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Thursday, November 4, 1999 Published at 09:27 GMT

UK: Scotland

MP's plea for struggling ferry route

The Cambletown to Ballycastle crossing has been going just two years

The MP for Argyll and Bute will outline to the House of Commons problems dogging a seasonal ferry service between the west coast of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Ray Michie believes the summer crossing between Campbeltown and Ballycastle is on the brink of closure.

Current operators, Sea Containers, is reviewing its involvement in the route which has been going just two years.

It reckons that without some kind of state subsidy the service has no long term future.

Mrs Michie will be asking what steps might be taken to secure the link which she believes is of vital importance to the economy of the Kintyre peninsula.

Sea Containers ran the service this summer, but its future involvement was thrown into question when it revealed it had not decided whether it would continue next year.

As well as outlining the economic importance of the link, Mrs Michie is expected to point out to the Commons that ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne was willing to run the service but was prevented from doing so by former Tory Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth.

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