Dingle boatmen threaten to pull Fungie trips over new harbour charges

Dingle’s dolphin Fungie

The world famous boat trips to see Dingle’s dolphin Fungie are under threat from Ireland’s new draconian tax system.

Boat operators in the picturesque Kerry harbour town are up in arms over new plans to increase their charges.

They have threatened to cease their service with immediate effect after new government charges of over $10,000 a boat were introduced.

The boatmen currently pay a quarter of that in some instances – and the government want the new fishery harbour fee paid upfront before the tourist season commences.

The Irish Times reports that they have appealed to the public for support in their battle with Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney who wants to introduce the new charges.

Fungie, a bottle-nosed dolphin named by local fishermen, has been attracting tourists to Dingle since 1984 and rarely moves beyond the harbour mouth.

“We simply will not be able to do it,” the chairman of Dingle Boatmen’s Association Jimmy Flannery told the Irish Times.

The current charges, approximately $3,5000, are paid at the end of the tourist season.
“I don’t think people understand how serious this is,” added Flannery. “We are appealing to anyone working in tourism in Dingle and elsewhere to make submissions before the April 20th deadline.”

The new harbour charges are also to affect Killybegs, Co Donegal; Rossaveel, Co Galway; Castletownbere, Co Cork; Dunmore East, Co Waterford and Howth, Co Dublin.