20th January 2009
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.
Speaking after a high-level meeting at the Port of Cork on Monday - Adrian Brentnall from the campaign said
“We've never been closer to success! Most of the pieces of the jigsaw are in place – we have an experienced operator to run the route, there is a choice of three or four modern ships available now at reasonable cost, and money has been pledged towards marketing the route.
We have even secured a large proportion of the initial investment. It's so close that we can nearly touch it!”
The ferry service was abruptly cancelled back in 2006 – leaving tourism and haulage interests in West Cork and Kerry without their vital transport links to Wales, the UK and Europe. Since then, losses to the West Cork & Kerry tourist industry alone have been in the region of €35M per year, and there are fears for the future of hotels, b&Bs, restaurants and shops if the service is not restored this year.
Capt Michael McCarthy, Commercial Manager from the Port of Cork said
“Even in these uncertain economic times, our research and the independent Business Plan show that the Swansea-Cork ferry can make a profit – and we will be delighted to discuss the investment possibilities with interested parties. We have agreed special incentives with our counterparts in Swansea to ease the start-up costs for the new operator – and are doing all we can to help restore the ferry service.
“There is massive support from people who want to start their holidays with a leisurely 'mini-cruise' from Swansea to Cork – rather than undertaking a marathon drive across Ireland from Rosslare. So many visitors have either cut back their visits to Ireland, or stopped coming altogether because they cannot face the extended journey. The very clear message from our online petition at www.bringbacktheswanseacorkferry.com is 'Bring back the ferry and we'll make it a success'.
Hauliers are also badly hit by the extra road-miles – and would save millions by using the overnight Swansea-Cork service. Businesses in South Wales have also suffered since the ferry was suspended.”
“It's definitely time for action. We are now looking for a relatively small investment from Munster businesses (particularly in tourism and industry) in order to secure this vital link. As an island nation we cannot afford to be isolated any longer.
It now seems clear that no Government funding will be available, although some EU money may be accessible one the service has started.
If the missing investment can be secured in the next four weeks then we are confident that the service can be running in time for the 2009 holiday season. ”
ENDS - WORDCOUNT 476
NOTES TO EDITORS
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Adrian Brentnall – Inspired-glass, Ballydehob, Co Cork, Ireland
phone: +353 (0)28 37593
John Hosford – Hosfords Garden Centre, Cappa, Co Cork, Ireland
phone: +353 (0)23 39159
The roll-on, roll-off MV Superferry covered the Swansea – Cork route for many years, between March and early January, carrying freight, cars, and foot passengers on a ten hour voyage that allowed passengers to eat, rest, and sleep, while cutting up to 200 miles of driving to West Cork or Kerry, compared to alternative ferry routes via Dublin or Rosslare.
The service was cancelled in October 2006, when the Superferry was sold, and the operating company claimed a new boat would be introduced to the route in March 2007.
The campaign and website at www.bringbacktheswanseacorkferry.com, with its online petition, was started in April 2008 by John Hosford and Adrian Brentnall, to highlight the effects of the loss of the ferry, and to lobby for its return. The website attracts thousands of visitors per month – all of them eager for the return of the ferry.
This news is really encouraging - but we still need your support to convince the people that need convincing that this ferry service is essential to tourism and business in West Cork, Kerry and South Wales.
Please add your comments to our e-petition now ..... every ‘signature’ helps!
Thanks ! - Adrian