Ref: JA/TK/DRD/3669-14 14 August 2008 Mr. James H.

Allister QC MEP 09 Hollywood Road Belfast BT4 3BE Dear Deputy, I have been asked by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamonn Ó Cuív T.D., to refer to your letter of 28th July 2008 to him regarding the Cléire (Cape Clear) ferry service and to respond direct to you on his behalf. At the outset, I should point out that this Department does not have a remit in regard to confirming the authenticity of the documents enclosed with your letter. I can confirm, however, that the Department has received this documentation. I can confirm also that this Department holds a contract with Tithe Saoire Cléire Teo., a company of which Mr. Ciarán Ó Drisceoil is a director, for the provision of a passenger and cargo ferry service to Cléire. This contract, for the period 1st March 2007 to 29th February 2012, was awarded following a public tender competition. Some controversy was generated at the time of its award mainly, in the Department's view, due to the failure of a company under the control of the island's community co-operative to succeed in its bid for the contract. Any complaints received in relation to the service since the award of the contract have been investigated by the Department and, on three occasions financial penalties have been imposed on the operator in accordance with the terms of the contract. Notwithstanding this, however, it is the Department's considered view that the service provided by Tithe Saoire Cléire Teo. to Cléire rates on a par with the majority of other island ferry services subsidised by it. I trust this clarifies the position on this matter for you. Mise le meas Aodhán Mac Cormaic Assistant Principal

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