Irish Ferries cross channel services have resumed after unions and management at the company agreed a deal. 

The agreement, brokered by the Labour Relations Commission, was finalised after almost 20 hours of negotiations.

Ferries on the Dublin to Holyhead route were sailing this afternoon. 

The Isle of Inishmore is expected to sail from Pembroke for Rosslare tomorrow morning. It has been moored at Pembroke for the past 21 days.

The ship's electrical officer, Gary Jones, who is one of those who has been on board the vessel for the past three weeks, said that at least he now knew he had a job.

Under the deal, pay and conditions will be underpinned by a binding legal agreement under Irish law, and the company will be allowed to re-flag its vessels abroad.

Negotiators from management and unions are expected to recommend the deal to the board and to staff.

Welcome for deal reached in dispute

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has told the Dáil he is pleased that a resolution has been found in the dispute.

Mr Ahern thanked the LRC and the National Implementation Body and all the parties involved.

The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, said the LRC should be thanked for its assistance in bringing the dispute to a close.

The Labour leader, Pat Rabbitte, also paid tribute to what he called the patient and diligent work of the LRC.

However, Mr Rabbitte warned about claiming this as a great achievement for social partnership or claiming that the issues at the centre of the dispute could be confined to maritime industries.

The Chief Executive of the LRC, Kieran Mulvey, thanked both sides for their tremendous efforts in difficult circumstances.

Speaking earlier on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, the SIPTU President, Jack O'Connor, said his union would be willing to go into partnership talks if they addressed job displacement, exploitation and protection of employment standards, but it would not be prepared to participate in what he called a charade.