Minister agrees meeting over funding for ferries

The Minister of State for Tourism has agreed to meet with a cross party delegation from Donegal County Council, in relation to state funding for both the Foyle and Swilly Ferries.

Senator Padraig MacLochlainn this week confirmed that Minister Patrick O’Donovan has agreed to meet a cross party delegation from Donegal County Council to discuss the funding of the Buncrana to Rathmullan and the Greencastle to Magilligan ferries.

Senator MacLochlainn had raised the issue directly with Minister O’Donovan last week, and said he hopes the meeting could take place “in the next few weeks.”

“For years now, Donegal County Council has continued to fund these two important ferries without any support from central government. This is clearly unfair, particularly when the members of Donegal County Council are being asked to choose between funding these ferries and funding some community groups in the Inishowen Municipal District,” he said.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’, Inishowen Labour councillor Martin Farren said he welcomes the proposed meeting with Minister O’Donovan, and would like to be part of the delegation who travels to meet with him.

“I welcome the fact that the Minister is willing to meet with a delegation from Donegal County Council.

“I think it is very important that we do stress the point and show him the importance of both ferries, and that funding should come from central government.

“In the case of the Foyle Ferry, it should come from both central government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

“Both governments know how important tourism is to their economies, and both the Foyle and Swilly Ferries play a pinnacle role in tourism in Donegal.

“In fairness, we are requesting a small amount of funding, that I think we are entitiled to. I hope that if this meeting takes place, the Minister will take our comments on board and look at us favourably in terms of funding,” he said.