Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross T.D. has signed an Order transferring Wicklow Port Company to Wicklow County Council, with the consent of his colleagues Paschal Donohoe T. D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Simon Coveney T.D. Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.
Wicklow Port is the first port to transfer under National Ports Policy which was approved by Government and published in 2013. The policy recommended that designated Ports of Regional Significance – Drogheda, Dún Laoghaire, Galway, New Ross and Wicklow – transfer to more appropriate local authority led governance structures.
These ports are important to their regional economy and the transfers support the Government’s reforms in the area of local government generally, through enhancing the role of the local authority in regional economic development. Ports of Regional Significance retain important regional roles as freight distribution hubs and also increasingly important roles in areas such as marine leisure and tourism. The Harbours Act 2015 provides the legislative basis for the transfers to proceed.
Speaking today Minister Ross welcomed the transfer and said: “Today marks an important milestone as Wicklow Port is the first Port of Regional Significance to transfer to a local authority. Wicklow Port is a thriving regional commercial port and the transfer will provide new opportunities for the development of marine-related activities and regional freight, and to further develop marine leisure and tourism, cultural and recreation amenities in the area, offering significant potential for local employment creation.
I wish to commend the work undertaken by the Chief Executive and his staff in Wicklow County Council as well as the work undertaken by the Board and staff of Wicklow Port who have actively engaged in the due diligence process over a number of months in preparation for transfer.
As you are aware our commercial ports are vital to our future economic growth. They are the gateways for most of our merchandise trade, and for significant numbers of tourists and passengers. National ports policy encourages every port to develop its full potential to ensure that each port can contribute to growth in the overall sector. Ports of Regional significance serve a niche market and provide an important regional and local function.”