GALWAY HARBOUR Company has begun a two-day consultation with the public on its €200 million plan for developing the port.
The redevelopment aims to move the port south on land reclaimed from Galway Bay, attracting cruise liners into a transformed deepwater port, developing a new rail link and providing more than 200 marina berths.
A planning application will be lodged with An Bord Pleanála under the strategic infrastructure legislation in April, the harbour company said yesterday.
The plan is a scaled-down version of an original €350 million project, which was to have been developed over three phases.
The revised plan extends over four stages, and involves reclaiming almost 24 hectares of land from the sea, extending the port 917m south and providing 660m of quay berth.
Harbour company chief executive Eamon Bradshaw said the first stage, valued at €50 million, would be financed by the company itself, with a possibility of some EU funding, public-private partnerships and private investment.
It was anticipated no State funding would be available under current legislation for commercial ports, in spite of the fact that 99 per cent of trade passed through the harbours, he said.
The harbour company would draw on its own resources, borrow and sell “non-core assets” to help finance this first phase, he said.
If planning approval is granted, the company hopes to start development at the end of 2012, months after the return of the Volvo Ocean race to Galway.
“We need to future-proof Galway harbour’s contribution to the west of Ireland and to the economy,” he said. Cruise liners, which once visited Galway, were a “growing business”, with 50 coming to Cork each year and more than 70 to Dublin.