NEWS

Tory island to protest at the gates of Dáil Éireann on Valentine's day

Early rise for Tory islanders as they head to Dublin in hopes of resolution

Michelle NicPhaidin

Reporter:

Michelle NicPhaidin

Email:

editorial@donegaldemocrat.com

Tory island to protest at the gates of Dáil Éireann on Valentine's day

Tory islanders will rise before dawn tomorrow morning and make their way to the capital to protest against the new ferry which is to begin servicing the island from April 1st.
Islanders have been unwavering in their belief that the ferry that is to begin servicing the island is not up to standard for the island.
The vessel, the ‘Queen of Aran’ (pictured), was built in 1976.
Members of Conradh na Gaeilge from across the country will also be present at the protest at Dáil Eireann tomorrow. Island families have threatened to leave the island and islanders also say that they will not allow the ferry dock at the pier on April 1st.
The population of the island has increased in recent years. The first pre-school has been opened and roads have vastly improved on the island.
Many meetings on the ferry controversy have been held between the islanders, the Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh and officials from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
However, a resolution to the issue continues to be sought.
During 2017, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht ran an open tender competition, in accordance with public procurement rules, for the provision of a passenger and light cargo ferry service for Toraigh Island to come into effect from April 1st.
Following evaluation of tenders received, the contract for this service was awarded to the company, Réalt na Maidne Teo, using the vessel, MV Queen of Aran. The contract was allocated for five years.
A statement from the department said that at a meeting which was held on February 2nd, it was indicated that they were open to looking at a range of options for future ferry services to the island, including the possibility of purchasing a new vessel, building a bespoke vessel, subsidising the provision of a separate fast ferry service for the island to supplement both the new service scheduled to commence on 1st April 2018 and the island’s subsidised weekly winter air service.
Funding for any of these proposals would have to be evaluated in accordance with the Public Expenditure Code as set down by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
It is hoped that members of Comharchumann Thoraí will meet with officials and the minister next week to further discussions in relation to the ferry issue.
The manager of Comharchumann Thoraí, Marjorie Uí Chearbhaill said they are not satisfied that the vessel ‘Queen of Aran’ is suitable for the crossing from Machaire Rabhartaigh to Tory and, as yet, a resolution has not been met.
Mrs. Ní Chearbhaill said she really hopes the issue can be resolved for all parties involved.