GALWAY HARBOUR Company will seek planning permission for a €200 million modernisation of the city’s port early next year.
The State company’s chief executive, Eamon Bradshaw, told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport yesterday it intends redeveloping the port in two phases, the first from 2010 to 2015 and the second by 2020.
The redevelopment of the port will cost €200 million. The company intends applying to An Bord Pleanála for planning permission next April.
It will present the plans to Galway City Council members next month and to their County Council colleagues in December.
Galway port can only take vessels with a maximum capacity of 7,500 tonnes, but needs to be able to handle craft of up to 20,000 tonnes, which requires a full-scale redevelopment.
The plans also provide for marine leisure facilities and cruise ship docking.
Mr Bradshaw told the committee that as the Government wants port companies to fund their own developments, Galway harbour would not be entitled to seek support from the State for the project.
He pointed out that smaller ports are being treated in the same way as their bigger competitors, and suggested that the Government look at this again.
Meanwhile, Enda Connellan, chief executive of Dublin Port Company, told the committee it is essential that An Bord Pleanála approve its plans to extend the port and add new berths and deepwater facilities. He warned committee members that if the plans were not approved, it would not be good for Dublin Port Company.
“But that’s not the issue,” he said. “Goods must be landed, and the further away from the city, which is the main consumer of those goods, that they are landed, then that’s going to add to the cost of those goods.”