The Irish Maritime Development Organisation (IMDO) welcomes the announcement that a deal had been reached in the Irish Ferries dispute.
Since the beginning of the dispute, the IMDO has worked closely with unions, management and the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources in the hope that a mediated settlement could be arrived at.
Commenting on the news, IMDO Director, Mr. Glenn Murphy said "We would firstly like to congratulate the members of the Labour Relations Commission for their relentless endeavours in achieving this breakthrough in what has been a very complex and challenging negotiation process. This has been a very difficult time for all parties involved, in particular the workers who faced an uncertain future during this process, however we were confident that an agreement could be reached"
In a report to the Government in July this year, the Office identified the serious threat to Ferry sector and in particular to Irish seafarer employment, posed by companies employing cheaper seafarers on 'Flag of Convenience' vessels that are registered outside Europe.
According to Mr. Murphy "The dispute has seen over 34% of the Freight carrying capacity on the Irish Sea from the republic tied up during this dispute at a critical time for Irish companies. In 2004 goods to the value of €120 billion Euro passed along the Irish maritime shipping supply chain representing an estimated 99% of Ireland's trade by volume being transported by sea. The shipping services sector is strategically essential to Ireland as an island economy, which depends heavily on its shipping industry and its network of support services to connect Irish industry with the global market place. Therefore it is vital that competitiveness in this sector is maintained".
The IMDO is looking forward to working closely with the Government and Industry in devising a long-term strategy for the future employment of Irish Officers and Irish companies involved in the highly competitive International shipping sector.
The Irish Maritime Development Office is Ireland's dedicated development, promotional and marketing agency for the shipping services sector. It is part of the Marine Institute, the state agency responsible for researching the potential of Ireland's 220 million acre marine resource and promoting its sustainable development.