‘End of the road’ warning for Foyle Ferry service

The Foyle Ferry in service last summer.
The Foyle Ferry in service last summer.

It could be the “end of the road” for the ferry service linking Derry and Donegal, a local councillor has warned.

The Magilligan to Greencastle service, previously part-funded by Donegal County Council and the now-defunct Limavady Council, had been operating since 2002.

Limerick-based Frazer Ferries stepped in to resurrect the service last July until October but told Causeway Coast and Glens Council and Donegal County Council it could not run the service in 2017 on the same terms as 2016 and spoke of losses of up to €100K. Causeway Council subsequently advertised for a new tender to run the service, without subsidy.

Sinn Fein councillor Dermot Nicholl said no-one applied by the deadline, January 25. He says Causeway Council and Donegal County Council need to meet urgently.

“You would hope it’s not the end of the road for the service, but the fact no-one applied to take over the tender doesn’t look good. It shows there has to be some sort of subsidy. There isn’t a raft of ferry operators out there, but I’d like to think we could come up with some sort of resolution,” said Colr. Nicholl. “This is a massive piece of infrastructure for the north west in terms of tourism and the potential that can offer. It would be heart-wrenching if a resolution can’t be found.

Donegal Council confirmed no applications were received for the tender and said they’ve contacted Causeway Council to set up a meeting “to agree our next actions.”

Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council was asked for comment on the matter, but they did not respond by Press time.