‘People will be happy it’s up and running again’

The Foyle ferry sets sail again on July 1.
The Foyle ferry sets sail again on July 1.

Causeway councillors have agreed to allow the new Foyle ferry operator to use their slipway at Magilligan Point.

The move was agreed at a meeting of the Council’s environmental services committee on Tuesday.

It comes after confirmation the Foyle Ferry service will sail again this summer, following an agreement between Donegal County Council and Frazer Ferries company.It was feared the Greencastle to Magilligan Ferry service would not sail again, after Frazer Ferries told both Donegal County Council and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council it could not run the service in 2017 on the same terms as 2016, and spoke of losses of up to €100,000.

Causeway Council brought a report to the committee in March, requesting permission from members to authorise officers, in principal to investigate merits of subvention. However, members decided not to authorise that avenue of investigation.

Donegal County Council, however, re-advertised a tender for the service with a subsidy in April, and Frazer Ferries were successful in their application.

The Ferry service will start on Saturday, July 1, and run until Sunday, September 17. It’s understood a total of €360,000 in subvention will be provided by Donegal County Council over the next three years; €120,000 per year.

Members of causeway Council’s environmental services committee heard on Tuesday that Donegal County Council was requesting access to their slipway and associated infrastructure at Magilligan in order that an operator can deliver a ferry service between magilligan Point and Greencastle in Donegal.

Members heard Crown Estate costs would be borne by Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, estimated at between £3,500 and £4,500 per annum.

SDLP councillor Roisin Loftus said news of subvention from Donegal Council was “very welcome”. She said it shows Donegal Council are “serious” about the tourism market.

Sinn Fein Colr. Brenda Chivers agreed it was “very welcome”, and said Causeway Council “should help where we can.” She said she’d met several people in the Limavady area recently who were upset Causeway Council was “not supporting the ferry given we are the gateway into the area.” Colr. Chivers added: “A lot of people will be happy it’s up and running again.”

The committee’s decision will be taken forward to the monthly meeting of Council.