Tourism groups have hit out at Dublin Port's announcement that no berths will be available for large cruise ships next year.

The port company says it has no space because of demands produced by Brexit.

Tour operator Niamh McCarthy of Excursions Ireland said cruise lines are now having to cancel bookings for next year because of the sudden announcement by Dublin Port.

"When tourism is down and beaten and on it's last legs they have put the nail in the coffin for 2022 and beyond," she said.

"The cruise lines are absolutely furious with this late announcement having had no indication that this was on the cards."

Retail Excellence and DublinTown had previously criticised the port company's decision in 2019 to reduce cruise liners' access by 50% by restricting them to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday sailings.

Now the port berths will not be available at all next year except for ships under 200m which can use berth 18.

Excursions Ireland says the ships bring in 200,000 passengers a year with a direct benefit of around €17 million to the Dublin economy.

"Are we in a position economically to close the door on a growing industry which provides jobs for so many throughout the country. Are we putting Ireland off the map for cruise tourism? Will an itinerary without Dublin Port attract cruisers to Ireland or will they choose other regions instead?" said Ms McCarthy.

However, Dublin Port said in a statement that there is currently a ban on cruise ships because of Covid-19 and berths are needed because of an "enormous shift of cargo".

The figures for the first three months showed that cargo on continental routes were up by just under 18% and berths that had been used for cruise ships were needed for these.

"Additionally Dublin Port has lost 14.6 hectares of land to State services to enable the processing of post-Brexit goods. This places increased demand on the use of land at Ocean Pier and every other available space."