19/12/2007

Rathlin Ferry's Future Fears

Rathlin Island residents are seeking reassurances from the Department of Regional Development (DRD) on the future of its ferry connection with the mainland.

The residents of Ulster's only inhabited island are nervous and fear a vital lifeline is in jeopardy - after the Government failed to find a new ferry operator.

Concerns were raised after the DRD abandoned the tendering process to find a company for Ballycastle to Rathlin route last month.

In a statement from the Department officials they said none of the applications for the five-year contract were "economically advantageous".

Despite receiving "a number" of tenders since competition opened in April the Department abandoned competition on November 29.

Chairman of Moyle District Council Madeline Black said DRD must act immediately to allay people's fears.

She said: "The council is disappointed that the current tendering process has failed to produce a result.

"We would want to be assured by the department that there will be a new contract in place for April 2008."

The contract, which is up for renewal in April 2008, has been held by Rathlin Ferries, a subsidiary of the Scottish Executive-owned David MacBrayne. During 2007-08 Calmac received a DRD subsidy of £450,000.

In a statement the DRD said it was their intention to re-advertise the tender.

It read: "The DRD has decided to abandon the current competition to provide the Rathlin Island to Ballycastle ferry service which closed on October 11, and to re-tender on a revised basis.

"The Department had received a number of bids from interested operators but following tender evaluation, the selection panel advised that none of the bids offered a most economically advantageous solution in terms of affordability and compliance with the service requirement.

"In the light of this, the Department is reconsidering its approach and the tender will be re-advertised in the near future, with a view to an award of contract by April 2008."

(BMcC)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 September 2021
Shimna River Flood Alleviation Scheme Construction Contract Awarded
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced that the construction contract for the £5.1 million Shimna River Flood Alleviation Scheme has been awarded to Dawson WAM Ltd. The project involves the construction of approximately 1430 metres of flood walls and embankments. It is anticipated that works will commence on site in the coming weeks.
10 September 2021
Schools No Longer Expected To Carry Out Contract Tracing
Northern Ireland's schools will no longer be expected to carry out contract tracing, following an agreement between the departments of Education and Health. Contact tracing will now be taken forward by the Public Health Agency's (PHA) Contact Tracing Service, which brings Northern Ireland into line with that of England, Scotland and Wales.
27 February 2020
Strong Gales To Sweep NI
Northern Ireland is bracing itself for another stormy weekend as strong gales are expected to batter the region. The worst of the disruption is expected throughout Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, when a yellow weather warning for wind will be in place.
11 March 2020
New Belfast-Liverpool Ferry Launches
In a week full of bad news for NI-UK connectivity, Stena Line has set out to redefine ferry travel on the Irish Sea with a new state-of-the-art ship. The biggest ferry to ever sail the Belfast to Liverpool route, the Stena Edda embarked on its maiden voyage from Merseyside to Belfast on Monday evening.
12 August 2021
Emergency Department Waiting Times Continue To Be Unacceptable
Emergency department waiting times "continue to be unacceptable", Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew has said. Responding to the latest Health Department figures, the Sinn Féin health spokesperson said: "The statistics from April to June this year show that urgent and emergency care services are under pressure.