Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Councillor Keith Doyle was in Brussels today (Friday 1st February) for a meeting with EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc and EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to raise concerns about the impact of Brexit on connectivity and to discuss investment and development in Rosslare Europort.
The Cathaoirleach was accompanied by Minister Paul Kehoe TD who arranged the delegation, together with senior officials of Wexford County Council, Rosslare Europort, Irish Rail and Perennial Freight.
Speaking after today’s meeting, Councillor Doyle highlighted the importance of Rosslare Europort as a key component in Wexford economic and transport infrastructure and he emphasised the necessity to support and further develop the port during this time of huge uncertainty.
“A successful and vibrant Rosslare Europort will always be central to Wexford’s economic prosperity” said Councillor Doyle. “As Ireland’s closest transport link to the UK and Europe, the importance of Rosslare Europort cannot be over-emphasised, not just in a Wexford context but in the context of the entire island of Ireland. Brexit is a challenge for Rosslare but it also represents a big opportunity for the development of the port, with multiple EU funds that could be targeted for support. I want to express my sincere thanks to Minister Kehoe who arranged this delegation and accompanies us here today so we can present the case for Rosslare Europort direct to Commissioner Bulc and to Commissioner Hogan.
Minister Paul Kehoe agrees that Rosslare Europort has tremendous potential and says is fully deserving of strong targeted EU support. "I took this initiative to ensure that all Wexford and Rosslare Europort stakeholders are working together to be fully prepared for whatever Brexit scenario comes our way” said Minister Kehoe. “In particular, we raised concerns about maintaining the UK Landbridge between Ireland and Europe post-Brexit, and the need for investment in Rosslare with a view to it becoming a Tier One port.
"Commissioners Bulc and Hogan were very receptive to our arguments, and they indicated a number of financial supports available for the developments of ports such as Rosslare. These supports include the Connecting Europe Facility, which has €65 million available for projects across Europe, and of course Rosslare is already eligible for funding under the Motorways of the Seas scheme for new or updated maritime connections with non-Irish core ports.
He added “In relation to the UK Landbridge, the Commission has put forward a proposal to ensure basic connectivity for road freight transport until the end of 2019. This should ensure that Irish trucks can avail of the Landbridge until the end of 2019, subject to UK agreement. This will provide more time for Irish companies to adjust to the impact of Brexit and plan for the future, aiming to take advantage of increasing demand in the long run.
I look forward to working closely with my colleagues in government, together with local, national and EU authorities to build on this very positive platform," Minister Kehoe concluded.