THE loss of the Cork Swansea Service is a major blow for Kerry's tourism interests at a time when the industry is already under threat from the downturn in the world economy.
News of the Fastnet group's examinership proceedings exacerbates Kerry's peripheral nature after the county was shunned as a route corridor, missing out in significant central government investment in Ireland's motorways. With flights into Kerry Airport already downgraded, including the recent announcement that the Kerry–manchester service is to cease, it could mark a very bleak winter for Kerry.
The announcement came as a shock to the local tourism industry, particularly as Kerry availed of a significant share of the €40m in revenue the service brought to the south west since it was reintroduced in March 2010.
While the project backers who formed a co-op to run the service, attracted an initial €3m. Kerry's share in this investment, though, was sorely lacking with poor attendance reported at fundraising seminars held across the county.
Investors across County Cork, meanwhile, were significantly more generous from the outset, even though the majority of passengers using the service would have spent their hard earned holiday cash across both counties.
Although a private venture, funding and support from central government was also sorely lacking and Kerry's new TDS will also have to do their bit to help reinvigorate the service.
As Fastnet attempts to ride the examinership storm, the company group has predicted that it could be up and running again in April but we can only wait and hope. One thing's for sure, Kerry's tourism interests will have to dig deep if they want to continue to reap the benefits of a service that deserves huge support.