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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
New effort to restore ferry link
Ballycastle to Campbeltown ferry operated from 1997-99
Ballycastle to Campbeltown ferry operated from 1997-99
A new effort to reinstate a ferry service between the north Antrim coast and Scotland has been announced.

A summer-only service between Ballycastle and Campbeltown operated from 1997 to 1999, but was stopped due to unsustainable losses.

Now tenders are being invited for a new service through a joint Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Office project.

It is hoped that it could be operating in 2006.

NIO minister Barry Gardiner said he was very pleased that the service was being retendered.

"This is an important step forward in our plans to have the ferry service restored. I hope that a successful operator can be found," Mr Gardiner said.

Support

Nichol Stephen, Scottish Executive minister for transport, said there was strong local support for the service.

"A new ferry service would also create new opportunities in trade and tourism between Kintyre and Antrim. That is why we want to ensure every effort is made to restore this service," he said.

The new contract will attract a maximum 1m annual subsidy over five years.

The decision to re-tender the service follows a joint review of work undertaken by the Kintyre and Moyle business communities.

The Dalriada Business Action Group (DBAG) presented work to demonstrate the case for further tendering for the route and also worked to raise its profile for potential operators.

The service was set up in June 1997 but was terminated in 1999 when the AA Line which operated it confirmed it was unable to continue.

It was running up reported annual losses of 500,000 on the route.

A previous tendering exercise in 2002 did not produce interest from the market.




SEE ALSO:
Summer launch hopes for ferry link
30 Dec 02 |  Scotland
Fresh hopes for ferry service
31 Jan 02 |  Scotland
Ferry service under review
20 Aug 99 |  Northern Ireland


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