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Lifeline for Cairnryan ferries

VITAL ferry routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland have been safeguarded, thanks to a multi-million-pound government scheme to help ensure critical freight can continue to move into and across the Union. The package, worth up to £17m, is being funded by the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive and will be made available to operators so that they can continue running freight services on five sea routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic. UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that further funding, worth tens of millions of pounds, will also be made available to support more routes across the UK, subject to discussions with operators. The measures have been welcomed by Scottish Secretary of State for Scotland, MP Alister Jack. His Dumfries and Galloway Westminster constituency includes the pivotal ferry port of Cairnryan. Mr Jack, said: “We have been clear that the UK Government will do what is necessary to protect our economy during the current Coronavirus pandemic. That includes safeguarding the essential ferry routes between Scotland and Northern Ireland. “I know just how vital the busy services in and out of Cairnryan are. It is essential we keep them going for the economies of both Northern Ireland and the South West of Scotland.” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Essential supplies are continuing to flow well, but operators are facing challenges as fewer people travelling means less capacity to move goods. "Today's action will help ensure we have the freight capacity we need across the UK. This funding will help ferry operators protect our supply chain and maintain the flow of critical goods across the Irish Sea and throughout the Union.” Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, said: “This is excellent news for Northern Ireland and the connectivity of the entire United Kingdom. “Although this coronavirus outbreak has reduced travel demand, this support package from the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive will ensure that essential ferry routes are kept open and vital transport links across the entire UK are safeguarded - guaranteeing the continued supply of critical goods, such as food and medical supplies.” The NI Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, said: “Keeping our critical routes open across these islands for the supply of foods, goods and medicines is absolutely critical in our fight against Covid 19. This support package will protect our ferry operators and ensure that vital supply chains are maintained. “For a number of weeks I have been engaging with the British Government and I am delighted to secure this package. I have been working closely with operators to keep our essential goods moving at this time and wish to extend my personal thanks for their determination to maintain our critical routes during this difficult time.”

<< back Published: 24 Apr 2020, 11:31