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Councillor Pat McMahon has appealed for action to support the childcare sector.

McMahon: sign us up for initiative to boost tourism and hospitality

A CALL has been made for branded signage at access points to the county, to highlight Clare’s unique musical and cultural heritage.
At the December meeting of Clare County Council, Councillor Pat McMahon made the appeal, saying such an initiative could help to rejuvenate tourism and hospitality in the wake of the pandemic.
“We all know about the decimation of our hospitality over the last couple of years and that we need to get the rejuvenation going,” he told the meeting.
He then explained that his motion was inspired by his own travels and seeing how different regions are promoted around the world.
“In Florida, each county you go through, there’s a symbol of that county,” he said. “It leaves a seed in the mind. You see the same in Cornwall and in Oranmore in Galway. It leaves a seed as to what that area produces.
“What I would love to see is that, no matter from what direction you enter County Clare, where you would see something like, ‘Welcome to County Clare, Home of Traditional Music, Song and Dance’.
“That may be too long, but it would resonate with your mind positively. I’ve been in Glór two or three time for big concerts and people from other counties would say, ‘By God, what you have in Clare you don’t appreciate, because you were born and reared into it’.
“Even in Lisdoonvarna, when it was going two years ago, I met a load of people who couldn’t get over the positivity of North Clare. Our traditional music and dancing is a worldwide phenomenon.”
Councillor Joe Garrihy commended Councillor McMahon for his “deep insight and research”, and described the motion as “excellent”.
“It aligns with an awful lot of the work and the intent that’s going on at the moment,” he said.
“The thing here is integrating what we have and making it coherent. We need to accentuate the positive and make sure it’s not identity at the parish pump, but to have a consistent message running through from the Flaggy Shore to Loop Head and over to Lough Derg.
“There’s a lot of deep thought to be put into this and a professional approach. While we have those identities and we absolutely fly the flag for each town and each area’s selling point, we need to lead on strategically to the next experience. That’s the challenge and I think it won’t happen overnight.”
Mayor of Clare, Councillor PJ Ryan also supported the motion. “We’re a little bit bad at time about telling people our story,” he said. “In fairness, this is a fantastic motion.”
As a member of the Tourism Advisory Group, Councillor Gabriel Keating added his support. He complimented the Council’s Tourism Section staff and director and said the community plays a major role too in promoting their local attractions.
CEO, Mr Pat Dowling told the meeting of his own experience in County Kildare of working on a project to promote the “equestrian county” brand.
He said the signage installed then was still in place to this day. He cautioned that projects tended to get delayed by involving too many outside agencies.
“I think this is about how we can take ownership,” he said. “It’s our county.”
A written response from Deirdre O’Shea, Head of Tourism and John Leahy, Senior Engineer noted that Clare has “a significant number of positive destination brands whose objective are to encourage visitors to stay longer and engage more.
The reply stated that: “We will continue to liaise with Fáilte Ireland and State Agencies on the provision of additional directional signage to the above trails and ways.”
Mr Leahy’s response said that: “When signage schemes on these routes are reviewed by TII [Transport Infrastructure Ireland], the Roads and Transportation section is committed to promoting the positive branding of the county during any consultation process”.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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