The ferry service between Magilligan and Greencastle is set to resume, but not on June 1 as expected.
Instead, the cross border service - understood to be operated by Limerick-based Rooskey Frazer and Co Ltd. - is expected to start in “early June”.
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council confirmed their officers will meet with the successful tenderer this week to confirm an operational start date, however, a spokesperson said: “It is hoped the ferry will be operational from early June 2016.”
It’s understood the new contract is for an initial three-year period with a further two periods of two years each and that initially there would be a minimum three round trips sailings per day during specified periods, subject to market need.
Sinn Fein councillor Dermot Nicholl said the service has been missed since the former operators, Foyle Ferry Company Ltd, stopped sailing last November and did not renew the contract for the summer season.
“It is a much needed piece of infrastructure for this region and a welcome boost.
“It will be good to see it back up and running,” said Colr. Nicholl.
DUP Colr. Alan Robinson said: ”Many found the ferry operation useful as a speedy commute from both jurisdictions.
“However, some had argued in the past that the former Limavady borough, or indeed the town, saw little in the way of additional footfall.
“With the expanded Causeway borough, Council should ensure that the entirety of the region see benefits that should be accrued by having such a facility.”
Owen McLaughlin from The Point Bar said: “It’s great news the service will start up again, great for the area, but it needs to be soon because they’ve already missed half the season, and all the big weekends,” said Mr McLaughlin.
“You had St. Patrick’s day, Easter, the two Bank holidays and the NW 200.
“The longer it’s off the more damage it does so it needs to be back up and running soon .”