Written Answers. - Rossaveal and Aran Islands Ferry Service.

Peadar Clohessy

Question:

21 Mr. Clohessy asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications if he has received the results of an independent review of the passenger requirements on the ferry services between Rossaveal and the Aran Islands; and if he will indicate his policy in regard to the continuation of this service. [8932/95]

Michael McDowell

Question:

41 Mr. M. McDowell asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications if he has received the results of an independent review of the passenger requirements on the ferry services between Rossaveal and the Aran Islands; and if he will indicate his policy in regard to the continuation of this service. [8933/95]

Robert Molloy

Question:

50 Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications if he has received the results of an independent review of the passenger requirements on the ferry services between Rossaveal and the Aran Islands; and if he will indicate his policy in regard to the continuation of this service. [8931/95]

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.

The question of how best to meet the access transport and other requirements of offshore islands, including Gaeltacht ones, is also being considered at present by the Inter Departmental Committee on Island Development under the Chairmanship of my colleague, Deputy Donal Carey, the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, with special responsibility for co-ordinating the Government's commitment to western development and rural renewal and for the development and improvement of living conditions on our off shore islands. The study of the Rossaveal service will also be utilised by the inter-departmental committee in the context of its wider work on island development.