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Stena Line has cancelled its Holyhead summer route

The number of passengers had fallen from 1,719,853 in 1998 to 141,652 last year.
Feb 4th 2015, 1:37 PM 18,730 39

STENA LINE HAS announced that it will no longer be running its service from Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead.

The company has said that the seasonal route will not be resuming for the forthcoming summer period.

At its peak the service had taken more than 1 million passengers on the journey across the Irish Sea.

Decline

A slowing of business over the last decade has been identified by the company as the reason for stopping the service.

In 1998 the service hit a peak of 1,719,853 passengers going to and from Wales. Last year however this figure had dropped to 141,652.

Discussions on whether or not to continue the service were ongoing into recent days – although these ended unsuccessfully with the company unable to secure an appropriate vessel to make the journey.

In a statement today, CEO of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, Gerry Dunne, said:

While it disappointing that a service will not be resuming for this forthcoming summer season, the Harbour Company is now seeking alternative providers to operate a seasonal service on the route.

Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) are hopeful that a new provider will be found for the route and are welcoming Expressions of Interest from a replacement passenger service.

Dún Laoghaire is also a growing attraction for cruise ships. The DLHC has estimated that the dock will see 100,000 cruise passengers each year over the next three years. It is thought that these passengers will spend €7 million in the local area – something they say will cover the loss of revenue from ferry passengers.

Reaction

The announcement that services on the route will be brought to cessation has drawn disappointment locally.

Speaking about the action, local Fianna Fáil councillor for Dún Laoghaire, Cormac Devlin, described the withdrawal of the service as “significant blow”, saying:

As a public representative for Dún Laoghaire, I am very disappointed that Stena Line have confirmed today that they will no longer operate the HSS between Dún Laoghaire and Holyhead. A ferry service has operated on this route for more than 170 years.

The company has said in a statement today that it will be concentrating on expanding its service at Dublin Port.

Speaking about the decision to make this change, Ian Davies, Stena Line’s route manager for Irish Sea South, said, “with two services operating approximately 10 miles apart we needed to make a decision in relation to what operation best serves the needs of our customers now and in the years ahead, and that operation is Dublin Port.”

Stena Line’s Christmas service operating on the same route was cancelled due to “commercial and operational reasons”.

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Michael Sheils McNamee

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