The Workers’ Party has called for the mobilisation of a major public campaign in
Cork in relation to the continuing absence of a ferry link with Britain and that the campaign should be on the same level as that currently taking place in the Mid-West over the Aer Lingus decision to scrap its Shannon-Heathrow air link.
Workers Party representative and port worker Denis O’Connor said that the silence from Cork public representatives and major business figures on the Swansea-Cork Ferries crisis is deafening. He said the loss of the ferry to the local economies of Cork and Kerry was even greater than the impact of the Aer Lingus decision for the Mid West region,
The Swansea-Cork Ferry link has not operated this year because of the failure of the ferry company to replace its ageing vessel m.v. Superferry which is now operating between Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
“The loss of the ferry link with Britain has been a disaster for the Cork-Kerry region in both terms of tourism and haulage and it has definitely led to the loss of jobs and threatened many others. We were told that the ferry company was doing its best to replace the Superferry but now, when plans for next years service should be well underway there is nothing but silence from the company”, said Denis O’Connor.
“This ferry company was originally established by the local authorities of Cork, Kerry and South Wales and with massive public support, including financial assistance. When the former B&I line closed, the people were galvanised into action to ensure the ferry link with Wales was maintained, but this time nothing seems to be happening. This contrasts fiercely with the situation in the Mid-West where there has been a loud and concerted campaign to save their air link”.
Mr. O’Connor echoed the concerns of dock and freight haulage workers in Cork, not to mention the many thousands employed in the tourist industry by saying that Cork needed to stand up for itself and take a leaf from the book of the people of the Mid-West. “Cork is the second largest city of the Republic and the gateway to the South West. It is also the country’s second port and the loss of the Swansea-Cork Ferry is something which should be of major concern to everyone in this region. The silence of local TDs and business interests is deafening and the total lack of communication from the ferry company, which the people of this region helped establish before it was mysteriously sold off is a total disgrace”, said Denis O’Connor.