31 March 2022
By Tom Collins
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, has confirmed that once-off emergency funding will be made available to Cork County Council to provide a temporary ferry service for Dursey Island.
The service ensures that Dursey Island residents and the local farming community will continue to have reliable mainland connectivity while Cork County Council repairs the existing cable car infrastructure.
Following an intervention by the Minister, agreement has been reached that the department will assist Cork County Council with funding to provide a daily ferry service on a temporary basis. As part of the agreement, Cork County Council has confirmed that it will manage all aspects of the procurement process.
Making the announcement, Minister Humphreys said:
“I know that considerable concerns have been expressed by local residents and farmers following the announcement by Cork County Council that the cable car was to close for maintenance. I have discussed the matter in detail with my government colleagues, Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan and Senator Tim Lombard, and I am pleased to announce that my department will provide this emergency funding on a once-off basis to support a temporary ferry service for Dursey Island. I know that there has been considerable concern, particularly among farmers, that they would not have access to the island to tend to their livestock. The service will ensure that both island residents and also the mainland based farmers continue to have regular access to Dursey Island while maintenance work is carried out on the cable car.”
Minister Humphreys continued:
“I think a lot of stress and anxiety for the Dursey Island farmers and residents could have been avoided if consultation had of taken place at an earlier stage but nevertheless the most important thing is that a service will be provided and I am pleased to confirm my department will assist Cork County Council with the funding required to put this service in place.”
The Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr. Gillian Coughlan on Dursey Cable Car released a statement today saying
“Following my correspondence and a direct request for consultation, I warmly welcome the commitment given by the Department of Rural & Community Development to provide funding for the introduction of a temporary replacement service to Dursey Island.
Cork County Council will undertake a procurement process to procure this temporary ferry service. It is the intention of the Cork County Council and the Department to put this service in place as soon as possible.
While we are all aware of the necessity to pause the cable car service, I have been acutely aware of the requirement to provide a temporary ferry service to facilitate the Dursey Island farmers and residents and am very pleased that Minister Humphreys has agreed to support this service.
I wrote directly to Minister Humphrey’s in February and again in March. I adjourned standing orders to raise the matter again at Monday’s Full Meeting of Cork County Council following response from Minister Humphreys which was received on March 21st. As a Council, and in particular in support of the Elected Members of West Cork Municipal District, we were in unanimous agreement of how we must provide a solution to this situation. “