Wednesday, 25 June 2008

New Rathlin Ferry Operator 4

I wonder how many Moyle councillors had read John Dallat's questions prior to Monday's meeting or had consulted with their party headquarters. Did any of the councillors or council officials participate in the evaluation of the tenders? Have Dallat's questions been answered in detail or have they been put on hold?

Has CMAL leased the MV Canna to the new operator yet or are there still some outstanding matters to be resolved?

What is the name of the replacement ferry for the MV True Light? Why has the latter been removed from the contract? Is the Maritime and Coastguard Agency satisfied that with the arrangements that are to be put in place in a few days time on July 1?

Do any Executive ministers have plans to travel to Ballycastle or to Rathlin prior to July 1 on June 26*? If so, what sort of reception can they expect from Rathlin islanders? The islanders in Cape Clear don't seem to be too happy with the ferry operations put in place there by Minister O Cuiv.

Eamon O Cuiv and the Cape Clear ferry controversy(pdf file) - Rathlin is part of the 33 member Irish Islands Federation.

As this process has involved several ministerial departments presumably the full Executive, under the terms of the Ministerial Code, will have given the project its full blessing.

*Apparently the new Rathlin-Ballycastle interconnector is being officially switched on at 1pm tomorrow, according to my source in McCuaig's Bar. Could it coincide with another event? ;)

My attention has been drawn to the new operator's 'correction' to the flyer distributed by the binmen. It seems that a second correction will be required as the timetable and the number of crossings don't, er, coincide. Who are the cowboys and cowgirls down at the DRD who are 'managing' this smooth transition? Click images if you dare to look :)

Jim Allister MEP: Freeze Rathlin ferry handover


Did I just say second correction? The replacement for the troubled MV True Light has been added to the muddled website; it's the MV Ossian of Staffa from Iona. There has been a direct substitution of name on the timetable and a failure to note that this is a, er, slower boat. It does 14 knots and carries 65 passengers but these may be reduced for the Category D(?) waters of Rathlin Sound. Conor Murphy's anticipated 20 minute crossing will now be a more leisurely 30 minute plus.

The blunder is unlikely to have been made by Mr O'Driscoll as he was spotted on Cape Clear today by one of the 'hostile' natives. Perhaps he was explaining to his guests the trials and tribulations of ferry ownership. Might these guests have been there to sort out a little problem of a lapsed certificate for the recently impounded Naomh Ciaran 2 or could they be linked to tomorrow's special event on Rathlin Island. No doubt all will become clear - eventually.

Has someone from the DRD or DFP been deliberately feeding Minister Murphy duff information? The listed information from the successful tenderer should have been included in the, er, tender documents to be scored - not 'finalised' now. That said such relevant information might have been hard to come by considering the fact that the MV True Light didn't pass MCA muster. Should the MV True Light/O'Driscoll tender even have made it as far as the scoring process? Presumably the report from the NIAO will indicate whether or not the DFP and DRD ministries are fit for purpose. I should imagine that CalMac's lawyers are keeping a close watch on developments.

The documents creating great interest are: Schedule A, Schedule B and Schedule C.

Discussion on Slugger O'Toole - search word 'rathlin'.

Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way"

Just keep on digging - the photos