McNamara wants answers on Keem Bay Discovery Point

Cllr Paul McNamara

Cllr Paul McNamara

Achill based Cllr Paul McNamara wants to see a process put in place with targets for the delivery of the Keem Bay Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point.

The Discovery Point was first announced in February 2015 and it was said at the time that it would be in place and open to the public by the summer of 2018, but five years later nothing has happened with the project, according to the Fianna Fáil councillor.

Speaking at the March meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District this week Cllr McNamara said: "I have raised the issue time and time again and we are no further on at this stage. I have grave concerns on the effect it will have on the tourism industry along the Wild Atlantic Way in Achill.

"Money is being announced but it is taking years to deliver these - it was five years ago the money was announced for this and myself and council officials met down there and five years on there is still no word on it, no word even for planning, going to planning or a design being produced.

"Everybody welcomed the project, I can't understand how it took five years to get here. We can't wait five years for projects to be delivered, if we don't spend the money we have it will have a devastating effect on tourism in the area. Is there a problem and why is it taking five years to solve?"

In response to Cllr McNamara, Catherine McConnell, director of services with Mayo County Council said: "The Keem Bay project will have to go to planning - there has been quite a bit of discussion over and back between ourselves and Failte Ireland, it is one of the flagship projects along the Wild Atlantic Way. There are environmental sensitivities, traffic sensitivities, but I do want to say we have not in any way or shape or form forgotten about it. There was a meeting as recently as three weeks ago about it to look at this specific project.

"We do have to tender for a design team because of the various strands of environmental management, traffic management and proper design, it will becoming to fruition very soon."

Cllr McNamara replied saying: "I suppose what frustrates me is that I understand what you say about the project, as someone involved in a number of projects that it has taken five years and we are no further on - is there an unforeseen cost, is a lot of money going to be spent on administration? Five years ago no problems came to the fore in my opinion and unless there is a plan put in place fairly quickly and the design team is put to work - it will drift away for another five years.

"Because I know you are only able to give me the information you have, but unless I raise it or someone else raises it again - it is the last we will hear of it. I raise this every ten months, it is the same answers I've got, I want a process to be put in place, be it stage one, two, three and milestones set. We all have to buy into it, but it is very disheartening if it takes another five years, that is ten years wasted on one of the most scenic areas on the whole Wild Atlantic Way."

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