide a vital artery with lateral and substantial veins into the most remote of peninsulas and will stop rural communities from falling into decline and dying.

We urge you to give this matter your most urgent and early attention and exhibit your support of equitable  tourism development by the early return of a high quality, reliable and durable Swansea/Cork Ferry service. It will be warmly appreciated by all in the South-West region.

Yours sincerely,
John B.Hosford


If you agree with John’s sentiments - please sign our e-petition today
- and invite your friends and associates to do the same! Thank you...
 

6th May 2008

Double-page feature article in the Cork Evening Echo - gives considerable background details and history of the Swansea-Cork ferry.
Fascinating reading and great support from the Echo - find it here (large file - might take a little while to load....)

27th April 2008

Front Page article in the Cork Evening Echo highlighting the campaign.
Thanks folks! Read it here.

26th April 2008

Swansea-Cork Ferries website still down !

Exactly a week ago we reported that the Swansea-Cork Ferries website had disappeared overnight - and speculated on what the reasons could be behind this.
Nowadays, your company website is like a shop window - you’d like to keep the glass clean, and dust out any dead insects that might have accumulated.

Before it disappeared, the old website hadn’t been updated for over a year
- but at least it was there (even if there were a lot of dead flies on display!)

An email from Swansea-Cork Ferries on the 23rd April stated

    We changed our hosting but should have the website links
    re-established by tomorrow.

Great thing, tomorrow - but it never comes..... if anything, their site’s even more broken now that it was before...
If the company can’t get a little thing right like setting up a website - what hope do they have of doing something really complicated, like running a ferry service ??

These ‘little things’ are important - it’s all about public relations, commitment, capability and doing what you say you’re going to do.......


22nd April 2008

What’s actually been going on since October 2007 ?

In a fascinating interview with us today, Councillor Dermot Sheehan outlined the events surrounding the ferry from October 2007 - February 2008. Dermot has been taking every opportunity to highlight the issue of the Swansea Cork ferry at meetings of Cork County Council...

“Between October 2007 and the end of February 2008, negotiations were going on to put the Ferry service in place for 2008. I was in constant contact with the Port of Cork authorities. It was felt that, because of the delicate nature of the negotiations it was best to let them develop unhindered.

A suitable boat was identified, but a last-minute 5-month delay in the boat that was due to replace it prevented the boat from being available for the Swansea-Cork route this year. The increase in the cost of fuel also affected the financial projections, but this we felt we could overcome. We have a commitment from Cork County Council to help financially with the marketing of the service.

It is now imperative that we secure a boat for 2009 and put everything in place.

It is reported that Deputy Michael Martin (Minister for Trade & Employment) plans to spend €17.3 million this year on advice from outside consultants - which is only a part of the total €88.4 million ‘consultants’ budget.
I am not a consultant but I can tell the Government (for free!) that the tourism industry in West Cork is in crisis.

I have asked the Government to show their support for the Swansea-Cork ferry route and tourism in the South-West by making available the relatively tiny amount of €1 million to be used as a non-returnable deposit to secure a suitable craft for 2009. This would allow for proper marketing to be put in place for a successful and profitable service next year.

To secure a boat now is the No1 priority - once that is done the remainder of the jigsaw will fall into place, and the future of our tourist industry will be a little more secure.”


19th April 2008

Swansea Cork Ferries website disappears !

In a fascinating development late this week, the Swansea Cork Ferries website at
www.swanseacorkferries.com
was taken down and replaced by an ‘engineering’ page hosted by the domain registrar.
The website had remained unchanged since the ferry was abruptly cancelled in late 2006 - but this week it disappeared altogether.
Quite what this means is not clear - maybe ‘somebody’ from Swansea Cork ferries has realised that the site is out of date and it has been taken down so that it can be updated. However this is an unusual ( if not inept !) way of doing things - and it does make you wonder whether the timing is purely coincidental - given the recent discussions (reported below) on the future of the ferry - and the recent creation of this website.


April 2008

Forum to re-establish ferry route proposed - Irish Examiner reports

CORK County Council was “hoodwinked” into believing there was no EU funding for a tourist ferry to Britain, it has been claimed.
Former county mayor John O’Shea proposed the setting-up of a public forum to re-establish the Cork Swansea ferry link.

A new ferry had been promised last year, he said, and everybody took the commitment in the good faith it was given.

“The ferry was due to be up and running this year,” said the Fine Gael councillor. “But we were too trustworthy and, this year, there is no ferry and there are severe pressure points in the tourist industry in West Cork.”  .... more


November 2007

Swansea to Cork ferry link may reopen - Irish Examiner reports

A THIRD company is examining the possibility of reopening the Swansea-Cork ferry link, it emerged last night..... more


October 2007

Support for plan to refloat Cork ferry- Western Mail

THE loss of a ferry service from Wales to Cork has cost some Irish businesses up to 50% of their incomes, it has been claimed.
Cork county councillor Dermot Sheehan told a meeting of Cork County Council this week the loss of the service was catastrophic for some tourist businesses, especially those in West Cork.
In its past three years of operation, the ferry brought 285,250 passengers and more than 108,000 cars into Cork. more


09/01/2007

Swansea Cork Ferries - Government Press Release

John O'Donoghue, T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, today (9th January, 2007) expressed his regret at the decision taken by Swansea Cork Ferries to cancel its service for 2007 with the regrettable reported loss of some 30 direct jobs.

"I am particularly disappointed that this decision has been taken by the company, not apparently for commercial reasons, but due to the failure to find a replacement vessel for the M V Superferry which was sold last October. I was not made aware in advance of the company's announcement but I have asked Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to report to me on the implications for tourism of the withdrawal of this service", the Minister said. "At a time of strong growth in international tourism arrivals and good prospects for the year ahead, it is a blow to lose a direct sea route to Cork and the South West."

"While not wishing to minimise the importance of this service, I understand that it represents no more than 3% of overall tourism business into the region." (our italics)

"Access links to the island of Ireland by air and sea have never been stronger and my expectation is that the capacity which has been lost can be made up on alternative routes, either on the Irish sea southern corridor or through direct air services to the South and South West. The overall economic impact of the cancellation of the service, therefore, may well be considerably less than reported, as there is plenty of alternative choice for the consumer", Minister O'Donoghue concluded.

September 2007

Swansea-Cork ferry return hopes rise - Western Mail

FRESH hopes that the ferry link between Swansea and Ireland will be reinstated were on the horizon for tourists and businesses last night.
Cork Port Authority said a number of operators were looking for a ship to re-establish the suspended Swansea-Cork Ferry service...more


If you have a story to tell (like the ones on our ‘my story’ page) - please email us - and we’ll add your experiences to our website...

To show your support for our campaign - please support our ‘e-petition’ here and we’ll add your email address to our e-newsletter and keep you up-to-date with any developments.

If you’d like an entry on our Links page - please email us.


If you hear anything about plans to bring back the ferry - please email us with the details.