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Hopes high that Foyle Ferry will get reprieve

By Donna Deeney

Published 09/12/2015

Magilligan to Greencastle ferry has been operating for 13 years
Magilligan to Greencastle ferry has been operating for 13 years

The Foyle Ferry service that stopped operating in October may have been thrown the lifeline it needs to be saved.

The service — which has taken almost three million passengers between Magilligan and Greencastle in its 13 years in operation — was feared lost after the owner, Jim McClenaghan, said he would not be renewing his contract in the Spring. He has since sold the ferry to Frazer Ferries in Carlingford.

Officials from Donegal and the Glens and Causeway Coast councils met last week to explore avenues that will allow the service to continue. Their findings are expected to be brought before council for discussion.

SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan said he is optimistic a solution will be found, given the will of all parties to save the service.

Mr Mullan, who proposed the meeting between council officials, said: “I feel passionately that this service must be saved and reinstated because it has played a pivotal role in increasing the economic tourism trade for more than a decade.

“The ferry acts like a natural bridge between Greencastle in Donegal and the north coast, and has more than proved its worth over the past 13 years, but the problem is the overheads are too much for a private company.

“The ferry needs subvention by the two governments so that we don’t find ourselves in this position again. The biggest difficulty it faced was the fact that it operated between two jurisdictions, which excluded it from funding from the Department for Regional Development, but I think Stormont needs to change the rules around that.

“I am feeling positive that a way to save the Foyle Ferry can be found.”

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