The Lough Foyle Ferry is running again, but the managing director said they will need a multi-year contract to guarantee the future of the service.
The Lough Foyle Ferry Company Ltd, Donegal County Council and Limavady Borough Council announced the resumption of the Greencastle-Magilligan ferry. A weekend service will run for the rest of March, followed by daily service from April 1st to September 30th, weather permitting.
“I tell you, this might be the last year,” said Jim McClenaghan, managing director of the company. “We have to make a profit.” He said they have been promised €10,000 from each council, a sum he said was not enough.
Funding should come from central government, Mr. McClenaghan said, acknowledging the councils have limited resources. He said the ferry needs a substantial, multi-year contract, adding, “That’s the only thing that’s going to save us, and if we go nobody else is going to take it on.”
Labour Cllr. Martin Farren, a strong supporter of the ferry, welcomed the return of the service, saying it “has proved to be a major success over the years, and has become a very important part of the infrastructure here between Inishowen and Northern Ireland.”
He pointed to two significant international events in the north this summer, the Round the World Clipper Race that includes a stop in Derry, and the Irish Open in Portrush. “It was very important from our point of view to have the ferry back in service as quickly as possible,” he said.
There will be sailings on the hour from Greencastle to Magilligan, 9 am to 7 pm, April through June and in September; and 9 am to 8 pm in July and August. There will be sailings on the hour from Magilligan to Greencastle, 9.15 am to 7.15 pm, April through June and in September; and from 9.15 am to 8.15 pm in July and August. A continuous shuttle may operate at peak times at the discretion of the operator.
The ferry company can be contacted at 074 9381901 or www.loughfoyleferry.com.