An independent mediator has been appointed in the dispute between islanders on Toraigh and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht over a new ferry service for the Donegal island.

Islanders are refusing to accept the vessel, the Queen of Aran, which has been contracted to take over the service between Toraigh and the mainland on 1 April.

They say it is not suitable for the difficult crossing and if it comes into service on 1 April they will not allow it to land on Toraigh.

The Chairman of Foras na Gaeilge, the former Director General of TG4, Pól Ó Gallchóir has taken on the role of mediator and it is understood he will begin meeting the owner of the Queen of Aran and other interested parties today and travel to Toraigh tomorrow.

He is expected to produce a report on the row by tomorrow week, 23 March.