I know I have raised this matter with regard to Magilligan on previous occasions but the situation has changed slightly. The Secretary of State, Sean Woodward, confirmed to me that a decision has been made to review the status of this international port. Magilligan is not an international port. It is merely a slipway presented by Donegal County Council and Limavady Borough Council to facilitate a roll-on roll-off ferry. We tried to put a marina there but it failed. Rowing boats fail because of the current.
Part of the 1949 Act which made us a republic states we would not be treated by the UK as a foreign power for matters of law and citizens are not to be considered as foreign for legislative purposes, rather they are to be treated as Commonwealth people. According to the Good Friday Agreement, it is correct to refer to the 32 counties and the 26 counties as the Irish nation. Therefore, making reference to the Good Friday Agreement and the 1949 Act, I ask the Minister of State to bring it to the attention of the UK Government that we are solidly behind having the international status given to Magilligan removed and that it be considered a domestic service. It is important to do so because the security attached to an international port is stymying the development of this ferry service.
I assure people that the ferry is not a risk. It is out for tender and the more tenders received the better. However, the cost of security is making it quite difficult. Can the Government endorse the 1949 Act and the Good Friday Agreement and state a roll-on roll-off ferry which goes on to a slipway in Magilligan is only that? The letter I received from the Secretary of State, Sean Woodward, stated it was an international port for international shipping and ships. There is no way anyone could interpret it as this. Even the UK authorities are recognising this now.