The economic problems facing the Republic of Ireland are immense and especially worrying for us on Ynys Môn considering how much the Port of Holyhead relies upon a steady flow of people and cargo between us and the Irish ports of Dublin and Dun Laoghaire. Holyhead is in fact the busiest ferry port in Wales handling around 2.3 million passenger movements each year and sustaining approximately 900 jobs -- well over half of those with Stena, and the remainder with Irish Ferries, port service companies, and various other transport businesses. In 2009, according the latest figures available from the Department of Transport, Holyhead Port handled a total of 2.85 million tonnes -- the vast majority of it roll on/roll off. All of this injects much needed money in to Anglesey's fragile economy.
Of course Ireland is not just important to Holyhead and Anglesey, it is also one of the UK's largest trading partners. British exports to Ireland are three times British exports to China and five times the exports to India, furthermore Irish trade exceeds total UK trade with the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China put together. For these reasons I am pleased to see that the UK Government is prepared to help Eire and hope that this along with the IMF loans will help to buffer any possible knock-on effects on ferry traffic at Holyhead.