Unforeseen difficulty stalls plans for Strangford Ferry

From the News Letter of August 1930

Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 10:40 am
Strangford Lough ferry skippers Edward McDonnell and Mark Browne pictured in 2001. Picture: Bernie Brown/News Letter archives
Strangford Lough ferry skippers Edward McDonnell and Mark Browne pictured in 2001. Picture: Bernie Brown/News Letter archives

An unforeseen difficulty regarding the proposed ferry between Strangford and Portaferry was revealed at the adjourned meeting of Down County Council which was held in Belfast during this week in 1930. Mr Norman D Ferguson presided at the meeting.

The Northern Ireland Ministry of Home Affairs which had previously expressed its willingness to introduce legislation which would give the council a monopoly on ferry right, had pointed out that under a particular section of the Government of Ireland, 1920, it would be ultra vires for the Parliament of Northern Ireland to consider a Bill containing such powers. The department stated that the Northern Ireland Parliament had no power to make laws in respect of, “among other things”, navigation, “except as regards to inland waters”. The waters of Strangford Lough could not, it stated, “come within the phrase ‘inland waters’, and the ministry’s advisers were on the opinion that the expression “navigation” included the right of ferrying.

The Finance, Law and Parliamentary committee had, it was reported, communicated with an English firm of ferry experts, who had offered to report and make recommendations for the installation of a ferry service which would meet local requirements.

Holding that it would be useless for the County Council to incur the expense of establishing a ferry unless they were guaranteed a monopoly of rights, the committee recommended that no further action be taken by the council on the matter until an assurance was given that the necessary legislation would be passed by the Imperial Government, should the council decide to establish a ferry.

TRIBUTES TO THE LATE LORD DUFFERIN

Also at the meeting in Belfast of Down County Council special mention was made of the death of the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava who had been killed in the Meopham air disaster in Kent on July 21, 1930, he was aged 55. Viscountess Ednam (formerly Lady Rosemary Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, sister of the 5th Duke of Sutherland), Sir Edward Ward Bt, and Mrs Sigrid Loeffler also died in the crash.

The chairman of the council said: “The County of Down and the whole of Northern Ireland has sustained a great loss.”