A young family from Dublin has been left stranded after Irish Ferries cancelled their sailing from France in order to keep the Dublin to Holyhead route running.
Pamela Fleming from Dublin, her husband Eoghan and their two young children were holidaying at a campsite in St-John-De-Monte, on the west coast of France when they received a text message.
“All we got was a text message ‘your sailing has been cancelled, please call one of these three numbers’… we couldn’t believe it was just a text message,” said Pamela.
Irish Ferries customer service said it was a “technical issue” when she contacted them but refused to elaborate on what exactly the issue was.
When Pamela went online she could see the ship she was due to travel on, the Epsilom, was ferrying passengers between Dublin and Holyhead in Wales.
“She sounded like she had a script” she said of the customer service agent, “and all she said was it was a technical issue with the ship. She wouldn't confirm it but we could go online and see that the ship was used in place of the Ulysses to Holyhead” she said.
The Ulysses vessel was taken off the Holyhead route at the end of June for repairs and was expected to be out of action for a number of days. This was then extended to two weeks weeks affecting thousands of passengers travel plans.
At the time, a statement from ICG, owner of Irish Ferries said “we have had to adjust the schedules of some of our other vessels. The Dublin-Holyhead route is operating with the Epsilom on the Ulysses schedule alongside the Dublin Swift which will operate additional evening sailing”.
Pamela said she emailed the company to find out what had happened but received no response and in the meantime paid almost €300 for an extra three nights’ accommodation for the holiday she said took two years to save for.
The family of four was re-booked on a sailing planned for today but “I have not slept since this happened. You’re waiting to see if they are going to respond back to you at all,” she said.
“I have had to take two days holidays from work and Eoghan is missing out three days of work – overall it basically equates to a month of our mortgage.
“Our travel insurance won’t cover us either because it doesn’t allow for a ‘technical issue,’” she said.
They were originally set to travel on the WB Yeats ship this summer but when all summer sailings were cancelled, they were booked onto the Epsilom instead.
“I get it that the WB Yeats is out of their control but it is poor management when it comes to customer service.”
A spokesperson for Irish Ferries said they couldn’t comment on individual passenger's bookings but that all affected passengers would be accommodated by alternative travel options departing from France.