FÁILTE Ireland is neglecting West Cork in print, on the airwaves, and even when it comes to road signage, according to local public representatives.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) led the members of the Municipal District of West Cork in criticising the organisation, saying it had failed to properly highlight local tourist offices and entire towns.
Cllr Carroll was also critical of the signs used to direct motorists along the Wild Atlantic Way, saying: ‘They are all for the Ring of Kerry.’
The Fianna Fáil councillor said the Wild Atlantic Way has certainly helped West Cork, but he maintains the region doesn’t get enough credit and isn’t featured prominently enough in TV ad campaigns.
Cllr Carroll and other councillors made their comments following a briefing by Sharon Corcoran, who is the director of services for the Council’s Economic Development, Enterprise and Tourism (EDET) group.
Ms Corcoran reminded the councillors that every local authority is now obliged to prepare a tourism statement outlining its strategy and work programme.
As part of that strategy, she said the Council is working with Fáilte Ireland in the future development of the Wild Atlantic Way, and would be meeting with tourism organisation representatives every three months to ‘iron out issues.’
Ms Corcoran informed the members of the Municipal District of West Cork that Council-owned attractions, such as the Dursey Island cable car, Skibbereen Heritage Centre, Michael Collins House in Clonakilty town, and Kinsale Museum attracted more than 40,000 visitors last year. In West Cork, she said the group is working on the Sam Maguire Story in Dunmanway as a tourism attraction, as well as the Michael Collins Country Trail, and the Beara Horse Trail.
Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) said he was aware of the trails initiative but said more could be done to bundle and promote all of the walking routes in West Cork.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) asked that the Fáilte Ireland representatives be invited to meet the councillors at one of their monthly meetings. And he paid tribute to the Council for promoting cruise tourism saying Bantry’s first cruise liner attracted a huge number of people to the town.
‘Some people said that too many of the passengers were bussed out of the town, but,’ according to Cllr Collins, ‘240 of them went ashore and visited Bantry House and went shopping in the locality.’