Written Answers. - Cork/Swansea Ferry Service.

Peter Barry

Question:

49 Mr. Barry asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if, in view of the statement of the Chairman of Bord Fáilte that the growth of tourism was dependent on extra boat and plane availability, he will agree immediately, in order to allow adequate time for marketing, to the proposals of the Cork/Swansea Ferry Company for funding over the next three years.

Máirín Quill

Question:

58 Miss Quill asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if he has any plans to put the Cork/Swansea Ferry Service in place on a permanent basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 58 together.

On 2 October last, I announced that the Government had agreed to extend for a period of one year, the repayable loan of £500,000 given this year to Swansea Cork Ferries Limited in order to enable the company to provide a service in 1991. Meanwhile, Bord Fáilte have already had preliminary discussions with the company to agree a marketing strategy for the ferry service for the coming year.

The financial assistance which has been offered by the Government to Swansea Cork Ferries Limited for 1991 is intended to assist the company in their transition to a fully commercial status. In this regard, I have indicated to Swansea Cork Ferries Limited that, in order to guarantee the future of the service, they must now approach tourist and commercial interests in the south-west and secure their support and assistance. I have also made it clear to the company that the future of the Cork/Swansea service rests with them and will depend on full support from the region. There can be no question of further support from the Exchequer for the service.