Passage West docks sale scuppered by Brexit 

Passage West docks sale scuppered by Brexit 
The dockyard in Passage West. The eight acre site is currently for sale.

BREXIT has scuppered plans to redevelop the dockyard in Passage West.

The planned redevelopment of the dockyard site into a modern, urban waterfront settlement had been hailed as a ‘game-changer’ for the town when funding was secured to purchase the dockyard from the Doyle Shipping Group last November.

Cork County Council was granted €1.9m by the Government to purchase the eight-acre site but in a ‘bombshell’ announcement yesterday, County Hall chiefs said the site has been taken off the market and the funding would likely be lost.

Senior Executive Officer in County Hall, Jim Molloy, said the dockyard was no longer for sale because the uncertainty that Brexit has created for Ireland’s future shipping needs.

The announcement was described as a bitter blow for Passage West but Mr Molloy said a ‘wait and see’ approach is being adopted by shipping companies and ports until the implications of Brexit are known.

It’s thought that one of the implications of Brexit is that cargoes may increasingly come directly from Europe, meaning that shipping and dockyard space may become more desirable.

Mr Molloy said: “There are primarily two reasons for it: the Brexit changes which have required the shipping needs of the State to be reviewed and all the docks in operation; the other thing is the Port of Cork and all their different moves and the knock-on effects on shipping within that.”

Mr Molloy said that the dockyard is off the market depending on how these things play out and it will be 12 months before any certainty is offered to the previously proposed project.

“We are still working with Doyle Shipping to see what we can do with various elements of the site because they are not using the full dock site and we had a good productive meeting with them. They were quite open to working with us on that, but it is a case of going back to scratch.”

Mr Molloy said if the dockyard was not for sale, the €1.9m Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) grant to buy it was gone.

“The €1.9m was for the purchase of the dockyard. If the dockyard is not for sale then there is no €1.9m to purchase it, because you can’t buy something that is not for sale.”

Councillor Marcia D’Alton said: “Even for those of us who were optimistic but slightly doubting about the dockyard’s purchase by the Council, this is a most unexpected and unwelcome development. Council management is going to confirm how long the Department will permit the Council to hold on to the €1.9m in the hopeful anticipation of these uncertainties being sorted out and the dockyard being returned to the market.”

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