Press Statement
from the Jeanie Johnston Company
6 May 2004

At a meeting of the Board of the Jeanie Johnston Company today, a summer programme for the replica famine ship was agreed which will include a return voyage to North America. Details of the 2004 programme will be announced once all arrangements are finalised.

In 2003, The Jeanie Johnston successfully completed its North American programme - proving the worthiness and value of the project to Ireland and its heritage. In the course of its American voyage, the replica famine ship was favourably received in fourteen U.S. and seven Canadian ports, welcoming approximately 100,000 visitors on board. Apart from successfully demonstrating its capability to successfully undertake high profile ambassadorial voyages representing a living museum to a proud Irish emigrant ship, the Jeanie Johnston tall ship has also confirmed its potential for sail training. In this regard, under the International Fund for Ireland Wider Horizons Programme, ninety-three young people from both sides of the border in Ireland and from Unionist and Nationalist communities completed a sail training programme on board the Jeanie Johnston in the course of the North American Voyage. The ship also generated extensive media coverage and public awareness - reaching out to the Irish Diaspora as per the objectives of the project - projecting a positive image of Ireland today.

Having completed the original objective of the Jeanie Johnston project i.e. undertaking a successful transatlantic voyage, and based on the experience gained in the course of the 2003 programme, the Board of the Jeanie Johnston Company (comprising representatives of Kerry Group, Shannon Development Company, Tralee Town Council and Kerry County Council) firmly believe that under Government ownership, the Jeanie Johnston can have a successful future as a high profile ambassadorial ship for Ireland for tourism promotion, sail training and cross-border initiatives - maintaining the important North/South dimension of the project.

However, in the absence of Government interest in acquiring the ship, the Directors of the Jeanie Johnston Company will have no alternative but to actively pursue a sale option for the tall ship.

For further information please contact:
(on behalf of the Jeanie Johnston Company)
Frank Hayes, Tel: +353 66 7182304, Fax: +353 66 7182972

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