The Swilly Ferry from Buncrana to Rathmullan is to resume this Thursday, it has been confirmed.
The service has been taken over by Arranmore Car and Passenger Ferry Service and will initially run for a period of six weeks.
Dominic Sweeney, the new operator of the ferry, said they were “delighted” to take it on and added the company hopes to negotiate a longer contract.
He told the ‘Journal:’ “This has always been a big and very popular route. The Foyle Ferry did an excellent job with it but it has been stopped now for a while. When it went to tender we dived at the chance to get it up and running again.
“Initially, we have a six-week contract, but we hope to negotiate with the council to get a longer run, perhaps for five years. We’d also hope to negotiate the terms of the contract, so instead of a six-week run we’d be able to do it for four or five months.”
Dominic disclosed he has received strong local support in Inishowen since the news of the new service was revealed.
He said: “I have been speaking to a number of business owners locally and everyone seems to be on board with it. That local support is a big help.
“A lot of business people were telling us they noticed a big difference in summer trade when the ferry stopped, so they seem delighted that it’s back up and running.”
The ferry will resume this Thursday, July 30th and Dominic said while they were hoping to begin the service at the start of the season they’re happy to provide it over the next six weeks.
He said: “We were hoping to get it at the start of the season but that didn’t materialise. So, we went back and re-tendered. We’re glad we have it now and we’re heading into August which is a busy time of year locally and there are a few tourists about.”
The Arranmore Ferry Service has been in operation for 27 years and it is hoped there will be strong support from the public. The ferry will begin on Thursday, although due to dredging works the schedule may be somewhat interrupted. A full schedule will then begin on Friday.