MSP calls for investigation into ferry tendering

Jackie Baillie, MSP for the Dumbarton constituency, has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament as the row over Kilcreggan’s ferry service continues.

A user group to monitor problems with the link to Gourock was formed at the meeting of Cove and Kilcreggan’s community council tonight (Tuesday).

And the meeting heard that Ms Baillie has again taken the campaign to Holyrood, where Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has supported it.

Gerry Gaffney, who represent the Faslane and Coulport workers relying on the ferry, said within two days of the new service starting he had sent three emails listing safety concerns to the MCA, and that MSPs had now taken the matter to Transport Minister Keith Brown.

And Harry Cathcart added: “I think the time has come when we have to have a ferry users group created. I understand that already people are voting with their feet by not using the ferry and that would be a disaster for this community if we lost the numbers of users.”

He added that on the busiest crossing more than 20 people have to stand outside because there was not enough seating under cover: “They will be doing that in all weathers on an open deck – that is not acceptable in a modern society.”

Councillor George Freeman echoed the fears that if people used alternative transport it would put the service under threat, adding that the back-up boat for Island Princess was currently on charter: “As far as I am aware it does not have a licence, so if anything happens to the Island Princess I don’t know what would happen.”

Fears remain over the future of Kilcreggan’s pier, with staff facing redundancy within weeks. Mr Cathcart said: “The pier is iconic in the village and that is what we need to fight for – if it is not manned there will be vandalism there.”

Several members of the public at the packed meeting highlighted problems with the new boat, especially for children.

The users group will include Mr Cathcart, Mr Gaffney, Cllr Freeman, Janet Cassie, Kerr Gardiner and community councillor Tom Logue.

And the community council agreed to write to SPT lodging a complaint against the ‘inept’ tendering process. lack of consultation and safety and reliability concerns.

Here is the full text of Jackie Baillie’s motion:

That the Parliament is concerned by the process that has been followed by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) in the tendering and awarding of the contract for the Gourock to Kilcreggan Ferry; understands that the new vessel promised by the operator for the service will not be delivered and that there have been a number of concerns raised about the replacement vessel, including a lack of seating capacity and the acquisition of the necessary maritime safety certificates; further understands that a demonstration was held on 24 March 2012 at Kilcreggan Pier, which was attended by approximately 400 people, indicating the strength of support in the community for the existing ferry service, and believes that an independent investigation is required into the tendering process to restore public confidence in SPT.


  1. SPT is an organisation which is full of Labour Party place men/women. It resembles
    a health board where various ex-cooncillors and jobsbodies (remunerated, of course)
    have made up the numbers based on their connections and not necessarily their expertise.

    • SPT members are current serving councillors; although the current chair is a Labour representative the two key members involved in this saga are an Independent representing Argyll and Bute and a Conservative from Inverclyde

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