THE plight of fed-up Kilcreggan ferry users was highlighted in a Scottish Parliament debate last week.

The debate in the Holyrood chamber was led by the village's MSP, Jackie Baillie, who highlighted the months of misery suffered by ferry passengers and the damage to the Rosneath peninsula's economy caused by repeated interruptions to the ferry link with Gourock.

Ms Baillie, who described operators Clydelink as “making Basil Fawlty look competent”, spoke about lengthy service suspensions caused by defects with the ferry, failed MCA inspections, a lack of staff, incomplete paperwork and inadequate safety training.

“To top it all,” she said, “last Friday a fight broke out between a crew member and the skipper.

“Both have been arrested. You just could not make this stuff up.”

Ms Baillie and others who spoke in the debate – including Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan, the Conservatives' Maurice Corry, and Labour transport spokesman Neil Bibby – urged Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government's transport agency, to get a move on with taking on responsibility for the route.

Humza Yousaf, minister for transport and the islands, said the government needed to know the true value of taking on “the entirety of the contract”, including the cost of replacing the vessel.

Mr Yousaf said: “We have legitimate concerns and we have questions about the true cost, to which we need answers.”

The Holyrood debate followed the recent recording of a song, 'Oor Kilcreggan Ferry', by members of the Peninsula Choir highlighting the community's frustration at the ongoing disruption to the service.

The deadline for tender bids to run the Kilcreggan ferry from July 2018 onwards is Monday, December 11.