Government approval for the Harbours Bill 2015 will see the transfer of control of five ‘Ports of Regional Significance’ (Drogheda, Dún Laoghaire, Galway, New Ross and Wicklow) to local authority-led goverance strucutures.

The Bill provides the legal basis to allow for a Ministerial Order, and also enhances management procedures of ‘Ports of National Significance’ namely Cork, Dublin, Shannon Foynes and Waterford. 

Dun Laoghaire June 2015

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, a ‘Port of Regional Significance’ to be transferred to local authority governance. Photo Gillian Mills

Procedures include new statutory skillsets for directors; requirement for prospective chairpersons to appear before elected representatives to discuss the appointment; statutory requireiment regarding accountability of chairpersons and CEOs, and a maximum ten-year overall term of office for directors. 

“This Bill is another important step in the development of our commercial ports sector” and is a key recommendation of the 2013 National Ports Policy, remarked Pascal Donohoe, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. 

Transfer will be either as a shareholding and retention of the existing company, or a dissolution of the existing company strucuture and complete integration within local authority structures.

The preferred model of transfer will be informed by local authority-led due diligence process currently underway in respect of each company.