Following a public meeting yesterday the people of Toraigh say they have lost confidence in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to the new ferry contract for the island, which is off the coast of Donegal.

In a statement issued by the island co-op, the islanders say the replacement ferry, the Queen of Aran, which is due to come into service on 1 April, is totally unacceptable as, in reality, it is a backward step from what the islanders have had for the past 26 years.

They are demanding that the department review their decision in relation to the contract, taking into account the wishes of the community who want the contract extended for the current ferry, the Tór Mór; the contract for the replacement ferry, the Queen of Aran, broken; and that the department publish details of assessment of tenders for the contract finally awarded to Queen of Aran.