Ferry owners satisfied as plan for 'penal charges' scrapped
on 02/07/2012 00:00:00
The operators maintained the initial proposals would have resulted in a trebling of annual charges per vessel from €2,500-€3,000 to €8,500-€9,000. But the charges will be a maximum €2,500 per vessel, it has been confirmed.
Jimmy Flannery, chairman of Dingle Boatmen's Association, which represents eight ferries, welcomed the news saying they had made a very strong submission to the department.
"Basically, we're happy with the new charges which will increase very little, if at all. The charges are still high, however."
As part of a consultation process, the ferry owners met a Department representative in April to make their case against high charges.
"We're now happy the minister has seen sense. If the high charges had been imposed, our business would no longer be viable,' Mr Flannery said.
He also welcomed a ministerial decision which makes a distinction between charges to be paid by big and small ferries.
As well as that, a compulsory waste charge in the harbour is to become optional, he added.
Kerry Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae said the outcome proved when local people came together to make a case their voices would be heard.
Meanwhile, with the peak July/August season about to get under way, the Dingle ferry operators report business to be quiet so far. The playful bottlenose dolphin has been in Dingle since 1983 and an industry has been built up around it, with 18 people employed in the ferries, while local shops have ample stocks of Fungi trinkets and memorabilia.
Fungi, which has featured in books and TV documentaries, is one of the key tourist attractions in the Dingle Peninsula.