Thursday, 13 May 2010

Irish Islands Federation AGM on Rathlin Island

Click image to enlarge or here

This will be the first time the Irish Islands Federation (IIF) has had its AGM in Northern Ireland. Rathlin Island is the only Northern Ireland member of the 33 member federation. IIF is part of the European Small Islands Federation (ESIN) alongside the Scottish Islands Federation (SIF).

the overall theme of the seminar is the advancement of a cooperative ethos between governments and national and local agencies.

IIF has received funding from the DCRGA, the predecessor of Ireland's Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs (DCEGA) [site update?] but there are, as far as I know, no links to the Northern Ireland Executive. The Executive is to be represented by Gerry Kelly, an OFMDFM junior minister, rather than Conor Murphy, the DRD minister who has been drafting a Rathlin Island policy.

SIF contains representatives from several Scottish councils but when I mentioned this meeting to a member of Moyle District Council I was told that it had not been mentioned at council meetings. Moyle councillors usually sit on community associations that are in receipt of public funds but this does not appear to be the case with the Rathlin Community and Development Association (RDCA).

there will also be talks on the Small Ferries Project

The Small Ferries Project is a joint venture by agencies in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Will lessons have been learned from a series of problems that have arisen in recent procurement processes and do those involved in this venture have sufficient maritime experience [here and here]?

The Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs will be represented by Seamus Mac Giolla Choil and Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Will their associates in DRD and CMAL be in attendance? Will the directors of Rathlin Island Ferry Limited be present? I'm told that Cape Clear Island will be represented. This should lead to an interesting exchange of views between both sets of islanders followed by an exchange with civil servants. Cape Clear formerly had the use of the Naomh Ciaran II but the DCRGA sold it off to a private operator, an operator who subsequently withdrew from the route. Might Rathlin Island find itself in similar dire straits?

Added May 14 - noon

Online booking is available via but not via the RIFL website? Why not?

Added May 18 and 19

RIFL ibooking ticketing link still missing yet Black Hart and Cork Sea Safari appear to be working normally. Why has the link been removed? Is an online booking system not part of the contract? Was it not scored in the procurement process?