Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys announces new €1 million ferry contract to Clare Island in Co. Mayo

   Department agrees a 5 year contract for the provision of a ferry service for Clare Island

·         The new service will provide for 4 daily return sailings per day, all year round

·         New service strengthens mainland connectivity and provides boost for tourism

·         New ferry and cargo services also agreed for Cork

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced a new five year contract for the provision of a subsidised ferry service to Clare Island in Mayo.

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 4 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.

This sailing offers great flexibility by allowing islanders to attend mainland-based activities such as sports training programmes; late work commutes etc, without needing to wait until the next scheduled sailing.

Announcing the contract award, Minister Humphreys said:

“I am delighted to approve this contract, which will be of great benefit to the community of Clare Island. I particularly welcome the level of service of 4 daily return sailings which will be invaluable to island residents who travel to the mainland on a daily basis.

“It will be particularly important to the families of secondary school students that currently board on the mainland.

“I want to commend the community on Clare Island for the constructive role they played during engagements with my officials. I look forward to building on this relationship in the months to come.”

Cork Ferry Service

Also today, Minister Humphreys announced two new contracts for the provision of a ferry and cargo services to the islands in west Cork.

A €1 million contract has been agreed between the Department and Carberry Isle Ferries for the provision of a ferry service between Sherkin Island and the mainland for the next 5 years. The service will provide for 8 daily return sailings during the summer schedule and 7 daily return sailings during the winter.

The Department has also agreed a 3 year contract with Carberry Isle Ferries, valued at €557,000, for the provision of a heavy cargo contract for Sherkin, Long Island, Heir Island and Cape Clear.

This contract will provide the island communities with 55 cargo sailing days per year over the term of the agreement.

Both contracts will come into effect from today, July 1st 2021.

The Minister added:

“Investing in our island communities is a key commitment in ‘Our Rural Future’ – the Government’s ambitious new policy for rural Ireland.

“Ensuring that those important communities have reliable transports links is core to that policy.

“I am delighted that we are in a position to announce these contracts, which will benefit the communities.”