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Friday 19 January 2018

Jobs axed as ferry service rescue fails

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

SEVENTY jobs have been axed after a troubled ferry company admitted defeat in its effort to raise €1.6m for a relaunch.

The Swansea-Cork ferry service was suspended in November due to "rising fuel costs", but backers hoped to resume services in April.

Fastnet Lines -- owned by the West Cork Tourism Co-op (WCTC) -- now faces receivership or liquidation. It failed to secure the €1.6m necessary to support a relaunch and to allow it to exit examinership.

Noel Murphy of WCTC said the firm had almost clinched a relaunch package when it learned Enterprise Ireland would not provide the €400,000 requested because it breached state aid rules.

"Everything was very positive up until 12 noon yesterday -- at the very last minute this state aid rule was thrown at us. It came out of the blue and was a hammer blow," he said.

Cork Co Mayor Cllr Tim Lombard said the ferry was absolutely critical to the south-west region and €30m in tourism spending would now be lost.

"It is very important that we as a county have a direct link to Britain," he said.

Fastnet blamed its losses on an attempt to operate yearly and the spiralling price of oil.

Irish Independent

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