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Kilkee beach. Photograph by John Kelly

Need to plan for the worst in West Clare

IT is time to plan to head off the worst effects of the loss of a huge amount of tourism business from West Clare, according to Councillor Cillian Murphy.

Ahead of a meeting of West Clare Municipal District councillors on Thursday, he compiled an analysis of the relative importance of tourism in the county’s various municipal districts, showing that the impact on West Clare could be particularly severe.

“The most at-risk sectors are those that are dealing with the public, that have high levels of personal contact. If you look at where our rates base is in the county, you see what the potential impact is for the county,” he said.

Councillor Murphy said that the consequences of losing a season are very severe, while he said many areas of tourism are concentrated in the west of the county.

“There are no caravan parks in any other municipal district, apart from West Clare. If you look at pubs, hostels, guesthouses and stuff like that, you start to see that West Clare has most of those. If these can’t operate anywhere near capacity this year, what’s the impact going to be on the community and the business owners?”

The Fianna Fáil councillor added, “What happens when all the casual staff, those who normally had summer jobs and were working weekends, what’s the effect going to be next winter? We need to plan, we need to look at what the consequences will be and what we can do now to head it off.”

He said that businesses like restaurants and cafes in the West Clare Municipal District are much more reliant on tourism than their equivalents in the Shannon and Ennis areas.

Owen Ryan