The king of Tory Island, Patsy Dan MacRuairí, plays a few lively tunes during a protest which was held by the islanders outside Dáil Éireann yesterday. Picture supplied by Ronán MacAodh Bhuí of RnaG
The king of Tory, Patsy Dan MacRuaidhrí, has thanked all those who came to support the islanders during a protest which was held outside of Dáil Éireann yesterday (Wednesday).
Islanders believe the vessel the ‘Queen of Aran’ which is to begin servicing the island on April 1st, is not up to standard. The ‘Queen of Aran’ was built in 1976.
Members of Conradh na Gaeilge from across the country supported the protesters outside Leinster House yesterday.
Mr. MacRuadhrí said: “We enjoyed great support. People came from Belfast, Dublin, Galway and Sligo to join us. We are hopeful that our message has been heard.”
Island families have threatened to leave Tory should the vessel be allowed to service the island. They have also said they will not allow the ferry dock at the pier on April 1st.
The population of the island has increased in recent years.
Meetings relating to the issue 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 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.
The manager of Comharchumann Thoraí, Marjorie Uí Chearbhaill said she hopes that a resolution can be met .