Wave of support for Foyle Ferry service

Derry no2-27/8/02-Trevor McBride picture-FERRY-'crossing the devide-at the mouth of Lough Foyle-the ferry Carrigaloe on its way to Greencastle,Co.Donegal(Donegal Hills in background)from Magilligan in the Northern side -see story
Derry no2-27/8/02-Trevor McBride picture-FERRY-'crossing the devide-at the mouth of Lough Foyle-the ferry Carrigaloe on its way to Greencastle,Co.Donegal(Donegal Hills in background)from Magilligan in the Northern side -see story

Locals are backing a call to save the Magilligan to Greencastle ferry.

A petition was started online, after news broke that the company that operates the ferry would not be renewing the contract to operate the service come March of next year.

Tonight (Tuesday), members of Causeway Coast and Glens will discuss the situation.

In a statement, Council said: “Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is in the process of arranging a meeting in the coming weeks with officers from Donegal County Council to progress the matter. Information will be brought back to members of the Environmental Services committee early in the new year.

Since the ferry started some 13 years ago, over two million passengers have been transported across the lough, by the Foyle Ferry company.

The operator revealed last week that the service had been operating on ‘a shoestring’ budget.

He said that if subsidies from Causeway Coast and Glens Council and Donegal County Council were not forthcoming, then it would be ‘nigh on impossible ‘to keep the service going.

Around 1,000 people have already put their name to the online petition.

SDLP MLA John Dallat says that the service ‘must be re-instated with investment.

He accused Sinn Fein of ‘sitting on their hands’ when they had the opportunity to secure the future of the ferry three years ago.

Dallat said: “Following the announcement that the ferry service had been wound up, I was amazed to read that Sinn Fein are calling on the DUP Minister for Regional Development, to fund the cross- border service.

“I ask the question, why on earth did they not do that when their party had the Regional Development Ministry?.

“Why did Conor Murphy do nothing, not even talk to the Irish Government about their responsibility in a cross-border ferry service that carried more than two million passengers?

“This service was key to filling many empty beds in hotels and guest houses on both sides of the border.

It encouraged many international tourists travelling up the west of Ireland to extend their visit to the Causeway Coast and The Giant’s Causeway in particular.

“It must be re-instated with investment in a new boat free of maintenance and costly annual inspections which the old boat was subject to.

“The solution to putting in place a sustainable ferry service is for the various bodies to begin the serious business of talking to each other about the best way forward. “