herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Ship built for €13.6m now worth €150,000

Jeanie Johnson
Jeanie Johnson

REPLICA Famine ship the Jeanie Johnson is weathering a funding storm after being dramatically devalued.

The ship cost €13.6m to build, but is now worth only €150,000, according to the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA).

Long-overdue repairs and additional work have cost more than €75,000 and visitor numbers are only 5,000 a year.

seaworthy

The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was told yesterday that the symbol of hunger and emigration cost the State €225,000 to maintain over the past five years, contributing to an annual loss of €45,000.

At least €500,000 is needed to bring the ship up to the standard needed to be suitable for training sailing crews. It is not seaworthy at present.

Representatives of the DDDA admitted they had not followed best practice in bringing the ship into dry dock every two years to survey it.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said the scale of the losses needed to be determined before the vessel transfers to the control of Dublin City Council as the DDDA is wound down. The current situation is "not acceptable", he said.

The ship first arrived at Dublin Port in 2002. Designed as an ocean-going vessel, it was primarily meant to be a sail training ship.

When docked it has served as a living history museum.

hnews@herald.ie

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