Ferry service reprieve for Inis Mór
Published 28/01/2016 | 02:30
Fears for the only ferry service to the Aran Island of Inis Mór have abated after a short-term agreement was reached between the operator and officials from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The service operator, Island Ferries, threatened to cease the service from Sunday in a row over an 80c passenger fee.
However, last minute talks with department officials led to an agreement to provide extra funding to Island Ferries.
The vital service will now continue until the end of the summer.
Locals want the minister to place a contract on the route to ensure the service is secured into next winter.
Cathy Ní Ghoill of Comharchumann Forbartha Árann welcomed the news but said islanders needed certainty.
"We still have no idea how long this service will run. As it stands, it could end after the summer. We can't go through this again. We need a contract to ensure the island has a service all year around," she added.
While a previous attempt to introduce a contract for Inis Mór received no interest, Fine Gael TD Sean Kyne said he would be calling for a Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract if a basic contract failed to illicit any interest. A PSO would allow only one operator to service the route. Mr Kyne said there was interest from European countries in tendering for such a PSO.