herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Mixed reaction to plans from local business community

commerce

BUSINESSES in Dun Laoghaire have expressed mixed reactions to the plans for the harbour, with some describing the ambitious development as a "gamble".

BUSINESSES in Dun Laoghaire have expressed mixed reactions to the plans for the harbour, with some describing the ambitious development as a "gamble".

The Dun Laoghaire Business Association District (BIDS), one of the stakeholders behind the plans for the harbour development, predicts that there is "real business to be had" on foot of the cruise ships.

When compiling the plans, BIDs representatives visited Cobh, Co Cork, where cruise ships port.

"There is no doubt about it, they had a huge boost from the cruise ships," Don McManus, chairman of the BIDs told the Herald.

"There is also a great sense of community and a social life around it, which was refreshing to see," he added. Mr McManus said businesses in the Cobh area claimed that if the cruise ships weren't docking in the town any longer, it would be a "disaster".

Offer

Though visitors to Cobh did visit Cork city and surrounding areas, they also spent time in the town.

"Cobh wouldn't have as much to offer as Dun Laoghaire," he pointed out.

However, some businesses in the town are not convinced that the addition of the jumbo liners will create more business in the town.

Breasal O'Caoilli, who owns Costello Jewellers in the town, said that he had two major concerns about the plans.

"I worry that it will ruin the harbour. We should be looking to keep and increase the thousands of people who use the harbour for leisure," he said.

"The second thing is that it needs to wash its face financially," he added.

"To me, the sums don't add up to spend €18m developing it and the money that it costs to maintain it, for what I suspect cruise ships will be willing to pay."

Ann Joyce, of the Dun Laoghaire Community Association, owns a flower shop in the town, Costellos Flowers, and she is also opposed to the plans which she fears will "ruin the harbour". The Dun Laoghaire Ratepayers Association is also critical of the plans, which Chairman Peter Kerrigan has described as a "waste of money".

In their planning submission, the Harbour Company estimates that the economic boost for the town could range between ¤16m and ¤41m over 20 years.

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