Galway West Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív has questioned the Government’s commitment to the Inishbofin ferry service, as the contract is due to expire at the end of the year.
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan has confirmed to Deputy Ó Cuív that the Inishbofin ferry was only given a 3 year contract which expires on the 31st December 2014. That’s compared to the standard 7 year contract given to most other very services.
“The short duration of this contract raises questions about the Government’s commitment to retaining a 7 day service to Inishbofin. This service is of vital importance to the island, its people, visitors, service providers and the local economy. It must be retained in full,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
“The Minister added to the doubt by saying in his reply to me that the reason for the short contract was the uncertainty regarding the budgetary allocation for subsidised transport services.
“I am calling on Minister Deenihan to clarify whether he intends to continue with a 7 day service to Inishbofin when the new contract will be advertised at the end of this year. The Minister already refused to complete the airstrip on the island and on the mainland, and has decided to sell this important infrastructure. With the Inishbofin ferry service now in doubt, it would appear that the Government is discriminating against the Galway islands.
“We need to know if the Government is determined to reduce transport links to the Aran Islands and Inishbofin. The Minister has put the air service to the Aran Islands on a short contract, there is no contract for passenger services to the largest of the Aran islands, Inishmore, and now he has created uncertainty regarding the passenger service to Inishbofin. Is there no limit to what the Government will consider withdrawing? These transport links are a lifeline for the Galway islands. They must be supported in full,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.