Inis Mór ferry withdrawn in row over passenger levies

Island Ferries Teoranta Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Galway County Council wanted the Island Ferries to levy 80 cents per passenger

A ferry service from Galway to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, has been withdrawn over the winter in a row over passenger levies.

The ferry operating company, Island Ferries Teoranta, took the decision after objecting to passenger levies proposed by the council, which the ferry company said were too high.

Galway County Council wanted the Island Ferries to levy 80 cents per passenger.

The council will now consider a request for a 40-cent levy by Island Ferries.

At a budget meeting later, councillors will also look at scrapping a five-euro passenger fee for permanent residents on the island.

Independent Galway councillor Thomas Welby told RTÉ's Morning Ireland there was "no rational reason" why the ferry company was refusing to impose the 80 cent levy on passengers.

He said the cash generated was not to raise profit but were to pay for necessary works and leases on the harbour.

Jason O'Sullivan, a spokesperson for Island Ferries Teoranta, told the programme the costs upon which the levy was based had not been independently audited or assessed.

He also said the ferry company felt it was a "discriminatory tax" and said the route was not profitable during the winter months.

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