There are “a number of seriously interested parties” in operating the cross border Foyle Ferry service between Magilligan and Greencastle, it has emerged.
The ferry’s former operators announced last year they would not be renewing their contract for the service and it would cease with immediate effect.
‘Positive discussions’ have, however, been taking place between Donegal County and Causeway Coast & Glens Councils on the future of the service.
On Monday, Minister Joe McHugh TD welcomed “confirmation that the tender documents have been finalised for the Foyle Ferry Service and that the commencement of the tendering process for the service is imminent”.
Mr McHugh said the move “will secure the future of the vital service”.
Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín said he has been informed “there are a number of seriously interested parties in operating this vital cross border transport structure and hope to be operational by this summer”.
Mr. O’hOisin added: “We are confident the service will be saved and this will be a long term investment.”
SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan said: “Since its inception the Magilligan to Greencastle ferry has always been plagued with funding issues. The fact that it’s going out to tender is very positive considering there appears to be significant commercial interest, which I hope will result in the ferry re-instated for the summer.”
Colr. Mullan added: “A commercially successful ferry could mean a year round service which would be great news for everyone. We should all work hard to expedite this process.
“It may be wishful thinking that we can have the service back before Easter but having it operational by summer is a realistic goal.”