A group of representatives from Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, have addressed an Oireachtas committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht today as a dispute over a ferry service to the island continues.

Cathy Ní Ghoill, from the co-op on Inis Mór, said islanders have been battling for four years to keep basic services like air and ferry connections, and a change of policy is needed.

Local secondary school principal Micheál Ó Cualáin said a reliable air and ferry service was essential to bring teachers to and from the mainland.

Simon Murray, speaking on behalf of Comhar na nOileán - representing island communities - said the ferry dispute was the latest example of death by a thousand cuts, and said a consistent island budget was needed.

The ferry service ceased in late November, and was due to remain out of action until March over issues including passenger levies.

However, it was temporarily reinstated around a week later, following talks between Galway County Council, the Department of the Gaeltacht and the operator, Island Ferries Teoranta.

The ferry will run until 4 January, when the service will be suspended again until mid-March.

Interim Galway County Council CEO Kevin Kelly told the committee meeting that the council remains committed to the discussions with Island Ferries Teoranta, in a bid to resolve the ongoing impasse.