East Galway ‘left behind’ as Government let Ireland’s lakelands strategy ‘fall by the wayside’

At the fashion fundraiser ‘Sparkle at the g’ in aid of "Tomorrow For Tomás" were L-R: Mary Gillan, Paula Dunne and Maura Joyce. Photo Sean Lydon

At the fashion fundraiser ‘Sparkle at the g’ in aid of "Tomorrow For Tomás" were L-R: Mary Gillan, Paula Dunne and Maura Joyce. Photo Sean Lydon

As tourism strategies like the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East take off, east Galway is being “left behind” with Ireland’s lakelands strategy being let “fall by the wayside”.

This is the view of Fianna Fáil Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte, who is demanding the Government “speed up the rollout” of Ireland’s lakelands strategy. The strategy is contained in the Programme for Government, but, according to Dep Rabbitte, “no progress on the project has been made”.

She is now calling on the Minister for Tourism Shane Ross “to clarify whether the Government is committed” to the Ireland’s lakelands project or if “this was merely an empty gesture to appease the tourism communities in the areas not included in the Wild Atlantic Way or Ireland’s Ancient East”.

The Portumna based TD is now “gravely concerned” Ireland’s lakelands strategy will “fall by the wayside”, after Tourism Ireland has opened a tendering process for a 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”. While any strategy to boost tourism is welcome, she said, there is absolutely “no reference to the Ireland’s Lakelands initiative”.

Dep Rabbitte said the strategy had the potential to “boost tourism in east Galway”, but the region was being neglected while other areas of Galway are favoured and prioritised. “The lack of progress to date raises red flags about the Government’s commitment to the strategy,” she said.

“Parts of Galway and the midlands have been left behind as strategies like the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East take off,” she said. “Despite a huge tourism offering in areas like Portumna, with outdoor trails, hiking and fishing activities, and unique archaeological and historical sites, the region is being overlooked in favour of the west and east coasts.”

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