Friday, 7 November 2008

Rathlin Island - Planters and Gales

The following Northern Ireland Assembly question from Daithi McKay, SF MLA and Slugger Awards 2008 winner, looks remarkably like a plant:
To ask the Minister for Regional Development to detail the work he has carried out in relation to Rathlin Island since taking up office.

(AQO 1052/09)

Why would Conor Murphy, Minister for Regional Development need to put out a 'good news' story on November 10? Might it have anything to do with the gales that have swirled around DRD and DFP since questions were asked about the ferry tendering process and its outcome?

Investigations were to have been completed by the end of September; this was put back to the end of October and I've seen no announcement of a third date.

There has also been relative silence on the proposal for the reintroduction of the Ballycastle-Campbeltown(-Ayrshire) ferry.

Adds November 9 & 10

Compare and contrast, line by line, the passenger certificates for the Canna and the St Sorney. Who was/were responsible for the alterations? Were these alterations officially noted? Has an obsolete pre-2007 style of certificate been used for the St Sorney? Why is its operator not named as Rathlin Island Ferry Limited?

The current [Canna] passenger capacity is limited to 27 plus two cars (or one lorry) in winter ..

If there were no alterations why was passenger capacity increased to 50?

Adds November 11

Conor Murphy replies to supplementary question by Mervyn Storey but still no news of a publication date for the three investigations report:

the complaints have not come from the islanders, and the islanders have not sought reassurance on the issue

So, the unheralded visit by Gerry Adams, Murphy's party leader, on September 11 was on a different matter?

“Combined with the need to enhance the tourist infrastructure and raise the profile of the new high-speed ferry, Sinn Féin remains focused on the needs of RathlinIsland. The visit of Gerry Adams last Thursday signals our continued commitment in that regard,” Councillor [Cara] McShane said.

I suspect the three Governments, Ministers and officials, at present, would rather lower the profile of the St Sorney, the passenger only ferry.

Despite the documents that are currently in the public domain there has been remarkable docility by the islanders, the mainstream media, (most of) Moyle District Council - and the Scottish government.

YouTube video: "If the minister chooses to answer"

The DRD press webpage remains 'tight-lipped' but a spokeswoman told the News Letter 'that she expected the report and the department's response to it to be published before the Assembly's Christmas recess'.

Rathlin in the Euro Zone?

O'Driscoll: "While it was being set up with the First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland ..."

The 'blunder' has nothing to do with the bank; the on-line booking system is provided by and this company will bill customers in the currency specified by its client.

Has the Committee for Finance and Personnel passed the buck?

Regular photo and document updates
here and here.
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