West Cork residents mourn loss of ferry service

Hotel News - 06/10/2007

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According to one city councilor in Cork, the West Cork region will be negatively affected by the loss of the car ferry between Swansea and Cork.

Cllr. Dermot Sheehan compared this year's ferry loss to the loss of the air route between Heathrow and Shannon, urging the restoration of the ferry as soon as possible. If not, he warned, the economic impact of the loss would soon be felt by local people.

At a meeting of the Cork County Council, Mr. Sheehan said that 285,250 people traveled as passengers on the ferry in the last three years. In addition, the ferry brought 108,000 cars into the region.

In contrast, he said, this year the tourism industry has declined, with revenues dropping as much as 30 per cent. The loss in funds is estimated to be around £35 million.

"The Minister for Tourism, John O'Donoghue, said at the time that the loss of the ferry would have a minimal impact, but it is akin to the loss of Heathrow to Shannon and it must be restored as soon as possible," he said.

Golf has been a popular tourist draw for West Cork with many golfers traveling from Britain and Europe to Ireland by car. Now, the golf courses are noticeably more empty with one, the Bantry Golf Club reporting a decline in business of at least 50 per cent this year.

"The impact of the loss has been anything but minimal. As one media commentator observed, phantom ships will only bring phantom people with phantom money that won't pay the piper," Sheehan told the council.

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