The Magilligan to Greencastle ferry is to return with a new operator.
The Journal understands the service could resume in early June.
The news has been welcomed by Limavady councillor Dermot Nicholl, who pointed to the huge potential for cross-border tourism thanks to blockbuster film productions such as Star Wars in Donegal and Game of Thrones on this side of Lough Foyle.
The Sinn Féin councillor said: “Both ourselves and our counterparts in Donegal have been working very hard in tandem on this because we see it as a very important piece of infrastructure for the Causeway Coast and Glens, the North Coast and the whole region.
“This is a real good news story for the region and the area as we are coming into the summer and hopefully it can be built upon. The operator is indicating that the busier it gets, the more they will do so potentially it might be kept going outside the traditional summer months.
“We talk about Game of Thrones here but across the way, over in Malin Head, what have they got? Another massive blockbuster in Star Wars. Those two things alone could work really well together and the ferry could be a major part of that.
“We are attracting major blockbusters like Game of Thrones to the North Coast and we have Star Wars across in Donegal. We can’t have people squabbling about putting a ferry in when we have such a major opportunity for tourism. This is fantastic news that we now have an operator for the ferry and I am hopeful it will be up and running in time for the school holidays.”
The new ferry operator is Rooskey, Frazer and Co.
At the Inishowen Municipal District meeting, Paddy Doherty, Divisional Manager of the Community, Enterprise and planning section of Donegal County Council, confirmed an operator had been appointed and said both councils were now in the process of finalising a contract with the successful tender. he said all parties are working to have the service up and running for “early June.”
Inishowen’s County Councillors welcomed the fact the tender for the service was for three years. Councillor Martin Farren said he hoped this would mean the Greencastle to Magilligan service would get underway at an earlier date next year. Councillor Bernard McGuinness agreed, stating he would hope the service would begin next year before Easter. It was pointed out how the service is beneficial not just to the Greencastle area but to the Inishowen peninsula as a whole.
Meanwhile, the Swilly ferry, from Buncrana to Rathmullan, will also run for a 13-week period from June.