Residents of our offshore islands are forced to think twice before online shopping or ordering bulky goods as shipping costs can be more than double those on the mainland.
That is despite nine cargo routes being subsidised to the tune of over €1.5 million each year by the State.
Our team will investigate why islanders are being left with high charges and how issues with freight services are impacting every aspect of island life.
WHAT YOUR FUNDING SUPPORTS
Islanders told an Oireachtas Joint Committee in 2023 that the current system for freight increases their cost of living. We will delve into the tender process and contracts awarded to examine why despite State aid, islanders are paying extra for shipment of goods.
As part of cargo ferry contracts, maximum prices are set but locals told us that these can become the de facto charges. Feeding animals is more expensive as bales of hay cost up to €3.50 and, for those building houses, 1,000 concrete blocks will set you back up to €120 on top of any normal transport cost as far as the port.
The government is currently reviewing the cost of transporting goods on subsidised cargo services. Our reporters will look at how maximum prices are working in reality and use Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to attempt to scrutinise the reasoning behind them.
As part of this investigation, we will speak to residents about the impact of costly cargo services and ask what needs to change to improve life for all on our offshore islands.
Want to see this investigation happen? Click the 'Fund This Proposal' button.