Fianna Fáil Deputy and Spokesperson on Tourism, Robert Troy, has described Fáilte Ireland’s decision to exclude key counties from the development of a destination brand for ‘Ireland’s Lakelands’ as “nonsensical”.
Fáilte Ireland is seeking tenders to complete a Destination Development and Feasibility Study to ascertain the potential for growth and the best mechanism to unlock those areas that lie between the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East.
Commenting on the tender, Deputy Troy said: “The Programme for Government, published in May, allocated funding for a fourth tourism brand, ‘Ireland’s Lakelands’, to sit alongside the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin Breath of Fresh Air campaigns.
“This tender clearly contravenes the whole objective outlined in the Programme for Government. One of the foremost purposes of this Lakelands campaign is to increase tourism along the River Shannon and its surrounding areas, yet the counties primarily concerned have been excluded. This is nonsensical.
“By not including Tipperary, Offaly, Westmeath, Longford and Cavan, the development of a Lakelands brand to complement the existing Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East may never effectively happen. Ireland’s Lakelands programme provided a unique opportunity and held huge potential to develop tourism attractions across these counties.”
Deputy Troy said he was assured back in July that the Midlands region would not be forgotten and would be utilised, however, now he says the region has been left out in the cold.
“The area between the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East is right up along the middle of Ireland. There does not seem to be a strategy or a marketing programme in terms of marketing the lakes district. There is so much to offer, including the waterways of counties Longford, Westmeath, Cavan, and Fermanagh. The decision to exclude these counties is entirely out of sync with any overall strategy for sustained tourism growth in Ireland.”