As explained, following the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) interpretation of the EU Regulation no 1177/2010 in respect of the cancellations, the company decided to challenge this decision in the courts.

Irish Ferries, having notified its customers months in advance, believes that it took every reasonable action against the backdrop of these extraordinary circumstances to provide its customers with alternative travel options, from a no-quibble immediate refund to allow them to make alternative travel plans, or facilitating alternative sailings and landbridge (with reimbursement of fuel costs) via the UK,

...the company said in its financial results for 2018.

The newbuilding was scheduled to commence sailings between Ireland and France in 30 July 2018, but German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft informed Irish ferries that it would be delayed. A subsequent delay to the delivery was announced in November. With this respect, NTA decided that Irish Ferries must pay compensation due to the cancellations.

The uncertainty caused by the NTA interpretation of the EU Regulation covering Sea Passengers has already unfortunately led us to close one route from Rosslare to France.

The company underlined that, in addition to offering alternative arrangements or full refunds, a goodwill gesture of €150 discount for a sailing to France this year has already been provided to all those impacted, and there has been significant take-up of that discount voucher this year.

Irish Ferries firmly believes that consumer protection should be reasonable, proportionate and in full compliance with the law. We also believe that the EU Regulation covering Sea Passengers should be comparable with other modes of transport.

This is not the case under current EU Regulations as airline passengers 'have no right to compensation in the event of cancellations where they have been given a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice whereas', the company continued, under the NTA interpretation of the EU Regulation, Sea Passengers have a right to compensation even if 2 years notice is given of a cancellation.

We believe it is in the best interests of our customers to protect the viability of direct links to the Continent which is now all the more critical against the backdrop of the proposed UK exit from the EU. These direct links are threatened by what we strongly believe to be the NTA’s incorrect interpretation of the Regulation, and hence the importance of proceeding with this legal challenge.