RDCA Statement on the Rathlin Ferry Service

Wednesday 11th January 2023

As you may well imagine, our phones and emails, like many others, have been busy over the recent period considering the concerns we all share over the ferry service, its ongoing support for the island and its direct support for the employees and their families.

This morning the announcement was made by RIFL that the Company would cease trading with immediate effect due to the financial situation of the company. A ferry text was issued at 10.30 this morning to that effect. The services of an Insolvency Practitioner have been engaged, to take steps to place the company into liquidation.

Following a series of phone calls with the Department for Infrastructure, from and to the RDCA (staff and Chair), we have been provided with the following statement:

“Following several weeks of engagement between the Department and Rathlin Island Ferry Limited in relation to matters arising from the contract between them, including the financial position of the ferry company, the Department received notification today from the company that it is to cease trading with immediate effect. The Department recognises the importance of the ferry service for the local community and has been taking forward work on potential contingency arrangements with the expectation that these could be implemented urgently, and which include seeking to protect the interests of the staff as far as possible. It is our plan to provide a further update on these arrangements as soon as possible.”

Stuart Wightman
Acting Director of Public Transport Operations
Climate, Planning and Public Transport Group
Department for Infrastructure

Because of the legal restrictions placed on DfI in the latter part of this dispute, little information could be shared with us beforehand. The situation today allows for that to begin to surface. It is our understanding from conversations with DfI that a more detailed statement is hoped to be released later today. If and when this is forthcoming, we will circulate it immediately.

Thank you for your patience in what is, to say the least, a very unsettling time for all.

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