The tiny island of Inishturk off the coast of Mayo celebrates the arrival of its first ever passenger ferry.

The new vessel, the £150,000 ‘Caher Star’ is owned by local fisherman and Inishturk native John Vincent Heanue. He is confident the ferry will end years of hardship for islanders who previously used fishing boats and currachs to get back and forth from the island to the mainland.

The other islands had regular ferries which we hadn't up until now.

The ferry will also give a huge boost in confidence for the 19 families on the island, who have pulled together to initiate improvements to life on Insihturk. This has been spearheaded by a local development co-operative managed by David FitzGibbon.

It shows that people here do have confidence in the future, it’s great that everything here is locally owned and locally managed.

Mayo County Manager Des Mahon travelled to Inishturk to officially launch the new ferry service. He believes the ferry it is an important development as it will open up the island to people from the mainland and enable them to visit neighbouring islands.

When gold was rumoured to be found on Inishturk in 1990, the islanders refused to allow gold mining, opting instead to promote their fishing industry, organic farming and green tourism. With its clear water, unspoiled beaches and community spirit, Inishturk has plenty to offer tourists. And with the new ferry service it plans to exploit its newfound potential for a tourist destination, although the numbers allowed stay on the island will be strictly controlled.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 September 1997. The reporter is Jim Fahy.