Applications for Carlingford ferry to be submitted
The promoter of a proposed Carlingford Lough ferry service intends to submit planning applications during the first three months of 2013.
Privately backed Carlingford Ferries is proposing to provide a service across the lough connecting Greenore, Co Louth, with Greencastle, Co Down.
The company estimates that the ferry service will require an investment of €8 million.
Paul O’Sullivan of Carlingford Ferries said yesterday the company was in the final stages of completing an environmental impact survey and hoped to submit planning applications to the relevant authorities on either side of the Border “in the first quarter of 2013”.
If it got the go-ahead, the company said the service could be up and running within a year.
Carlingford has already completed a number of other geographic surveys to support its application and has consulted communities in both counties.
Mr O’Sullivan added that the recent approval of plans for a bridge connecting Down and Louth over the Newry river at Narrow Water would boost the ferry proposal. An Bord Pleanála and Northern Ireland’s Minister of the Environment, Alex Atwood, recently approved the €18 million proposal, which the EU is likely to fund.
“Tourists in particular would have the option to complete a circular 35-mile round trip of the area and local people for the first time could enjoy the novelty of crossing the Border at two different points on the water by car,” Mr O’Sullivan argued.
An economic impact appraisal by Dr Pat McCloughan of PMCA Consulting, which Carlingford Ferries commissioned, estimates that the company’s plans could bring an extra €10 million in spending to the region as well as creating 24 direct jobs and 300 indirectly.
Mr O’Sullivan is a chartered accountant from Kilrush, Co Clare and his fellow promoter, Bill Tosh from Carlingford, Co Louth, is a businessman and former chairman of employers’ lobby group, Ibec. Three families from Limerick and Clare, with experience in the car ferry business, are providing the cash for the Carlingford project.
Earlier this year, the company said it had spent €500,000 to date on the project, on which it has been working for the last five years.