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  Report on Public Meeting held on Wednesday 19 January 2011 regarding the Public Ferry Service to Cape Clear Island held in Coláiste Phobal Chléire.

Present representing Cailín Óir, Séamus Ó Drisceoil, Brendan Cottrell & Cathal Cottrell. Timetable The Company presented its proposed new all year timetable. This has been compiled according to the requirements of the contract and to bring about maximum consistency and simplicity. This was comprehensively discussed. A proposal was put forward to bring forward the morning departure from the Island to 8am. This was for two reasons, to allow people time for a quick run to Skibbereen to return for the 10.30 am sailing and also possibly so that people could find employment off the Island. The Company Representative felt that a very radical change of this kind would require much more widespread consultation/notice. An alternative proposal was made to change the 10.30 am sailing from Baltimore to 11.00 am in the winter months which would be a better time to access services such as the Clinic etc. This was agreed by consensus. The Company explained its desire to eliminate the early Monday mornings sailings in July and August as the numbers are very low and these are really only used during the term time. The company would ‘re-imburse’ these sailings by providing additional unscheduled sailings at other times more useful to the Community. This could be arranged through the proposed ‘Monitoring Committee’. The meeting was happy with this. Dismay was expressed at the proposed reduction in the Wednesday sailings in winter back to one sailing a day. The company explained that these accords with the contract would be happy to swap another sailing in order to provide a late sailing on Wednesdays. Various alternatives were mooted but none were generally acceptable. As an interim measure the company offered to continue providing these sailings until April next in exchange for the Monday morning sailings in July/August even though this involves more sailings being provided and this was agreed by consensus. A suggestion was made to delay the departure time from the Island to 6pm in June but the Company explained that this had been considered and would be problematic as the day would be far too long for visitors arriving on the 10.30 sailing. There is no perfect time table but on balance these seem to be the best times. This was accepted. The company is providing additional sailings above the contract requirements during the period May – Spetember because these are economic, sustain increased passenger numbers during May in particular and make for a more user friendly time table. Cargo Service The new arrangements regarding cargo were explained and especially the intention to continue a weekly ro ro service from May to September. This will relieve pressure on the passenger/cargo service, will eliminate the transport of garbage on passenger sailings which the Company considers not to be good practise and will facilitate the regular transport of heavier items such as cars and vans. The ordinary cargo as specified in the contract will continue to be carried by the ferry daily and will be channelled towards the first outgoing sailing in the morning and the last incoming sailing in the evening. The practise regarding food/grocery items remains unchanged. Some recommendations were made, to provide a box on the pier in Cape Clear for the storage of smaller items/parcels, to have the cargo box in Baltimore, clearly marked, to ensure that the Cailin Óir price list applies to the scheduled ro ro sailings for relevant items and that there should be a single point of contact for cargo for which the Cailín Óir is responsible, all accepted. Customers are asked to advise when large or unusual cargo is expected but generally all the business which deliver regularly are aware of ferry/ro ro times/arrangements. Fares The Company indicated that according to the contract the Island fare increases from €7 to €8 from 1.2.2011 to be consistent with the tourist fare of €16. The Department – Monitoring Committee – Tender The Department have indicated their desire to re-establish the Monitoring Committee and will make some efforts to achieve this including a meeting with the Island Community in the not too distant future. Any questions regarding the tendering process or similar matters would be for this meeting. As far as the Company is concerned everything was done by it in accordance with the established process and it has stated in its tender that if successful a copy of the documentation would be provided to the Island Public Library and this will be done shortly. Housekeeping, comfort and cleanliness. The Tranquility is a very comfortable vessel with padded seating etc. and these features also apply to the new vessel. The Company wishes to maintain these in good condition for the benefit of the Community/passengers. To this end only guide dogs will be permitted inside the saloon in future and unclean items such as tool boxes etc. should not be piled upon the seating. This was accepted. Shareholding The matter of shareholdings in the Company was raised. The Company is delighted that various people have expressed an interest in becoming shareholders and that the Co Op have taken a minority shareholding on behalf of the Island Community. At its inception the minimum shareholding was €10,000 but this has been reduced to €5,000 to facilitate others. People could also create consortium's to hold shares as was the case with the Cork Swansea Ferry. Anyone interested in becoming a shareholder should contact one of the existing shareholders. There is no risk attached to becoming a shareholder apart from the funds invested but to date the shareholders have also supplied valuable practical assistance to the enterprise. There is a long term approach to Island/local development and the same broad group of shareholders with others have also invested over €30,000 in the Cork Swansea Ferry in recent years.

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