Introduce yourself and the organisation. What is your role and focus area?
I am Captain Phil Murphy. I'm the Senior Marine Office with Wexford County Council. I look after the piers, harbours and ports within the county and the coastline of around 250km there, so a very active space. Wexford County Council would be one of the leading authorities in the coastal environment and we have some good examples of best practice in it, so that's kind of my background. Thats what I do.
What is your organisation's role in the marine industry?
Looking from a coastal point of view, obviously it's a local authority, but we are also port authority. We have New Ross Port, we have piers and harbours. So we have an interest with marine leisure, with tourism, with community groups, with fishing industries.
There's very important fishing industry set in Kilmore Quay - the biggest Irish fleet left in Ireland, all locally owned boats, which is really, really good to see.
And then a few years back, we took over New Ross Port, so we have a commercial shipping element up there aswell and all that goes with that.
So it is a very wide, broad-based local authorities there to put the infrastructures in place to support those types of businesses and interests in community groups and very broad-based initiatives.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for Ireland's marine industry in the coming 5-10 years?
Well I think people now, particularly the public, are starting to realise the importance of marine assets. People swim all year round. They engage with coasts and they walk the beaches. We're starting to eat a little bit of fish - that kind of stuff.
Interestingly, at an event like this (MIIN in Wexford), we're able to see the new companies - it's amazing here today and last night - that a lot of the players I wouldn't have known, where a couple of years ago would be the complete opposite. So it's great to see those new, indigenous industries coming up.
And the opportunities that are particularly in the offshore sectoris a big, big opportunity.That might benefit some of the coastal communities I deal with aswell,so guys could maybe move across into other industries which are due for expansion. So it's a very interesting space and there's a lot to happen in the coming years.
What is the biggest challenge, in your opinion, facing businesses in the marine industry today?
A lot of challenges. Yeah, a lot of opportunity, but again it comes with challenges. Practical sense is, where are you going to get the skilled workforce? In the maritime industry, I know there's not very many people going to sea anymore, so that cohort of people that would have had traditional maritime backgrounds are probably not there in the same numbers that they were.
You've got the legislative frameworks to go through. We've had a presentation there from MARA who are trying to get up and get running and deal with that - a lot of pressure coming on. So, a huge amount of challenges and then I suppose, there is a bit of fear factor as well.
People see new changes coming and how we might overcome that and explain to people exactly what is going on and kind of make the most of it. So yes, some significant challenges, but with any opportunity you're always going to get that, so just work through that process.
Is there anything you would like to share with the network?
I think it's great you're here in Wexford. It is the Maritime County, as I said there earlier on. Nobody actually realises that, but it is good to see that industry coming to places like Wexford. We do have a very keen sense of what we have down here.
Like, traditionally you have Dublin, Cork and the bigger centres, that's great. But to put it into the other regions is really, really good and I think it's good for supporting business as well. And even for businesses to know that the likes of us in local authorities can support them as well, so some really good networking.