BY HELEN RIDDELL
BERE Island is to get a subsidised heavy cargo service in what’s being described as a vital service for the community.
A sum of €176,000 has been approved for Bere Island Projects Group CLG in what is a two-year contract announced by Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht and Jack Chambers TD, government chief whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport.
The contract started in August and will run through to August 2020 and the service will be operated by Bere Island-based company Blue Ocean Marine Ltd.
John Walsh, project officer with Bere Island Projects Group said the subsidised cargo service was vital to support islanders and ensure the viability of the islands.
‘The cargo service is a vital service to the community of Bere Island and Bere Island Projects Group are delighted that it has been renewed for the next two years,’ he said.
The subsidy will make it significantly cheaper for islanders to bring in heavy cargo loads (over 17 tonnes) to the island.
Colum Harrington, owner of Blue Ocean Marine said the cargo being transported could be anything from ‘cement lorries and building materials for house building to home heating oil supplies, farming machinery during silage season, and Council machinery for road repairs.’
Minister Martin said: ‘ThegGovernment recognises the importance of services such as these to support the communities on the offshore islands.
‘I recognise the importance of such cargo services, and it’s a positive thing that a contract has been agreed and in place to support the people on Bere Island.’ The Government provides transport subsidies for 19 inhabited offshore islands under various agreements, which covers passenger ferries, cargo services and air transport services.