Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 11:29 UK

Unanimous backing for ferry deal

The Julia
The new ship has 340 cabins and could carry 1,400 passengers

A co-operative hoping to restart the Swansea to Cork ferry said it could sail again by June after shareholders backed a deal to buy a new ship.

Over 300 investors gathered at the meeting in Ireland but creditors of the Finnish firm that used to own the 340 cabin boat must also agree to the sale.

The service, which started in 1987, has not run since the end of 2006.

The consortium has raised £2.5m from small investors. The new company would be called the Fastnet Line.

Conor Buckley, chairman of West Cork Tourism, said it was hoped the service would resume in June in time for the summer tourism season.

"This is what we have been working towards and what we hoped the outcome would be from tonight," he added.

"Shareholders recognised the great deal that has been negotiated and wholeheartedly gave it their backing.

"I am extremely proud of the region and of all those who have pledged their money and support to this great cause which holds the key for the future of the south west [of Ireland]."

Backers say since the ferry stopped, economies on both sides of the Irish Sea have suffered.

The consortium has been talks for the last month over securing the replacement ship - the Julia, which has 340-cabins.

The rest of the funds would come from bank loans, industry sources and grants.

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