Irish Chamber of Shipping Annual Dinner
- Pat the Cope Gallagher
Addressing the Irish Chamber of Shipping Annual Dinner this evening (Wednesday, 3 May 2006) Pat the Cope Gallagher, Minister of State for Transport, this evening (Wednesday, 3 May 2006) said that the relocation of responsibility for ports and shipping to the Department of Transport "has presented the Government with an opportunity to undertake a fresh appraisal of the State's maritime transport policy".
The transfer, said the Minister, was designed to promote an integrated transport policy and has been welcomed by all sectors of the maritime industry. The Irish Maritime Development Office has been asked to carry out a thorough evaluation of the results of the State's existing strategies to promote its maritime transport sector. Minister Gallagher said that this review would commence shortly. It is being undertaken by the Irish Maritime Development Organisation (IMDA).
The Minister said that a consultation on the Irish Ship Register is near completion and he gave a commitment that the Government will bring forward any proposals necessary to ensure that our Flag administration, including the registration process, is as efficient as possible and contributes to developing the Irish shipping sector across the board.
On our ports policy, Minister Gallagher expressed his appreciation for the number and quality of submissions received by Fisher Associates, the advisors appointed to examine current and future strategy on ports. Their report is expected by Summer.
Finally, Minister Gallagher announced that the domestic legislation to re-introduce the Employers' of Seafarers PRSI Refund scheme is now in place and PRSI refunds are due to go out to eligible employers of seafarers in the near future.