Rathlin Island ferry service closure greatly disappointing and appropriate contingency measures must be put in place, says O’Lynn

Alliance North Antrim MLA Patricia O’Lynn has expressed regret and disappointment over the sudden ceasing of operations by Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd (RIFL), and has argued the necessity of suitable contingency arrangements.

North Antirm Patricia O'Lynn

The company has operated the ferry service between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle, and did so on behalf of the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), which is said to be looking into potential contingency arrangements for the route which could be implemented ‘urgently’.

The decision to cease trading followed several weeks of discussions between the DfI and RIFL about their tender contract and the financial situation of the ferry operator, as well as industrial action undertaken by ferry workers over pay and conditions.

It is deeply disappointing that RIFL have been unable to come to some agreement with the Department, given the importance of the ferry route within the local community”, said Dr O’Lynn.

The abrupt termination of services will cause significant disruption amongst the residents of Rathlin Island, for whom the ferry is a lifeline, and all that can be done must be done to support them through what is likely to be a very difficult time.

I have been in touch with the DfI to seek assurances on a contingency plan that protects both the service and workers, and I am confident that the Department will do their best for the people of Rathlin.”