Hazzard welcomes completion of the new Rathlin Ferry

Date published: 16 January 2017

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has today welcomed the completion of the new £2.8 million Rathlin Ferry.

Spirit of Rathlin in Arklow

The new ferry, named ‘The Spirit of Rathlin’ will operate between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle and will carry both passengers and vehicles.  It will replace the aging MV Canna vessel and operate alongside the MV Rathlin Express, a passenger only ferry. 

A new £1 million harbour is also being built on Rathlin Island to accommodate the new ferry and is due to be completed shortly.

The Minister said: 

“I am delighted to announce completion of the new car and passenger ferry for Rathlin Island.  This is excellent news for the people of Rathlin and particularly for those who use this essential service to go about their daily business. 

"The ‘Spirit of Rathlin’ ferry will ensure that passenger and vehicle services can continue to be provided on this important lifeline route between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle.  This new ferry has been designed to modern standards and includes the latest technology for the service it will operate.”  

The new Spirit of Rathlin ferry includes a modern passenger lounge and an upper passenger deck for use by passengers during good weather. It will be operated under a new ten year contract awarded to Rathlin Island Ferry Limited.

Once the harbour is complete and a Passenger Certificate has been obtained from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the new Spirit of Rathlin ferry will come into service.

Chris Hazzard continued saying:

“The new ferry and future harbour development will be key to ensuring Rathlin’s continued sustainable growth. Investment in both will honour the commitment given in my Department’s recently published Rathlin Island Action Plan to improve the island’s infrastructure and ensure that the community continues to have access to necessary services.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Department for Infrastructure provides five sailings per day between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle over the autumn and winter period. More frequent sailings are provided during the spring and summer seasons. 
  2. The new ferry was built by Arklow Marine Services in Arklow, Co. Wicklow at a cost of £2.8 million.  
  3. More information about the service can be obtained from the Rathlin Ferry Ltd website at: rathlinballycastleferry.com
  4. Media enquiries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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