The announcement of a new five-year contract for the provision of a subsidised ferry service to Clare Island has been welcomed by local Oireachtas members.
Welcoming the announcement, Michael Ring TD said: 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.
"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-term sustainability of Clare Island."
Deputy Alan Dillon said: "This is a real win for Clare Island and the island community. 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."
Senator Paddy Burke added: "I met and supported their case through the Social Welfare and Rural Affairs Joint committee, we made a big case for this and we got a lot of support on the committee also from Eamon O'Cuiv TD."