The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Stephen FERNANE

THE ‘acid test’ of the govern­ment’s com­mit­ment to ru­ral

Ire­land rests on re­solv­ing the Valen­tia ferry sit­u­a­tion, Ferry Man­ager

Richard Fo­ran in­sisted this week.

Mr Fo­ran’s re­mark fol­lows con­fir­ma­tion that three se­nior

Govern­ment min­is­ters are to meet later this month to dis­cuss cross-de­part­men­tal ap­proaches to se­cur­ing the long term fu­ture of the ferry.

The emer­gency meet­ing will in­clude

Gaeltacht Min Heather Humphreys, Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Michael Ring, and Trans­port & Tourism Min­is­ter Shane Ross.

“If Min­is­ter Ring is se­ri­ous about ru­ral Ire­land, then this is the acid test for him. If this fails you can be sure of one thing: this govern­ment has no in­ter­est in ru­ral Ire­land. If we leave this ferry go, the whole is­land will fall as a tourist re­sort,” said Mr Fo­ran.

He added that de­tailed plans are in place for a new €2.8m ferry, which is vi­tal to tourism in Valen­tia. How­ever, the project can’t pro­ceed with­out Govern­ment sup­port.

“We have ab­so­lutely noth­ing here ex­cept tourism... We need to hold on to and de­velop tourism any way we can,” Mr Fo­ran said.

Photo by Dom­nick Walsh

The Valen­tia Ferry which car­ried over 100,000 cars to the is­land dur­ing this sum­mer sea­son.

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