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Tag Archives: Fáilte Ireland

Call to reinstate North Clare businesswoman to Fáilte Ireland board

AWARD-winning North Clare businesswoman Breege O’Donoghue should be reinstated to her position on the board of Fáilte Ireland, according to Clare’s Fianna Fáil senator, who has warned about the risks of “blood letting”. The Boston native stepped down last month after controversially travelling to a non-Green List country, at a time when a major summer ‘staycation’ campaign was running. Ms O’Donoghue also tendered her resignation as Chair of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI), but has since been reinstated, prompting Senator Timmy Dooley to call for her to be reappointed to the tourism board. “I very much believe in the public health message,” said Senator Dooley, “but we need to be really careful of the blame game. The kind of expertise that Ms O’Donoghue has is not in huge supply. It’s not the same things as having a government minister resign. They can be moved around reasonably easily.” Ms O’Donoghue’s was the second resignation from the board of …

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New tourism plan aims to offset impact of Covid crisis

A DEEP crisis facing the tourism sector in Clare was acknowledged as a new plan was approved by councillors this week to guide the industry for the next decade. The role of tourism as the county’s largest indigenous employer was highlighted, with hopes expressed by some members that the authority might play a role in securing a national cultural centre for Clare. Outlining the impact of Covid-19 on tourism at the monthly meeting of Clare County Council, Director of Service Leonard Cleary noted that the new plan had had to take account of the pandemic. Head of Tourism Deirdre O’Shea agreed that against that backdrop, the strategy was vital. “The local tourism economy is in deep crisis,” she said. “Having a strategy is more important than ever for the next ten years.” Ms O’Shea outlined the risk to the 12,000 jobs dependent on tourism, as well as to the €266 million generated annually by the sector. “The strategy is still …

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Hopes for salvation of East Clare tourism season

HOPES continue to be expressed that the tourism season in East Clare can be salvaged to some degree, despite the severe blow dealt to the region by Covid-19. Chairperson of East Clare Tourism Arlene White said the season to-date “has not been a total washout” and that the potential of the area to offer people activities in nature and at uncrowded locations continued to be realised. “It is nothing like it should be, naturally,” she said. “People are out and about walking and kayaking though and it’s not quite bad as people had feared.” There is a widespread acknowledgement that, when it comes to accommodation, self-catering providers are faring best. “In some cases,” Arlene said, “demand is out-stripping supply and self-catering is booming.” That situation contrasts with the plight faced by traditional Bed and Breakfast accommodation. “I do know of some in East Clare who have decided, for the protection of their own health, that they won’t open this year,” …

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Concern over reduction in on-street parking in Ennistymon

THE business community in Ennistymon has been expressing its concern over the reduction of up to 16 parking spaces from the town centre. The matter was raised by Councillor Shane Talty at the July meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, who said he had been hearing of “huge trepidation” among retailers. Under a Part 8 planning application to revitalise Main Street in the town, 14-16 spaces will be removed with the council proposing to expand pedestrian facilities and increase street furniture. Councillor Talty said that while the Part 8, which is to be lodged later this year, was widely welcomed, an alternative town centre parking is needed. “We have a historic problem with congestion,” Councillor Talty noted. “There has been a welcome increase in the number of businesses opening, with one business from Parnell Street in Ennis recently relocating to Ennistymon. We have a very vibrant town, but I’m hearing of huge trepidation at the prospect of a reduction …

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Enhancements for Ennistymon ahead of ‘Destination Town’ designation

TOURISM in Ennistymon is set to take a major step forward as a number of enhancement projects are ear-marked to tie in with the development of its status as a Fáilte Ireland Destination Town. Last December, the tourism body announced that €500,000 would be issued, in two rounds, in order to boost the town’s attractiveness to visitors. The aim is to capitalise on the huge numbers travelling to North Clare attractions like the Cliffs of Moher and to entice them to spend more time and money in the town. At the June meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Councillor Shane Talty urged the council to tackle the “low-hanging fruit” and examine projects that might be completed in conjunction with the Destination Town works. “The Fáilte Ireland funding will deliver a very welcome post-Covid boost for Main Street, Ennistymon, later this year,” the Fianna Fáil member noted. As an example of a project that might be tackled, Councillor Talty highlighted …

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Anger at Fáilte Ireland response on Atlantic Way signs for Miltown

A NORTH Clare councillor has been sharply critical of the decision by Fáilte Ireland not to erect Wild Atlantic Way signage in Miltown Malbay. Councillor Róisín Garvey told the June meeting of the West Clare Municipal District that sometimes local authority members knew better than Fáilte Ireland when it came to tourism development projects. In response to the Green Party member calling for Miltown, “the real gateway to West Clare” to be put on the route, using new signage, the tourism authority said it had no plans to do so. A written reply to Councillor Garvey’s motion from Miriam Kennedy, Head of the Wild Atlantic Way, said it was felt that Miltown was already part of the destination marketing plan. “Being on or adjacent to the Wild Atlantic Way,” Ms Kennedy said, “offers destinations an opportunity to influence the visitor’s travel patterns as they navigate along the route and given Miltown Malbay’s immediate proximity to the route, it is considered …

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Post-Covid ‘staycation’ hopes for East Clare tourism

TOURISM operators in East Clare have said they remain cautiously optimistic in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 lock-down, which has brought the sector to a standstill for now. The season would normally begin around Easter, and tourism providers are currently coping with a raft of cancelled tour bookings, as well as the shelving of key events and activities. Hope is being drawn, however, from the anticipated demand for ‘staycation’ breaks once the restrictions on movement are lifted, and from the development of key projects including the River Shannon Tourism Master Plan 2020-2030, which is currently in draft form and open for public submissions. “A good season in East Clare would be starting around Easter,” noted Arlene White, Chairperson of Tourism East Clare. “What we are now seeing instead is the cancellation of bookings for months ahead. It’s very tough for everyone, but we understand the need for the restrictions and we are hoping that 2020 won’t be a complete …

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Clare ‘poorly served’ by tourism industry

Clare is being “poorly served” by the tourism industry, according to Kilkee-based business man and tourism consultant Cillian Murphy, while he believes the county should strive to attract fewer tourists but more bed nights. Mr Murphy has also suggested that the county is not benefiting sufficiently from the more than one million annual visitors to the Cliffs of Moher, with thousands of tourists arriving on a tour bus and then leaving after their visit without spending a bob. The former chairman of Loop Head Tourism believes Clare should not try to increase visitor numbers but should seek to provide more accommodation options across the county. “We do not necessarily need to attract more visitors. The marketing of Clare has been exceptional and has delivered ever-increasing numbers of visitors over the past 20 years. Our problem is we are not reaping the rewards in terms of the local economic benefits in our rural and coastal economies, such as local job opportunities. …

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