Temporary ferry confirmed for Dursey Island a day before cable car repair closure

Relief among island farmers at late intervention to allow them to tend livestock

With just one day to go before the last Dursey Island cable car for at least nine months is due to run, an emergency ferry service has been confirmed.

This will enable farmers to travel from the mainland to tend to their livestock on the Co Cork island .

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys said once-off emergency funding will be made available to Cork County Council to provide a temporary ferry service for Dursey Island.

“I know that there has been considerable concern, particularly among farmers, that they would not have access to the island to tend to their livestock.

“The service will ensure that both island residents and also the mainland based farmers continue to have regular access to Dursey Island while maintenance work is carried out on the cable car.

She said “ a lot of stress and anxiety” could have been avoided if consulation had taken place earlier.

Cork South-West TD Christopher O’Sullivan said that agreement had been reached with Cork County Council to fund the service initially on an emergency basis. “That’s the most important thing right now,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Once that’s in place a procurement process can take place to find a more permanent option for the summer. I can’t confirm it now but it is hoped that we can put in place a proper ferry that will also be able to accommodate tourists and visitors to the island in the summer months which is obviously very important.”

The news was greeted with relief by islanders who were facing the prospect of not being able to access the island if no ferry service was put in place.

Martin Sheehan who farms on Dursey said he would have been forced to stay on the island for the foreseeable future to look after his animals and help the two elderly residents if no transport connection was available.

“This is only what we were looking for all along, it’s only what we wanted and what everybody should be entitled to, if they live on an island or not. We just wanted to be able to get to and from our place of work, that’s all and I really don’t think it’s too much to ask. We are delighted with the news obviously, we just wish it didn’t take so long to get to this point.”

Island farmer Joseph O’Sullivan who travels to Dursey on the cable car most days of the week to look after his animals was relieved he would continue to able to access his livestock.

For him staying on the island would not have been an option as he works full time on the mainland. “They really pushed this out until the last minute. We had six weeks not knowing what was going to happened and then it seemed certain we would be cut off completely.

“It shouldn’t have been this hard to get something put in place. All we wanted at the end of the day was access to our land and work the same as anybody else but at least now it seems to finally be sorted out. I’m just very relieved, hopefully there will be a proper ferry now for the summer,” he concluded.