Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: ‘Give Tory Islanders what they were promised’


“Tory islanders waiting more than two years for promised ferry boat”


Thomas Pringle – 30 Jan 2020


The Tory Island community has been shafted by the government in another example of government neglect of rural communities, Thomas Pringle, independent Donegal candidate, said.

“Two and a half years ago, Minister Joe McHugh promised Tory Island a new ferry boat and vital works at Magheraroarty pier. They’re still waiting,” Thomas said.

When Thomas was canvassing on Tory last week he spoke with Marjorie Uí Chearbhaill, bainisteoir of the Comharchumann Oileán Thoraí, and other islanders about the issue.

“All the people of Tory want is what they were promised more than two years ago,” Thomas said. “We must support our island communities.”

The islanders had been told the process would start to bring them a new, purpose-built ferry boat that was faster than the existing service. They were also told there would be 2.5 million euro in works at Magheraroarty Pier, where current conditions mean that boats cannot enter or exit the pier during low tide, hindering travel to and from Tory.

As part of mediation between islanders and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, it was agreed in March 2018 that Tory would be given a fast ferry service to run alongside the existing service until a new ferry boat could be delivered. That fast service has been halted, pending the outcome of a court case. Tory is also served by a weekly helicopter service from October through April, but this does not address the island’s daily transport needs.

Also after the mediation, a committee was set up that included representatives of Donegal County Council, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Roinn na Gaeltachta, and Comharchumann Oileán Thoraí. The committee has met only once in the past year.

“This is another example of ongoing government neglect of our island communities, and of our rural communities,” Thomas said. “The people of Tory Island want to see progress on the promises the government made more than two years ago.”

In Thomas’s manifesto, “For Donegal, For the People”, he called for further supports for island communities, including amending legislation to prevent European fishermen from exploiting dwindling fish resources; protecting island communities and islanders’ livelihoods by implementing his Dáil motion protecting island rights to traditional seaweed harvesting; and implementing the 2014 Dáil Committee on Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Report on Promoting Sustainable Rural, Coastal, and Island Communities.