Residents on an island off the Galway coast could be left ‘high and dry’ as the contract for the ferry service will expire at the end of this year.
It is claimed that the Gaeltacht Minister has not confirmed if this contract will be renewed so that a seven day service can be provided.
The ferry service to Inishbofin is the ‘lifeblood’ of the island which attracts thousands of tourists during the summer months.
But according to Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, the contract for the ferry to the island was for a three year term only.
He said that similar contracts were always for a seven year period and he has now questioned the Government’s commitment to retaining this service.
The Government’s commitment to the ferry service expires at the end of this year and there is still no indication that it will be renewed.
It has lead to fears that there will be an exodus from the island if there is no full time ferry service available throughout the year.
“The short duration of this contract raises questions about the Government’s commitment to retaining a seven day service to Inishbofin.
“This service is of vital importance to the island, its people, visitors, service providers and the local economy. It must be retained in full,” Deputy Ó Cuív added.
Gaeltacht Minister Jimmy Deenihan said that there was a contract in place to provide a passenger ferry service between the mainland and Inishbofin.
He went on to say that his department subsidised 14 return sailings per week – two per day – all year round.
However, he added: “At the time that this contract was advertised, my department was of the opinion that a three year contract was the most appropriate, given the economic downturn.”
Deputy Ó Cuív is now calling on Minister Deenihan to clarify if he intends to continue the seven day service to Inishbofin.
“The Minister already refused to complete the airstrip on the island and on the mainland, and has decided to sell this important infrastructure.
“With the Inishbofin ferry service now in doubt, it would appear that the Government is discriminating against the Galway islands,” Deputy Ó Cuív concluded.
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at email@example.com
Gardaí seek help in locating missing man
Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.
He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.
Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.
Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.
‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.
Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.
There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.
Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.
Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.
“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.
“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.
Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.
“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”
(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.