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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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Michael Healy-Rae says Dublin and Cork are fighting plans to bring cruises to Kerry

“The main ports should keep their nose out of Kerry.”

Image: Andrew Matthews

A KERRY TD is accusing the major ports in Ireland of making a concerted effort to stop proposals for cruise ships from visiting Valentia Harbour and Ballinskelligs Bay.

Over the last 12 months, a group have been working in South Kerry to have Valentia Harbour and Ballinskelligs Bay included in a Fáilte Ireland-funded external report entitled All Ireland Cruise Strategy.

The report, commenced by TDI tourism consultants in conjunction with GP Wild Cruise consultants from the UK, will research the viability of bringing cruise ships to ports around the country.

While the research was being conducted, experts visited South Kerry and stayed on Valentia Island.

Healy-Rae says they were “very impressed” and included Valentia Island as a new cruise destination in the draft report.

The report said “Valentia Island should be identified as the key destination on the South West due to its safe anchorage and access to key authentic Irish experiences available within one hours drive, primarily the Ring of Kerry and Killarney”.

Michael Healy-Rae says the main Irish ports “do not want this to happen”.

“They are making clear efforts to disregard the west coast of Ireland.”

Healy-Rae said it would be a big blow for the area if it is to be disregarded from the report.

“It will be devastating for the area because in stopping these cruise ships of coming to South Kerry it does not mean that they will go to the bigger ports, it is quite simply a case of the bigger ports do not want us to have the business full stop, even if those ships are not going to go to their destination”.

The main ports should keep their nose out of Kerry and not interfering with great efforts being made by people who want to bring more tourism and business to our counties.

The report is due to be completed in the coming weeks.

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