Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Ferry Services to Inis Mór: Discussion
Mr. Kevin Finn:
The project was a significant development. We have always taken the position that we were mere agents in delivering it. Our contribution to the development was approximately €190,000, while the remainder of the money was provided through the Department Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
Significant expenditure was incurred. Since it is offshore, the cost almost automatically increases by up to 40% on account of getting materials there and labour costs. We have a passenger shelter that was not there previously. We have long-term and short-term car parking facilities that were not there before. Previously, parking was a major issue. We have separated the cargo traffic to another part of the harbour so there is no congestion in the harbour for the delivery and handling of cargo. All that has been transferred to another side of the harbour, leaving it far safer for foot passengers. We have put in a boardwalk for the large number of foot passengers. It leads up through the harbour and brings them up and into the village. The fishing vessels now have separate berthing facilities. They are no longer mixed with the cargo or passenger vessels. Passenger vessels have their own berthing facilities. The RNLI vessel used to berth offshore. A good deal of time was required following an incident. The crew had to use a smaller vessel to get out to the boat. It is now attached in the harbour. A deep-water slipway is in place now. The people on the island can now bring materials or vehicles to be offloaded far easier by means of the slipway. CCTV cameras are in place. There is far greater shelter and depth in the harbour for vessels. Issues arose previously, especially during the busy season when fishing vessels were tied up. Passenger vessels now use that space. Arguably, there was only one berth and the only way on to the island was by walking over passenger vessels – the island residents are aware of this. It was an unsafe set-up. There are no toilets or showers at the harbour. I have moved away from the section now but that was something we were trying to develop. There is a warehouse, a protected structure, at the harbour which could be utilised for that purpose. The €48 million investment has produced state-of-the-art facilities. There is no doubt about that. We were delighted to be part of it and to deliver the project.