13/01/2016

P&O Ferries To Close Larne To Troon Service

P&O Ferries has announced it is to close its Larne to Troon service with immediate effect.

Ulster Unionist MLA for East Antrim Roy Beggs, said he was disappointed that another ferry route from the Port of Larne had been axed.

Mr Beggs said: "With the upgrading of the A8 Larne to Belfast road, the Port of Larne is even more accessible for freight and tourists. I had hoped that this would have enhanced the prospects of the Troon ferry service, which I was aware was at risk. With the advent of low cost flights, there is overcapacity and significant competition on our links to Scotland. Regrettably P&O have taken the decision to cut the loss making Larne to Troon service.
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"With P&O owning both the Port of Larne and the Port of Cairnryan and recently investing some £17m in upgrading the Port facility, I am confident that there is a long term future for the Port of Larne. Larne-Cairnryan provides the shortest and most frequent sea crossing between Northern Ireland and Scotland. The European Highlander and European Causeway vessels were purpose built for the route and will be receiving a further half million pounds of improvements over the next 18 months. A further 50 seats are being added to each ship before Easter of this year to assist in improving passenger comfort during peak periods."

Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has expressed concern following the announcement.

He said: "It will come as a blow to the local area as it has been a fixture of life in the area for many years.

"It will understandably create fears for the employees of the firm and their families and while management have assured me that there will be no redundancies, there is still a great deal of anxiety.

"The company has said all permanent staff have been found alternative roles and I have been in contact with the company to ensure that all staff are kept up to date on the latest developments.

"This decision has wider repercussions for the local area as tourism is one of the main drivers of our local economy. The withdrawal of this service will no doubt limit access to the Causeway Coast and Glens at a time when we are trying to open up the area with the A8."

(CD/LM)

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