Ferry company agrees to continue Inis Mór serviceWednesday 27 January 2016 23.04
Concerns over the provision of ferry services to Inis Mór have eased after the company providing a service agreed to continue operations for the coming months.
Aran Island Ferries had threatened to withdraw services to and from the island at the weekend.
The company told islanders it was not economically viable to operate a daily service, given increased costs it faced as a result of a levy imposed by Galway County Council.
In a statement, Minister of State for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh said a meeting between his officials and the ferry company had been helpful in clarifying the situation.
Mr McHugh said all sides would work to ensure the service remained in place.
Aran Islands Ferries has refused to comment on the detail of any agreement with the Department.
Mr McHugh had investigated a number of alternative options to ensure islanders could travel to and from Inis Mór, in the event that services were stopped on Sunday.
In December, Aran Island Ferries told residents it would cease operations between Ros a Mhíl and Cill Rónáin, after it lost a Supreme Court Appeal against passenger levies imposed by Galway County Council in 2012.
The council imposed an 80c charge on tourists landing on the island, along with an annual charge of €5 for residents.
The local authority voted to introduce the charge in January 2012, following an extensive redevelopment of the harbour, costing almost €50 million.
Funding announced for Inis Oírr pier works
Funding has been announced for a 90-metre extension to Inis Oírr pier, as well as some rock dredging works.
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly confirmed an allocation of €8m for the project under the Capital Plan 2016-2021.
The department said the works will also alleviate congestion arising from the transportation of cargo and passengers to and from the Island.
"This much needed redevelopment of the pier and harbour on Inis Oírr is of major importance to the island community and will improve safety and local transport access, as well as business and tourism links with the mainland,” Mr Kelly said.