Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Moyle District Council, Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd and Berthing Fees

Is Moyle District Council (MDC) onto a nice little earner at the moment? Do they not get enough money from ratepayers without acquiring more via the taxpayer subsidy to Rathlin Island Ferry Limited (RIFL)?

I'm told that the Canna, St Sorney and Rathlin Express are berthed in Rathlin harbour and the Coll is berthed at the old quay in Ballycastle harbour.

Talking of Rathlin, the Committee for Regional Development (CRD) is scheduled to travel to Rathlin tomorrow (Wednesday, September 23) to meet the Rathlin Development and Community Association (RDCA).

Will the CRD be explaining to the RDCA and to the general public why it still hasn't reviewed the Investigation into the Procurement of the Rathlin Ferry Service, December 2008, report (almost 700 reads)? Will it be asking the RDCA and MDC why there appear to be no councillors on RDCA, an organisation that handles significant amounts of public funds?

Will CRD be asking RIFL why the company operated the Canna at the beginning of September, 2008, with an invalid passenger certificate and, presumably, void insurance? Will the CRD be asking the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) if it passed this information to the relevant section of the Department for Regional Development? Peter Cardy, MCA Chief Executive, has admitted that the certificate was invalid, a point that was drawn to the attention of the investigators above but one which they failed to establish in their £55,000 report.

Will CRD also be asking why only £700,000 of the £1.2 million budgeted for a short term passenger only ferry (but not mentioned to all of the tenderers - or perhaps any of the tenderers - in the tendering process) has been returned by DRD? Will it seek out the Mystic Meg who apparently anticipated that £1.2 million would be the approximate cost of the new catamaran? Do any other Government departments avail of the services of Mystic Meg?

And will CRD be asking why the Tender Evaluation Panel (TEP) contained folks who were intimately involved with tenderers in the procurement process? Surely, TEP should have been independent.