The team hoping to restore and relaunch heritage vessel the Naomh Éanna today met with Arts & Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan, and put forward an ambitious proposal by way of a €1.86 million investment to save the ship from being scrapped.
Marine vessel restoration company Irish Ship & Barge Company in cooperation with the Naomh Éanna Trust's Save Our Ship Campaign laid out plans to install a number of commercial ventures on board Naomh Éanna, including a 82-bed boutique hostel, a 46-seat restaurant, an interactive museum and a micro-brewery plus a café seating 60 people.
The Naomh Éanna, once used to carry passengers and supplies between Galway and the Aran Islands, had been due to be scrapped by Waterways Ireland because of safety concerns.
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
Campaigners need Minister Deenihan to intervene and halt the ship's scrapping as the reprieve date on it expires next Monday, 31 March.
The Naomh Éanna, said to be "one of the last riveted ships built in the world", has spent the best part of three decades in a state of neglect at Grand Canal Dock after her retirement.
According to Afloat.ie she was destined for the junkyard early last month before the intervention of Seanad members, despite the Department of Heritage rejecting appeals to save her.
Galway Port Company have offered a berth for the restored Naomh Éanna.
Sam Field Corbett, of the Save Our Ship campaign, believes that a proper inspection of the ship needs to be carried out before the plans are acted upon, while also saying that €1.86 million was the maximum budget campaigners had been able to secure.
“None of the investors would be willing to put their hands in their pocket unless the ship is properly surveyed,” Field Corbett said.
"Engineers are confident that, after restoration of her hill and machinery, she will sail to Galway under her own steam," he told Afloat.
It’s planned 45 people would be employed aboard the new business.
Image: Naomh Eanna Trust Facebook Page