THE Government should spent up to €400,000 buying out a legally-binding contract for a new ferry service to Tory Island, a local TD has said.
Deputy Pearse Doherty was speaking in Dublin where more than 100 people from Tory and elsewhere have held a protest outside Dáil Éireann complaining about a tender awarded to an Arranmore businessman.
Seamus Boyle’s Queen of Aran ferry is due to being a service to Tory on Easter Sunday having successfully won the contract.
But Deputy Doherty says the boat – which is undergoing a major refurbishment – shouldn’t be used.
He told reporters in Dublin that the government needed to buy out the contract and re-tender it to get a new service that wasn’t “built in the 1970s” or was built “before I was born”.
He said: “Nobody on the streets of Kildare would put up with buses of 42 years of age. Nobody would travel on the Luas into Dublin if the Luas was 42 years of age.”
Islands Minister Joe McHugh has offered to build islanders a new boat, purchase a new boat and/or provide a fast ferry service to run alongside the Queen of Aran. Islanders have rejected all the offers. The local TD has also offered a multi-million euro overhaul of Magheraroarty pier.
Meanwhile Mr Boyle is said to be angry over claims his ferry is not suitable for the route.
The Queen of Aran, which once serviced oil rigs dozens of miles from shore in the North Sea, will have to pass stringent maritime safety trials overseen by the Marine Survey Office before going into service.