COUNCILLORS have criticised Fáilte Ireland for failing to pay a subvention towards the cost of running the tourist office in Skibbereen.
According to Cllr Karen Coakley (FG) it is the Council that is getting the ‘bad press’ in relation to the non-payment, or late payment, of the annual subvention. Municipal officer Justin England said he understood Fáilte Ireland won’t pay until the Council has signed a lease on the tourist office. He said the Council had written ‘a letter of comfort’ to Fáilte Ireland saying it was their intention to sign the lease ‘when it is ready’.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) laid the blame for the delay with Fáilte Ireland and Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) claimed: ‘This will be a further kick for Skibbereen if they walk away altogether.’
Previously, the councillors complained that Fáilte Ireland had produced a map of tourist offices and omitted the Skibbereen and Bantry offices, which are, by and large, run by volunteers.
County mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan said: ‘Fáilte Ireland has been found wanting. There have been the omissions on the tourism map, as well as the omission of the Seven Heads on the Wild Atlantic Way. If these were Kerry towns, the funding would not be short. It is one of the basic remits of Fáilte Ireland to promote tourism. They have to be held to account.’
Fáilte Ireland issued a statement, saying: ‘Cork County Council is the direct landlord of Skibbereen Tourist Office, and Fáilte Ireland understands that Skibbereen Tourist Office is in the process of signing a lease with Cork County Council, after which a new licence agreement with Fáilte Ireland can be signed. Fáilte Ireland continues to be in contact with Skibbereen Tourist Office and is awaiting further updates on the lease.’