Islanders living on Toraigh off the coast of Donegal say they are rejecting the latest proposals by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the on-going dispute over the island's ferry service.

A new contract for ferry services to and from the island was awarded to Réalt na Maidne Teoranta, and it is due to come into effect on 1 April using the vessel, MV Queen of Aran.

However islanders say this boat is not suitable for the difficult crossing and a purpose built boat is vital to ensure the future of the island.

The owner of the Queen of Aran has said the boat is undergoing a complete refit and will be up to the crossing when it is done.

But some islanders say they will leave Toraigh if the boat comes into service because it is over 40 years old and they believe it is not suitable for the conditions.

According to Marjorie Uí Cearbhaill, manager of the island co-op, the new proposals put by the department all include the Queen of Aran, which islanders will not accept.

While the department has committed to considering a bespoke vessel for the crossing, this would take a couple of years to build and come into service.

In the meantime, Ms Uí Cearbhall says they want the contract with the current ferry service provider extended until the issue is resolved.

Last month islanders, led by their King, Patsy Dan Rodgers, protested outside the Dáil and called for a modern ferry service suited to the conditions.

They say that if the Queen of Aran comes into service on 1 April, they will not allow it to land at the pier on Toraigh.