Residents on Inis Mór believe drastic action is needed to protect the future of Ireland's offshore islands.

Over 100 people living on Inis Mór the biggest of the three Aran Islands off the coast of County Galway are making plans to emigrate to the mainland. However it is claimed if the if the Department of Finance had approved a loan for a new fast ferry service, the fishermen and their families would not have to leave.

Inis Mór has six pubs, five shops and three restaurants and up to now the locals have managed to make a fairly decent living for themselves.

But there are growing fears that the massive transportation costs could entirely undermine the island economy and that drastic action is needed.

Seán Ó Tuathail believes transport difficulties could be alleviated by having two boats rather than one,

The boat we have at the moment, she's so slow coming up, the passengers don't get enough time in Aran, to see the island at all, and they pay an awful price on the boat.

He would like to see one boat for limited amount of passengers and cargo operating during the winter and a fast boat between the island and Galway during the summer.

Islander Colie Hernon (Coleman O hIarnain) makes the point that unlike residents of the Chanel Islands who do not pay VAT and high transport costs,

We are taxed to the hilt as well as being disadvantaged because we are offshore.

He has reached the conclusion that organised protests are necessary to keep pressure on the government to do something.

The island co-op has drawn up a development plan for the attention of the government and Údarás na Gaeltachta and will be pressing for action over the coming weeks. It provides a stark warning,

Unless something fairly radical is done our offshore islands could easily become depopulated and little more than summertime holiday colonies.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 January 1983. The reporter is Jim Fahy.