PLANS to extend helicopter services to and from Tory Island, announced this morning, have been welcomed by the island community.
Talks are underway between the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the HSE to reinstate a helicopter service from September for a three month period.
Helicopter services on Tory ceased operating in March but expanding air connectivity was one of the key recommendations made by Pól Ó Gallchóir, chairman of Foras na Gaeilge and former chief executive of TG4 when he reviewed the island’s transport services recently.
Welcoming the news Tory Co-Op Manager, Marjorie Uí Cearbhaill said: “On the island, especially during the winter you can be cut off. With this helicopter service it means that at least once a week the residents will be able to get off the island. A service goes out in the morning and comes back in the evening.”
Making the announcement Minister for State Joe McHugh TD (FG) said: “In the last year the Government doubled helicopter services to Tory, with the flight in and out of the island to Falcarragh increasing from one day a fortnight to once a week.
“The service ran from the middle of November last year until March 30 and these new discussions involving the Department and the HSE will explore the possibility of extending the services into September and April.”
The helicopter service carries four passengers at a time but will make extra journeys to and from the mainland depending on the demand.
Minister McHugh added that the helicopter service is just one of the plans his Department has for improving transport links to Tory. Meanwhile a delegation from Tory will travel to Rathlin Island today where they will meet with representatives from the Department and the committee involved in delivering a new ferry for Rathlin last year.
They will discuss plans for the new purpose built ferry for Tory which is expected to be delivered within the next two years.
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