A LOCAL TD has slammed Failte Ireland’s ‘Seafood Journey’ promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way which only covers the counties north of Galway.
‘I’m not only disappointed, but shocked to learn that Failte Ireland have announced that the Wild Atlantic Seafood Journey will be primarily focusing on the coastline from Mayo to Connemara,’ said Independent TD Michael Collins.
The seafood trial, launched in conjuntion with BIM last year, with additions made this June, totally excludes the counties of Clare, Kerry and Cork, on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Failte Ireland says there are 11 seafood producers and 42 restaurants participating in the trail, and the initiative includes providing training for local chefs to give them a better knowledge of local seafood.
‘A second Seafood Journey should have been designed to run simultaneously, in the south and south west, starting in West Cork and continuing along the western seaboard,’ Deputy Collins told The Southern Star.
‘In fact, West Cork on its own, could provide the perfect setting, and a ready-made, unique seafood trail from Kinsale to Beara. West Cork has a long seafaring tradition, with decades of experience and expertise in catching and cooking fish and is renowned as Europe’s premier food producing region,’ he added. Deputy Collins referred to the successful Taste of West Cork food festival and the ‘plethora of top class seafood restaurants’ in this area.
‘We need to address this immediately,’ he added. ‘We need to make Failte Ireland aware that there is a ‘ready made’ seafood journey, here in West Cork, just waiting to be explored, but we need the promoting expertise and resources of Failte Ireland in order to bring it to fruition.’
In response, a spokesperson for Failte Ireland said that roll-out of the trail is planned ‘on a phased basis (by coast) and it has not been confirmed yet where the next phase will be.’
There was more bad news for West Cork’s Wild Atlantic Way recently when Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan announced almost €1.125m in funding from Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Grants Allocation for 2016 for two key projects along the Wild Atlantic Way. A grant of €896k is being made available to Galway County Council for the Connemara Greenway and a grant of €225k is being allocated to the OPW towards Phase 1 of the development of new visitor facilities on the Great Blasket Island.