New Ferry Funding For Strangford/Portaferry Service Announced
A long-awaited announcement has been welcomed by local politicians that the Strangford ferry service is to get a new ferry built and it could be in place by Spring 2016.
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has secured the funding needed to begin the project for the new ferries to operate on the Strangford/Portaferry route.
The Minister welcomed confirmation of funding as part of the Executive’s 2014-15 Capital Reallocation Exercise announcement in the Assembly today.
The Department for Regional Development is now developing an initial timetable for the project and the new ferries could be in operation by Spring 2016.
The Department operates a vehicle ferry service in Strangford Lough with two vehicle ferries and a back-up passenger ferry. A new ferry is also planned for Rathlin Island.
Minister Danny Kennedy said: “The new ferries will ultimately replace two of the existing ferries. on the Strangford/Portaferry route, the MV Strangford is 44 years old.On the Ballycastle/Rathlin route the MV Canna is 37 years old. Both ferries will be approaching the end of their economic operational life over the next few years.”
Initial estimates for the total capital investment cost is £5.5million for the Portaferry/Strangford route.
The Minister added: “With the cost of maintenance increasing for both vessels it is more cost effective to replace them with modern and more efficient vessels.”
The Department has engaged with a range of stakeholders, including the Committee for Regional Development and local councils in both areas in September to inform them about the project.
Shannon Welcomes Ferry Investment
Boyle Says New ferry Is Good News For Ards Penisnula
even been times whenever the Strangford Ferry Service has been availed of by emergency services from the Down district travelling to the Ards Peninsula during busy periods to assist their colleagues under pressure already out serving the needs of the public.
Sinn Féin Call For Social Clauses In Procurement For Ferry
South Down Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has welcomed news that £2million of funding has been secured for the procurement of the new Portaferry to Strangford ferry vessel.
The funding has been made available through the Executive’s Monitoring Round Exercise and could see the new ferry in operation by Spring 2016. Mr Hazzard said: “The current vessel, MV Strangford is 44years old, so replacement is essential in order to sustain the level of service delivery on offer.
“Initial estimates for the total capital investment cost signal a total of £5.5million will be needed to successfully complete the project but I welcome that Minister Kennedy has this week confirmed the Strangford Ferry project as a priority scheme for his Department.
“Given the increasing cost of maintenance for the two vessels it’s more cost effective to replace them with modern and efficient vessels which can see these communities and the service into the future.
“Whilst I welcome this news of investment I do so with a degree of caution. I will be writing to the Minister this week to appeal that his Department ensure that the maximum social and economic benefits of this investment can be most felt in the Portaferry and Strangford/Lecale areas.
“I want t0 see this money being invested back in our community through social investment. Minister Kennedy has an opportunity to ensure that in the procurement of this new vessel, local companies are given precedence over international ones.
“I will be requesting that in deciding upon a contractor that the Minister considers the economic and societal benefits that can come from promoting and using indigenous business. I will also be requesting that the Minister engage with the sector and the local community on the key design features for the vessel, particularly with respect to environmental and noise impacts to make sure that any new vessel is both silent and clean.”