I would like thank Captain Tom Byrne (Wicklow People 31st August 2011) for his support and critique of my outline plan for a new harbour in Wicklow. Indeed, there are flaws in my proposal as he has pointed out but my intention was to generate debate, which it has succeeded in doing.
I lay no claim to being a marine architect or shipping expert. My aim was to get the people of Wicklow to look to their own geographical advantages to create a sustainable future for coming generations by creating a wealth and employment generating vehicle on their doorstep. The existing harbour has served its time and is no longer fit for purpose.
If the planners get it right, we could have both a thriving commercial deep sea harbour and a tourism mecca for the east coast, akin to Kinsale. Perhaps a new entity could provide 728 days of continuous commercial activity allowing the workers to take 2 days off to enjoy the spectacle of the Round Ireland and Sail Fest.
With all the doom and gloom about, with growing unemployment and rampant emigration surely it behoves the present generation to consider a bold investment for the future wellbeing of Wicklow. We are unlikely to see an American or Chinese wealthy investor provide an Intel type solution? Wicklow has a unique opportunity right now – let it pass, and Dublin could resolve it’s own problem closer to home.
Yes, it will cost millions but there are ways of tapping into major capital funding – the expertise exists to project manage such an undertaking. There are several options of harbour design that can be explored – mine was only an opening gambit. To make it work, all harbour users will have to be prepared to accept change and make sacrifices for the greater good of Wicklow.
There is no sin in ambition for a better future. I would urge our Town Council, Port Company, Chamber of Commerce, Town Forum, County Council and the citizens of Wicklow to give serious consideration to this idea. Now is not the time to sit on the fence – be bold and prosper. With hopefully substantial commercial port activity and enhanced tourism facilities, a large number of sustainable jobs could be generated for Wicklow, securing employment locally for several generations.
I have no vested interest to promote or children to provide for – all I want is to see is for my adopted home of Wicklow to prosper. I hope Captain Tom agrees and will add his expertise and considerable influence to help put a suitable project in place. As President Barak Obama said to us recently “Is feidir linn”.