Foyle Ferry tender delay was ‘very disappointing’

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Donegal County Councillors have expressed concern at the “considerable period of time” it took Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to respond with relevant documentation regarding the Foyle Ferry service.

The issue was raised at the recent Inishowen Municipal District meeting, at which Councillor Bernard McGuinness also told of his ‘disappointment’ in the delay in the tendering process, stating it should have been completed “two months ago.”

The Fine Gael councillor added that while it would be “inappropriate” to comment further while the tendering process was ongoing, he was “concerned.”

Colr McGuinness said he was also “disappointed” that elected members “were not consulted properly” in relation to this.

Colr Nicholas Crossan welcomed the tender process and said the day was “very disappointing.” He said he wished to “reiterate” that this delay was not the fault of Donegal County Council.

Councillor Martin Farren said he initially understood the service was to be tendered for a new operator in February but this did not take place until April. He told councillors that Donegal County Council had “got something” in relation to documentation to the other Council in February. They then took a “considerable period of time” to respond, responding on Holy Thursday, March 24th.

Colr Farren said that if a new operator does not “come on board” it would leave the Council and Inishowen in a “very difficult situation.”

He added: “I keep pointing this out but the ferry is very, very important to the whole of Inishowen.” The service will be offered for an initial three-year period, from June 1st, 2016 to May 31st, 2019. The tender was advertised on the e-tender website.