Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called for action from Failte Ireland and the Department of Tourism on bringing the Seven Heads Peninsula into the Wild Atlantic Way route.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking after members of the Seven Heads community group met with Failte Ireland representatives and Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin in Courtmacsherry on Tuesday.
The group showed Minister Griffin around the area and made a presentation outlining why the peninsula should be included in the route before the meeting.
“Firstly, the members of the Campaign to Include the Seven Heads in the Wild Atlantic Way must be congratulated for the tremendous work they have done,” she said.
“Just getting the Minister and Failte Ireland into the peninsula should be enough to get the Seven Heads included in the Wild Atlantic Way as the area speaks for itself. However, they also gave a detailed presentation outlining why the area should be included and even proposing where the improved route could go.
“There should now be absolutely no barrier to including the Seven Heads in the Wild Atlantic Way. I understand the group was disappointed that neither the Minister nor Failte Ireland would offer a commitment to including the area in the route but were both very supportive of the campaign.
“This needs to be more than just words. The Wild Atlantic Way has been an international success and not only does being excluded from it not benefit the area it actually draws prospective tourism away from the peninsula as people tend not to deviate from the route.
“This is not just a line on a map, we are talking about people’s businesses and livelihoods here and while I am grateful to the Minister and Failte Ireland for meeting the local group it is a useless gesture unless action follows.”
Responding to promises from Failte Ireland that the area would be included in the next review, Sinn Féin councillor Paul Hayes said it must happen as a matter of urgency.
“While I appreciate that Failte Ireland have procedures they need to use the fact is we have been hearing about possible reviews since 2014,” he said.
“The council has spent €1m euro bringing infrastructure in the area up to standard so it could be included in the Wild Atlantic Way with plans to spend more money on attractions and amenities so I can see no earthly reason why there would be any opposition to what would be a fairly simple redrawing of the route that would not be to the detriment of any other town or village currently included in it.
“Seven Heads is the only peninsula excluded in its entirety from the route. The people here don’t need pleasantries, they need action.”