Aran ferry company loses challenge to passenger island levy
Island Ferries, which operates between Rossaveal and Inis Mór (above), one of the Aran Islands, carried 145,000 people last year
A ferry company has lost its legal challenge to bylaws permitting a charge of 80 cents to be levied for every passenger disembarking from all ferries entering Kilronan harbour on the Aran island of Inis Mór.
Island Ferries Teoranta, a long-established business of the O’Brien family of Rossaveal, Co Galway, challenged a bylaw made by Galway County Council permitting the 80 cents charge, effective from January last year.
Island Ferries operates ferries between the mainland and Inis Mór. Since 2009, it is the only company operating ferries between Rossaveal and Inis Mór, carrying 145,000 people last year.
In a lengthy reserved judgment yesterday, Mr Justice John Cooke dismissed the company’s challenge.
The company had alleged the charge was excessive and unfair and had effectively imposed on ferry operators, rather than cargo and fishing vessels, the entire costs of operating and maintaining Kilronan harbour.
The judge noted a major redevelopment of the harbour in 2011 cost €48.5 million and led to increased operating costs. The redevelopment had been urged by a representative group of all the main interests on Inis Mór.
Mr Justice Cooke found the bylaw-making function was a reserved function of the council which was entitled to judge the appropriateness of such a measure.