Donegal TD Joe McHugh has confirmed a new fast ferry service has come into operation for Tory Island for the summer months.
Mr McHugh, Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, said the new twice-daily operation will bring yet another dimension to the expanded transport links to Tory.
“I am delighted that the islanders are fully behind this as well. This new service will mean a fast boat is based on Tory and thanks to new and improved schedules, islanders can leave their homes and spend a full day on the mainland before returning in the evening.
“I also want to thank Jimmy Mac Ruaidhrí for his interest in running services for the community and I’d like to thank Donald Cullen for the service he has provided over the last two months.”
The contract, which runs from May 26 until July 31, was finalised after Comharchumann Oileán Thorai invited applications for a short-term fast ferry service.
The agreement was signed while separate discussions are underway between the Government and the Health Service Executive (HSE) on extending helicopter services to Tory Island, which ran from mid-November last year until March 30.
Improvements to the helipad on Tory, including the removal of ESB power lines, have been completed in recent weeks.
The proposal to expand air connectivity to the island followed a review of transport services at the end of March.
Mr McHugh added: “In the last year the Government doubled helicopter services to Tory and Falcarragh and now discussions have commenced to explore the possibility of extending services into September and April.
Mr McHugh added: “The new fast ferry contract and the plans for increased air services are just one aspect of the ever improving transport links to Tory.
“We are also committed to designing and constructing a new purpose built ferry to operate from Magheraroarty to Tory over the next couple of years. Consultation work on the project has begun.
“The commitment for the new boat is in the National Development Plan and it will be delivered.
“Comharchumann Oileán Thorai also visited Rathlin Island in recent weeks to discuss ferry services with islanders there and research has also begun on potential designs for the new ferry.
“Alongside that my officials in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht have begun initial discussions with Donegal County Council on the redevelopment of the pier at Magheraroarty, another major project committed to in the National Development Plan.”Tags: