A transport chief has said lives are being put at risk over a “parking mess” which has left hundreds of hauliers spending hours on the side of roads as they wait to board ferries at one of the country’s busiest ports.
Since Brexit came into being at the start of last year, freight traffic has increased by 370 per cent at Rosslare Europort. This is due to the increase in ferries from France and Spain in a bid to avoid travelling through the UK due to additional costs.
Iarnród Éireann said the Europort has made history as Ireland’s leading port for direct European freight while further enhancements are due to be announced by Brittany Ferries on Thursday.
However, scores of hauliers have been forced to park their vehicles along the access road to the port, outside the local harbour supermarket, the national school and private houses since last year.
Now Rosslare Europort management have requested truck drivers and hauliers not to park their vehicles in neighbouring villages while waiting for access for ferry departure deadlines.
“The villages, which included Kilrane and Tagoat, are residential and are not available for parking day or night,” according to an information leaflet from Transport for Ireland (TFI) and Iarnród Éireann.
Both organisations suggest that drivers waiting for a ferry departure should park their vehicle at Gorey Service Station, Ballyellin, on the M11, or at Barntown Service Station, at Larkin’s Cross near Wexford town.
Eugene Drennan, President of the Irish Road Hauliers Association (IRHA) said that Port authorities are the “net gainers” from all of the additional freight traffic since Brexit and that, “they had plenty of time, as in months,” to provide a lot of extra parking even before Brexit came into effect.
“This situation which is putting lives of hauliers, tourists and locals at risk due to the parking mess. How big a job can it be to provide parking when there is so much space available at the Customs section.
“Both the OPW and Wexford County Council need to knock their heads together and solve this growing problem which is turning into a nightmare.
“Why can’t they (the council) issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on some nearby land and sort this out as quickly as possible.
“It is wrong to place sanctions on hauliers as they haven’t created this problem. They are bringing economic benefit to Rosslare and environs.”
'Growing threat of a serious accident'
Barry Kenny, Iarnród Éireann spokesperson said: “Parking issues arise not for ship check-ins but for any longer term parking requirements. In Rosslare, and indeed in ports internationally, such facilities are national infrastructure as opposed to infrastructure within a port area.
“There are facilities available at Gorey for trucks approaching there, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Wexford County Council are examining opportunities to provide further similar facilities.”
Local Independent Councillor and paramedic Ger Carthy said that he is in private talks with several land owners in a bid to help solve the “worrying problem sooner rather than later” as he also believes “lives are being put at risk by the growing threat of a serious accident” occurring.
In a statement the TII said it is supporting the Department of Transport and Wexford County Council in order to provide “additional truck parking capacity on the approaches to Rosslare Port so as to cater for the increases in truck movements through the port in the aftermath of Brexit”.
Passenger volumes at the port, while suppressed over the past two years as a result of Covid-19, also grew significantly with 243,303 passengers, an increase of 68 per cent travelling through the port last year, according Iarnród Éireann.