The turbulent saga of 'Misneach' the ferry built to link Arranmore Island to the mainland in County Donegal.

The ferry 'Misneach' was built by a company in Killybegs in 1978, with the total cost £180,000. However the boat remained unused for the following six years as there were no berthing facilities on Arranmore Island (Árainn Mhór) or in Burtonport on the mainland of County Donegal.

The berthing facilities costing £500,000 were finished in 1984, and the ferry service was officially launched. However, as the ferry had been tied up for six years, a further £60,000 was required to make it sea worthy once more.

At this time, the ferry service was operated by the Arranmore Co-operative Society, subsidised by Údarás na Gaeltachta. When the three year contract between the Co-operative and Údarás ended, the lease for the ferry was put out to tender, but the subsidy was no longer available. 

The sucessful applicant Maoin Na Farraige Teo received a one off payment of £12,000 for insurance costs. Business was good for new owners, particularly in high season, but when the boat broke, once again it languished in Burtonport.

Tony Gallagher, Chairman of the Arranmore Co-operative Society is angry the boat is out of action as Údarás would have known the ferry could not operate without a subsidy. 

People are sick, very, very sick about the whole affair.

He believes the ferry needs a top-line of £35,000 to function properly. A boat in service for 48 weeks of the year is bound to have breakdowns and will definitely need maintenance. 

Prior to the ferry service going up for tender, the islanders voted on whether they wanted the service to be operated by the Co-operative or by a private company. Only five houses voted against the Co-operative.

Islanders must now resort to using traditional wooden half deckers for transport, but these are no good in bad weather, laden down with passengers, supplies and diesel.

The new owners say they want 'Misneach' put right by Údarás before they take responsibility for the service. This will cost £15,000. The Co-operative still has a repair bill of £28,000 from their last year of operations. They cannot and will not be paying this bill.

Meanwhile 'Misheach' lies idle and nobody wants to accept responsibility.

AN RTÉ News report broadcast on 7 October 1987. The reporter is Tommie Gorman.