Race success to drive plans forward for massive €125m redevelopment of portJuly 6, 2012 - 7:00am
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
The huge success of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) grand finale this week is set to galvanise industry leaders to press ahead in support of plans for a €125 million-plus redevelopment of Galway Harbour which would have the potential to radically transform the marine sector in the city.
Galway Harbour Company are set to submit plans to An Bord Pleanala (ABP) next month which would double the size of the port, with the first phase alone – moving the Docks further out to sea – set to cost more than €50 million.
The marine tourism and industry sectors are seen as having massive growth potential for Galway in the coming years, with organisations such as the Marine Institute, NUI Galway, and the Harbour Company already working together on a regular basis to boost innovation and technological development.
Plans for the transformation of the harbour have been scaled back significantly over the past five years, but the proposals set to be put before ABP next month would literally transform the way in which the city does business at sea and allow Galway to compete with other port cities.
During a visit to the Sustainability Summit at the VOR Global Village yesterday, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny is understood to have recognised the importance of the port redevelopment to the future growth of the city during informal talks with local marine industry leaders.
He described the port as a “number one priority” for infrastructural development in the West of Ireland during a tour of the Race Village.
Redevelopment of the port is seen as vital to the long-term economic growth of the city, at a time when there is an increasing emphasis on green energy, the marine environment, and sustainability.
The true potential of the sector was evident in the full bays at Galway Harbour this week, as pleasure craft from all over the world congregated in the city for the conclusion of the 39,000 mile round the world race.
The Taoiseach praised Galway for winning out over 81 other cities to host the grand finale of the VOR and said the experience of everyone who attended over the past few days had confirmed why the city had won.
“The Volvo Ocean Race is a great boost for tourism in Ireland, giving us the kind of audience and publicity that no marketing budget could ever buy. Galway went global this week. Billions of people all over the world got to see exactly what the city has to offer,” he said.
Mr Kenny told the audience at the Global Arena that the sea was increasingly being seen as a source of prosperity and energy, and the Volvo sailors could tell them all about the power of wind, wave, and tidal energy out in the vast Atlantic Ocean.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.