Sunday 25 September 2016

Action urged as vital Aran island ferry service set to end within days

Published 27/01/2016 | 02:30

Island Ferries intends to cease winter sailings from Ros a Mhil to Inis Mór from January 31, following a dispute over the collection of an 80 cent passenger charge.
Island Ferries intends to cease winter sailings from Ros a Mhil to Inis Mór from January 31, following a dispute over the collection of an 80 cent passenger charge.

The largest of the Aran Islands could be left without a ferry from as early as next week after the operator said it would press ahead with plans to end the service.

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Island Ferries intends to cease winter sailings from Ros a Mhil to Inis Mór from January 31, following a dispute over the collection of an 80 cent passenger charge.

Minister of State Joe McHugh has insisted he will take all necessary measures to ensure that islanders are not left without a service.

Galway county councillors urged the minister to put in place a Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract for the island. The ferry to Inis Mór is the only service to the Aran Islands not operating under the security of a State subsidy.

Cathy Ní Ghoill, of Comharchumann Forbartha Árann, said islanders were “back at square one”.

She said: “This will leave the island totally stranded from the end of the week.

“The flights in the winter run three times a day but they often only take seven or eight people because of weight restrictions.

“And even at that, not everyone can afford to take the plane on a daily basis.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said: “Minister of State McHugh has already indicated to representatives of the Aran community that whatever measures are necessary will be taken to ensure that they are not left without a ferry service after January 31, 2016.”

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