A funding application for the Magilligan to Greencastle ferry has been blown out of the water - putting its future in jeopardy.
The thousands of euros Interreg application for the popular 10-minute service was rejected over fears of ‘sustainability and need’ for the service, the ‘Journal’ has learned.
Now it appears both Donegal County Council and Limavady Borough Council will have to foot the 200,000 euro bill which one Donegal councillor says will be “near enough impossible”.
Despite this, he maintains the plug won’t be pulled on the much-used car ferry. Councillor Padraig MacLochlainn told the Journal he was ‘gutted’ the funding application was rejected because the council was banking on the cash to help keep the service afloat.
While he’s confident the money will be sought to keep it going he speculated it may mean cuts will have to be made in the service as a result.
Speaking to the Journal yesterday he said: “The Interreg application was a big blow to us - it’s very disappointing because it means we will have to find the resources ourselves.
“Our resources are very limited, we always thought central government would come in and help us out - but that’s not been the case.
“The council has been left with the bill. We will find the funding to make sure it continues.”
Limavady Borough Council said it is willing to put 50,000 euro towards to ferry as long as Donegal County Council match this.
Cllr MacLochlainn said he hopes this can be achieved but said he’s mindfall there will still be a 100,000 euro deficit.
He added: “The ferry service will continue to have a big challenge ahead. It is now being left for negotiations with senior council management, we may not be able to retain it for the full 365 days a year but the bottom line is the ferry will be maintained.”
Jim McClenaghan of the Foyle Ferry company said he didn’t wish to comment on the issue until he met with council chiefs, which he’s scheduled to do so next week.