Irish Ferries has boosted capacity between the UK and Ireland by chartering an additional vessel.

The 500-passenger Epsilon will become the third ferry to operate on the Holyhead to Dublin route from next month, bringing daily sailings up to 12.

The company currently operates eight departures a day on the route with the ferry Ulysses and high speed craft Jonathan Swift.

Irish Ferries’ marketing director Tony Kelly said: “Irish Ferries’ decision to invest in additional capacity at this time is a major vote of confidence by the Republic of Ireland’s leading ferry operator in the recovery of the country’s economy.

“We believe that Ireland has turned the corner and we are prepared to invest in the provision of improved services for our valued freight and tourism customers who have shown fantastic loyalty throughout the last five difficult years.”

The chartered vessel will also provide opportunities for improved annual dry-dock cover within the company’s fleet, along with scope for increased capacity on other Irish Sea and Ireland to France services, the company said.