Independent Councillor Michael Holmes has criticised the four month delay in repairing storm damaged beaches and piers in north and west Mayo, stating that the delay by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS ) in signing off on proposed works will cause huge losses for local businesses and the region’s tourist industry.
Holmes said that it was an “absolute disgrace that so many popular beaches along the Mayo coastline remained inaccessible over the busy Easter holiday period”. He said many tourists availed of the fine weather over the Easter weekend, and drove long distances to visit Louisburgh, Mulranny, Achill, and Belmullet, “only to find that beaches there could not be accessed. Almost four months later and no repair work has taken place, even on some of our world-class blue flag beaches. This is a very disappointing situation and will certainly damage our reputation as an outstanding tourist destination if it is not rectified before the next holiday period.”
He added that while funding had been granted for post storm remedial work along coastal areas, the NPWS must sign off on any proposed repairs, and this was holding up the commencement of all work.
The independent councillor continued: “We have to prioritise the repair of our beaches and piers and ensure that they are open to the public again very shortly. With the success of the Great Western Greenway, and the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way, we have the opportunity to maximise our potential as a tourist destination, and to capitalise on the natural coastal beauty around us. This is the first summer season that the Wild Atlantic Way is open, and many visitors will be reviewing their experience of it – particularly online – and making recommendations to others. It would be devastating if the advice given was that the beaches of west Mayo are to be avoided.”
He concluded by calling on the NPWS to speed up the approval process and ensure that works are carried out on coastal sites immediately, well before the height of the summer tourist season.