SIR - Yet again we hear the important ferry link between Magilligan Point and Greencastle is under threat, because ill-informed and possibly blinkered elements in our new Council are attempting to prevent measures to ensure its continuation for the coming season.
Why is the Ferry important to our area and most importantly to our economic welfare? Because many tourists, visitors and local people from both sides of the Foyle flow back and forth every day when the Ferry is in operation, with the intention of spending money
in the process, money, much of which flows into the tills in the Coleraine and Limavady areas. Just this week a Coleraine dentist was telling me that he has many Donegal-based patients who land up in his waiting room, laden with bags full of purchases from Moore’s, Bishop’s, Dunne’s etc. and they tell him how they have enjoyed their visit to Coleraine and their shopping spree. We may be sure that many local practitioners and businesses could tell similar stories. Castlerock’s Information and Tourist Centre counts the numerous queries received about the Ferry Service from locals and visitors alike among its most frequently asked questions, further proof of the lively tourist exchange that the Ferry represents.
There are several, both private and officially sponsored groups, working hard to set up and promote attractive historical, geological and legacy trails for visitors and tourists which take in the whole of Ireland. Examples are the Wild Atlantic Way, The Appalachian Trail, The Armada Trail, the Hervey Heritage Trail and the recent appearance of the GI Trail has attracted a lot of interest in Donegal. The historical links between the two banks of the Foyle are an important part of everyone’s legacy. The Ferry link is an integral and important asset to all these initiatives. The burgeoning tourist industry is vital to the local and NI economies and the Council and everyone concerned should be doing their level best to ensure that the Ferry not only remains up and running but that its secure future is assured. In the past the service has been subsidised for good reasons, these reasons are even more pressing today.
If in doubt, talk to the many local people who have made the journey and enjoyed a great day out in the process – the journey traversing the Foyle is not only an important item of infrastructure, it is also a great travel experience in its own right.
So, our message to our own Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is strive as hard as you can to achieve a solution to this issue and thus ensure that our Ferry service is allowed to continue. The Council owes it to the members of this Borough.
Mike Jones, Chair of the Causeway Coast Communities Consortium
* Don’t forget to keep your letters coming!