Moment of truth
Mary O’ Keeffe - Cork Independent
Thursday, 26 February 2009
A decision on the future of the Cork Swansea ferry service is imminent. Following months of tireless lobbying and weeks of intensive fundraising, it's expected that the group behind plans to reinstate the service will make a bid for a suitable vessel today (Thursday, February 26). Yesterday evening shareholders met in Cork to discuss details of the upcoming auction for the vessel and the amount of finance which has been secured for the project.
Earlier this month, a consortium of business people, led by West Cork Tourism, established a co-operative in the hopes of raising €3 million to help secure the vessel for the service and it is understood that this group has managed to raise a significant amount of the funding needed to re-float the service.
Speaking to the Cork Independent, Captain Michael McCarthy, Port of Cork said that while there has been a great reaction to the canvassing drive, the group will not be suspending their fundraising efforts just yet. "We had a great reaction in Wales this week, the enthusiasm over there is equal to what it is here and this morning we had six or seven people alone ring in about an hour and pledge funds for the service. We're now appealing to other people to come forward. The more funding we receive, then the more we can reduce borrowing and the faster the vessel will belong to us," he said.
Mr McCarthy said that he is confident that the financial deposit needed for the project will be secured but said that because the boat is being purchased at auction there is no way of knowing what other bids might come forward and if the group will definitely secure the new ferry.
Concluding, Mr McCarthy said that he was astounded at just how successful the fundraising drive has been to date, highlighting how many older people and even retired members of the Port of Cork had invested their savings in the project simply because they believed in it. " I feel really privileged to be associated with this and I cannot believe the goodwill and generosity we have received," he said.