€1 million ferry contract to Clare Island welcomed

THE official confirmation of a new five-year contract for the provision of a subsidised ferry service to Clare Island in Mayo has been welcomed by Deputy Michael Ring.

The €1 million contract has been agreed between the Department of Rural and Community Development and O’Malley Ferries (Clare Island) Ltd. and will provide for four daily return sailings from Clare Island to Roonagh pier on the mainland.

In addition to the core service, the operator will also provide an additional extra weekly ‘fast ferry’ sailing that will be scheduled at the island community’s discretion.

The contract comes into effect today (July 1) and the contract cost is estimated to be €1,020,000 over the next five years.

Said Deputy Ring: “I am delighted the number of sailing on the subsidised ferry service to Clare Island has been increased to four daily return sailings as the minimum base service as this is vital for the long the long term sustainability of Clare Island.”

Deputy Alan Dillon said this was a 'real win' for Clare Island and the island community.

He stated: “It massively increases their tourism potential but more importantly, it will make a huge difference to people living on the island. It means students will be able to return to the island versus lodging on the mainland throughout the week. It means a simple dental appointment doesn’t require leaving the island on the morning ferry and not being able to return until evening.

“We have a new cycling route promoting using Clare Island as a land bridge between Roonagh and Achill and turning Clew Bay into a circular route. This new ferry service will make the route increasingly feasible and attractive.”