Thursday, 24 July 2008

Moyle Councillors Kept Out In The Cold?

This photo* is taken from the current edition of the Moyle Chronicle. I understand it was supplied to the newspaper by a representative of Invest Northern Ireland.

Bushmills** is in Moyle District Council area and the chair of the council was photographed with Arlene Foster, Invest NI representatives and someone from the Bushmills Inn so you would expect that this photograph would have been the one issued for publication. Sadly, no.

It seems that Moyle councillors were not present when Rathlin Island Ferry Limited delivered its first passengers into Ballycastle from Rathlin Island on July 1. They had not been invited. Presumably this was an administrative oversight.

I hear that there's to be a meeting tomorrow at the ferry terminal to discuss safety issues eg absence of guard rails on the pontoons. HSENI, MCA, DRD, RIFL and Moyle council staff are expected to be represented but it seems the matter had not been brought to the attention of councillors, the representatives of the public interest. [Update - matter rectified and the Council chair participated in the inspection of facilities in Ballycastle and Rathlin Island. It seems curious that these safety issues were apparently not fully addressed during the tendering process and dealt with prior to the commencement of the new service on July 1, alongside the related public liability insurance.]

The St Sorney, the third passenger only ferry to be named for the route, has finally arrived at Rathlin Island. The True Light failed its MCA tests, the Ossian of Staffa took its place and, presumably, will remain until the St Sorney has received MCA clearance.

* The photo is bound to be one of the subjects of debate at the next meeting of Moyle District Council on Monday, July 28. It also appears that Moyle councillors and officials were treated less favourably by InvestNI than their Coleraine counterparts. I suspect some InvestNI and Chronicle ears are already glowing :)

** Bushmills is described as the gateway to the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site yet its conservation status seems to have been abandoned by officials in the local planning service.