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Wales bypassed as Irish-French sea connections reach 44 with Dunkirk terminal

12 Oct 2021 4 minutes Read
Map of Irish-EU shipping routes. Irish Foreign Ministry

Wales is being increasingly bypassed as Irish-French sea connections reach 44 with a new terminal in the ferry port of Dunkirk.

Yesterday Ireland’s Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne inaugurated the Irish terminal at the French port as part of a post Brexit move to avoid the UK land bridge through Holyhead.

Ireland-France sea routes have risen from 12 before the UK left the European Union, to 44 now as exporters increasingly side step the UK since 1 January when Brexit took effect.

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams has criticised the UK Government for its handling of Brexit, saying that the “Welsh economy is bearing the brunt of Westminster’s decisions”.

He said Wales is being “relegated to the sidelines”, and that “we are seeing the consequences of Tory neglect”.

Williams argued that it is “only through independence that we can rebuild our links with European partners”.

The UK land bridge through Holyhead is now associated with delays and customs formalities and the importance of Dunkirk has become the latest outworking of Brexit and reflects the growing need for direct sea routes from Ireland to the continent.

The Dunkirk-Rosslare sea route is being operated by the Danish shipping line DFDS. It now has three boats operating five round trips per week.

Torben Carlsen, the firm’s chief executive said the move was a “response to Brexit”.

Hywel Williams said: “The Tory Brexit Minister David Frost is in Lisbon today escalating his bonkers Brexit distraction tactics. Back in reality, the Welsh economy is bearing the brunt of Westminster’s decisions.

“Ireland’s direct routes to France are up four-fold while Wales is relegated to the sidelines. We are increasingly bypassed by European trade routes, with trade via the land bridge down 29 per cent over the past year.

“I raised the impact of Brexit on the number of direct routes from Ireland to the continent back in 2017. The UK Government ‘had not thought about it’ back then. Now we are seeing the consequences of Tory neglect on the Port of Holyhead and on Fishguard.

“Clearly, it is only through independence that we can rebuild our links with European partners – in Ireland and beyond.”

‘Response to Brexit’ 

Torben Carlsen, the chief executive of DFDS, told RTÉ News: “This was something that is in response to Brexit.

“It was clear, also to our Irish partners, that Irish exporters would be seriously suffering, potentially due to the difficulties of paperwork and delays. Lately also the [suffering from the] driver shortage you can see in the UK.

“So there was a demand for a direct link between Ireland and the EU, most specifically France, and we responded to that need.”

Ireland’s Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne said: “I am delighted to visit the Port of Dunkirk for the inauguration of the Irish Terminal. France is a key gateway for Irish companies moving goods to and from the EU and beyond.

“The service that DFDS is running between Rosslare and Dunkirk is of key strategic importance for trade between Ireland and France, and the wider EU.

“In the last 12 months, we have seen ferry companies double the capacity available on direct roll-on / roll-off services between Ireland and our EU partners.

“Having this capacity in place on direct routes to our key markets is vitally important for the Irish economy and sustaining and developing the business and people-to-people links that tie us together.

“Since the UK left the EU, France has become Ireland’s closest EU neighbour. We are now cooperating more closely than ever before across France. Dunkirk and the Hauts-de-France region offers great potential.

“The Government is committed, through our very ambitious Joint Plan of Action with France, to provide support for Irish companies enhancing their presence in this key market.”

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Robert Williams
Robert Williams
10 days ago

Alack and alas, Virginia Crosbie and many Ynys Mon voters will either fail or refuse to understand what they’ve done to undermine the economy of their already less than prosperous island.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 days ago

Get rid of Ms Crosby at the next election, without Wylfa and the Freeport there will be no reason for her to stay anyway… Stop selling Ynys Mon to Carpet Baggers from the north west of England, be our own entrepreneurs, with the help of a Wales investment bank…. Without all the HGV traffic on the A55 the black stuff will last longer because the EU resurfacing money has gone and the air we breath will be cleaner… Encourage the cruise liners to return with the infrastructure to show them a good time and not just the place with the… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

A long list of good ideas… except that last one. Plaid already has the power to reshape itself but is wedded to some ideals that will ensure it remains a minority interest. Indeed its unwillingness to tackle some of our more serious challenges makes it look feeble even when compared to wannabee welsh Labour. If Labour had the sense to switch to Llafur Cymru with Drakeford to see it through the change I reckon they could reduce Plaid’s footprint even further.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I agree it is a bit of a challenge but I started on this road in 1959 leafleting as a youngster in dear old Dol and I guess I will die somewhere on the A470 hopefully not in a ditch rather with the scent of wet grass in my nostrils…

Robert Williams
Robert Williams
8 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I think I can agree with most of this, except for cruise ships – ecological abominations that need to be abolished.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 days ago

I agree…but if I were to suggest wind driven ships with electric propulsion for docking and emergencies would you change your mind.

The tall ships visited Holyhead, why not commercial sailing ships ?

There is such a tradition of wind driven ship building on our west facing coast that is a shame it is only represented in old photographs…

It would put a smile on the angelic faces of Aled Eames and Lewis LLoyd if such an illustrious heritage was made the best of…

Thanks for the feedback…

Last edited 8 days ago by Mab Meirion
Erasmus
Erasmus
10 days ago

The same will happen when Scotland finally gains Independence.

It’s dead, Jim.

Gareth
Gareth
10 days ago

Having seen voters from holyhead interviewed on BBC Wales news who were over the moon, that they had, as an island community won the Brexit vote , I would think that they are not bothered that the EU is carrying on without them.

Robert Williams
Robert Williams
10 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

I think they may be bothered when they lose their jobs.

Gareth
Gareth
10 days ago

But, oven ready trade deals await, and they now have a blue passport, what more could they want. They knew what they were voting for, they keep telling us.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
10 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Brexit conundrum #42b; If we don’t need a trade agreement with the EU because WTO terms are fine why must we make trade deals with other countries rather than trade on WTO terms?

Robert Williams
Robert Williams
8 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

And 42c is, at what point exactly did an enthusiastic whisky salesman named David Frost, who thought no trade arrangements could be better than being in the EU Single Market, morph into the unelected brexit minister we now know and love who’s trying to ensure a permanent cold war with the EU?

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
10 days ago

The Irish actually did something about Brexit even if the English did not bother. The Celine, first of several Brexit-buster Superferries, was delivered 4 years ago and the second, Delphine, in January 2018. They were ordered right after the referendum along with new dock facilities and a newly dredged channel in Dublin. They had to, these are the biggest Ro-Ro ferries that exist.

Westminster has yet to even locate the truck park which they thought they required near Fishguard but don’t now.

Robert Williams
Robert Williams
10 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

A great contribution, Kerry, if I may say so.

Paul Culloty
Paul Culloty
10 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Moreover, the extra routes have been spread throughout the regions, with Dublin, Cork and Rosslare all benefiting from companies providing links to Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain and Portugal as well as the traditional French ferries.

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 days ago
Reply to  Paul Culloty

Irish had the sense to see beyond their capital city. Here in Wales our politicians fixate on Cardiff and can’t see much beyond its immediate hinterland.

Burleigh Ibbott
Burleigh Ibbott
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul Culloty

Not sure whats a to do with brexit. Ireland has more shipping routes for what? Does all the deliveries fo to Ireland and stop there? Is Ireland increase imports by at least 100%? If they don’t go through holyhead them they stay in Ireland please tell me what this to do with brexit

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
10 days ago

Was it worth it?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
10 days ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Ynys Mon Brexit voters remind me of the Oozlum bird from Carry on up the Jungle film.. It too disappeared up its own ………….

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
10 days ago

This was to be expected. National self-harm on a spectacular scale. 🥴🇬🇧

And If I hear another Brexiteer say: “Don’t tell me that I didn’t know what I was voting for”, will use their behind as a foot warmer.🤬

Last edited 10 days ago by Y Cymro
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
10 days ago

There was never going to be any Brexit golden uplands. Sadly, it looks like we will have to suffer until we rectify the situation upon independence. And look let’s have no more bulls**t we were better off in the EU, that’s become obvious, and we need to rejoin ASAP.

Last edited 10 days ago by Steve Duggan
Peter Williams
Peter Williams
10 days ago

I wonder if BBC Wales will co

Peter Williams
Peter Williams
10 days ago

I wonder if BBC Wales will cover this story? There appears to be a reluctance to cover stories which in any way highlights the negative impacts of UK policy on Wales. Contacting BBC Wales just gets a standard, patronising reply. How will the masses ever get the real picture of what is happening to Wales when our media don’t serve us ?

Gareth
Gareth
10 days ago
Reply to  Peter Williams

With the Tory party in Westminster threatening the very existence of the BBC, and issuing directives for more “British shows” and Nadine Dorries first waving, it’s a wonder BBC Wales is still broadcasting. Not long ago Huw Edwards was ordered to remove our national flag from his personal Twitter message. Controll of the media by the Tory party.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 days ago

I hope these new ferries ploughing through the Celtic Sea burn the cleanest fuel possible because the South Westerlies will be blowing their exhaust fumes all over our western seaboard !

Catharine Huws
Catharine Huws
9 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Do not suppose you remember the Breton garlic and onion sellers who roved rural Wales on their bicycles, having landed somewhere on the Welsh coast. The late Prof. Emrys Bowen taught us the significance of the Celtic Sea Routes long before the English existed. Wales could take a cue from Ireland and forge its own trade routes.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 days ago
Reply to  Catharine Huws
Why would I not? I remember the tramps that used to call at our house and go off with half my father's wardrobe...I remember the excitement of fair day in Dol, the hiss of tilley lamps, the water pistol fights...I remember living in a house without electricity, I remember winters where one never saw a stranger. Are you from a time before the Romans and as for Bowen E. I have all his books. Why do people on here make assumptions ?
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Why would I not? I was born in a house without electricity. I remember a time long before Plaid had an MP. Why do people on here make assumptions based on nothing. As for Prof Bowen I have his books upon my shelf, I also have Prof Barry Cunliffe and Nora K. Chadwick et al…

Last edited 9 days ago by Mab Meirion
Catharine Huws
Catharine Huws
9 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Then please excuse me, we must be of the same generation, plus carrying water from the well. I now live in a different time zone, eight hours ahead of you, about to be nine, so am a bit out of touch, and today is the first time for me to dare to comment. When I was growing up, I frequently walked Lon Bwbach, a Roman road. E.G. Bowen was my professor.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 days ago
Reply to  Catharine Huws

How nice of you to say that. Was he now, I spent some time with Dr Jeff Davies now retired of Aberystwyth, he is a Romanist, among others as a mature student some 20 years ago. I’m sorry if I sounded a bit defensive just now. I probably lean toward Barry Cunliffe when it comes to the early sea peoples. I am from the Mawddach and spent my early years playing on the side of Clogau Mountain sometimes underground. These days I travel weekly between the Mawddach and Ynys Mon, on a road parallel with Sarn Helen. I hope you… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 days ago
Reply to  Catharine Huws

Hi, we will walk our dog on Lon Bwbach at the next opportunity as it is not that far from my mother in law’s…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Dear Catharine, by the way the onion sellers still sell their onion strings in Eldon Square in Dolgellau but if you saw how expensive they are it would make your eyes water without peeling them…

Mark Anstice
Mark Anstice
10 days ago

Good ! What possible disadvantage is to be found by Irish trucks taking Irish goods to the continent sailing direct to France or wherever else in Europe. It just means less lorries on our roads.

John Brooks
John Brooks
9 days ago
Reply to  Mark Anstice

I agree with you. What we need is a properly managed plan to redeploy workers from the Welsh ports into the Welsh share of the 1.2m UK job vacancies.

Brian
Brian
8 days ago
Reply to  Mark Anstice

Irish lorry drivers are picking up European foods, biscuits, confectionery etc on their return loads instead of usual and beloved British. Implications are not been thought out properly and lies believed.

Robert Williams
Robert Williams
8 days ago
Reply to  Mark Anstice

Remarkably self-satisfied complacency about the fate of the UK’s 2nd busiest RORO port, those who work there, and the hundreds or thousands more who depend on it economically

Popsieonline
Popsieonline
4 days ago
Reply to  Mark Anstice

Less jobs.

Catharine Huws
Catharine Huws
10 days ago

Why does Wales not do likewise, make the most of the old Celtic sea routes?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 days ago
Reply to  Catharine Huws

The Scottish CalMac Ferries could have a boat or two on the west coast summer run down to Cornwall calling in on the Isle of Man, the Welsh and Devon Riviera…while not forgetting the lovely old MV Balmoral.

Or better still build a couple of the beautiful Western Ocean Schooners that carried the slate out of Porthmadog.

My first summer job was ‘ramp boy’ on the old Welsh Girl to Shell Island. Broadside on to the swell, the tang of sick mixing with the exhaust, with the splendid backdrop of the Rhinogydd…

Dean Williams
Dean Williams
8 days ago
Reply to  Catharine Huws

The Celtic sea routes will not happen because those routes would be subject to the same delays, fees, paperwork, and regulations as any other route out of the UK. The draw for the new Irish routes is freedom from Brexit induced fees and the increased workload of navigating the red tape attached to every load. As loads leaving from Cardiff would still be subject to the same problems, shippers have no incentive for opening new routes. Simply put, the Irish routes avoid a hard border. Any route out of Wales cannot do the same thing.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 days ago
Reply to  Dean Williams

Ever since Caesar’s fleet beat the Veneti’s ships at the Battle of Morbihan the old seaways were closed…

Scott McAlba
Scott McAlba
9 days ago

Whoever drew that map needs to go back to school. According to the map above, Amsterdam has somehow managed to relocate 50 kilometres up north and merge with the city of Den Helder. The port of Amsterdam (in its correct location) is not reached from the north via Den Helder, but throught the Noordzeekanaal (North Sea Canal) which runs straight west from Amsterdam to the North Sea. Den Helder does have a port, but that’s not a cargo port but the home of the Royal Navy.

Dan
Dan
9 days ago

I fail to see a massive economic benefit to Wales of having hordes of foreign lorries clogging up our few east-west roads as they are simply passing through on their way to or from Ireland. The odd driver may stop for food or fuel but if they do it’ll almost certainly be profit for some big chain company based no closer than London. It’s news, it might even be bad news for a small number of people, but I don’t see it as being bad for Wales as a whole.

Brian
Brian
8 days ago
Reply to  Dan

Irish lorry drivers are picking up European foods, biscuits, confectionery etc on their return loads instead of usual and beloved British. Implications are not been thought out properly and lies believed.

Howard Wilkins
Howard Wilkins
9 days ago

What good is that traffic to Wales? It is only destined for English ports, clogging up our roads!

Brian
Brian
8 days ago
Reply to  Howard Wilkins

Irish lorry drivers are picking up European foods, biscuits, confectionery etc on their return loads instead of usual and beloved British. Implications are not been thought out properly and lies believed.

Borris
Borris
8 days ago

Good.
Less pollution and less lorries on Welsh, and English roads

Peter Lewis
Peter Lewis
7 days ago

Wales voted leave – you reap what you sow. I hate what idiot Brexiteers have done to us.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 days ago
Reply to  Peter Lewis

Some places get earthquakes, some get hurricanes others burn to the ground or get washed away by tsunamis. We get Farage and Boris and the ERG but we can and will, if we put our minds to it, emerge wiser, stronger in the love we feel for this beautiful country we live in and create a land fit for all.

Mike
Mike
6 days ago

We don’t need all those Irish lorries on the road from wales to dover there’s too many already

Phil
Phil
3 days ago

There’s no point blaming Westmonster, this is what Wales voted for!
They said they knew exactly what they were voting for.
You won, get on with it.

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