Tánaiste appeals to Galway County Council to resolve dispute over Inis Mór ferry services

Island Ferries Teoranta ended the service for the winter months last night in a row over passenger levies

Tánaiste appeals to Galway County Council to resolve dispute over Inis Mór ferry services

Frances Fitzgerald. Image: RollingNews.ie

The Tánaiste has appealed to Galway County Council to resolve a dispute over ferry services to Inis Mór today.

The operator pulled the service last night for the winter months in a row with the local authority over levies for passengers.

The council introduced a bylaw in 2011 requiring ferry services to collect a levy of €5 per journey for island residents - in order to pay for harbour development at Inis Mór. 

Ferry service Island Ferries Teoranta lost a legal challenge to the bylaw last December.

It notified passengers that unless a compromise is reached, the last regular winter sailing between Ros-a-Mhíl and Inis Mór would take place yesterday evening.

The company said charging the levy during winter makes the service unsustainable, adding that summer services would resume in March.

Yesterday, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh called on the Defence Minister to call in the navy to provide temporary cover for the service.

Galway County Council is discussing the issue at its annual budget meeting this afternoon.

Frances Fitzgerald told the Dáil this issue needs to be urgently resolved, saying Gaeltacht Affairs Minister & Galway West TD Sean Kyne is "making himself available at all times [...] to ensure the best possible outcome".

"It is urgent," she added. "He will assist the County Council in whatever way his department can in order to deal with this impasse."

She also said she believes the issue will be "uppermost on the mind" of Councillors at today's meeting.