I propose to take Questions Nos. 21, 41 and 50 together.
At present, my Department provides an annual subsidy for a passenger ferry service from Rossaveal to the Aran Islands. The 1995 service is being provided by Island Ferries Teo.
In order to establish more precisely the passenger transport requirements between Aran Islands and Rossaveal, my Department has commissioned a short independent study of the Rossaveal service including an evaluation of how best the transport needs of the island can be met. The study is under way and it is expected that it will be completed next month.
Since the passenger ferry service from Rossaveal was introduced in 1991 the level of usage would appear to have been very low. In such circumstances, it may be that the transport needs of the islanders, particularly in winter months, can be more efficiently met by a reorganisation of the existing service and an improved combination of air and ferry services. The possibilities in this regard will be evaluated in the study. I am conscious of the importance of efficient access transport services for the economic and social development of the islands.