Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 01 March, 2007
Written Answers. - Ferry Services.
Mr. J. O’Keeffe Mr. J. O’Keeffe
Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason, in the latest arrangement for the operation of the Cape Clear ferry, his Department failed to ensure that the provision requiring compliance with relevant regulations, including in particular the European Transfers of Undertakings Regulations, was included as in all previous contract arrangements relating to the ferry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8184/07]
Éamon Ó Cuív Éamon Ó Cuív
Éamon Ó Cuív: I should advise the Deputy in the first instance of my understanding that sea-going vessels are exempt from the provisions of EU Directive 2001/23/EC of 12 March 2001 and Statutory Instrument 131 of 2003, European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003.
In the matter of the awarding of contracts by my Department for subsidised island ferry services in general, the principles of openness, transparency and fairness are rigorously adhered to. In the particular case referred to by the Deputy, the Oileán Cléire cargo and passenger service, a public tendering process was initiated by my officials in August 2006, the outcome of which has been the decision to award a contract to a company based on the island, Tithe Saoire Chléire Teo, to provide the subsidised ferry service for the five year period from March 2007 to February 2012. It is a condition of the contract that the successful tenderer will purchase the existing State-owned vessel, Naomh Ciarán II, at the independently valued price of €135,000.
While I have no function in the matter, I understand that three of the four crew members employed under the former contract were offered employment with the new company. I should point out also that the sum of €190,691 was paid in redundancy settlements to crew members in 2001 when the decision was taken by the then Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands to discontinue direct State management of the service and to lease the vessel instead to a newly formed, privately owned company, Naomh Ciarán II Oileán Cléire Teo. The contract governing that arrangement expired on 28 February 2007.
Dáil Éireann 632 Written Answers. Ferry Services.