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Minister Byrne visits Port of Dunkirk for inauguration of the new ‘Irish Terminal’

Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne TD, is visiting the Port of Dunkirk on 11 October for the inauguration of the ‘Irish Terminal’, which is the base for the DFDS direct shipping route between Rosslare and Dunkirk. The Minister will also discuss opportunities for future cooperation around trade, tourism, and education exchanges with Ireland’s nearest EU neighbour.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Minister 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.”

Minister Byrne will also meet a range of key political and business figures from the Hauts-de-France region and city of Dunkirk, and will undertake engagements with Enterprise Ireland, Tourism Ireland and their clients in support of the Government’s efforts to enhance our trade with Ireland’s seventh largest export market.

Minister Byrne commented that:

“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.”


Press Office

11 October 2021

Notes to editors

  • Throughout 2020 and 2021, the shipping industry has responded to market demand to put in place significant additional capacity on direct routes between Ireland and other EU countries. New or additional direct ferry links with increased capacity have come on stream and are seeing high demand, including routes to Dunkirk, Cherbourg, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Roscoff and Santander.
  • There have been a total of 27 separate interventions by shipping operators since May 2020 to increase the levels of service on direct shipping routes between Ireland and our EU partners. An indicative map of the available services can be consulted on the website of the Irish Maritime Development Office.
  • Figures in the Irish Maritime Development Office's Q2 Unitised Traffic Report show that weekly roll-on / roll-off (RoRo) freight capacity to continental EU ports has doubled in the past 18 months and is at unprecedented levels. Similarly, load-on / load-off (LoLo) volumes in the first half of 2021 increased by 10% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, and are at their highest level since 2007.
  • As part of the trip, Minister Byrne will also visit Ecocem, an Irish company specialising in the manufacturing of high performance cements, situated in the Port of Dunkirk. He will also met with Tourism Ireland who are keen to develop passenger traffic from the port to Rosslare.