Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Select Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2015.
I apologise for my late arrival. The increase in the cap on spending on capital tourism is welcome. I presume there is a six-year plan for Fáilte Ireland. Can we have sight of the plan? Does the six-year plan include Tourism Ireland? If we are planning for the next six years, it is important that we do so on an all-Ireland basis, particularly with regard to cross-Border tourism. If this is not the case, then we should examine the position.
The funding is very welcome. Will there be oversight, particularly in light of what has happened in the past? We must ensure there is oversight of the funding in the coming six years. Will there be targeted investment? The Wild Atlantic Way has taken off and is hugely successful. Ireland's Ancient East is starting to take off but has not yet reached its full potential. We also have the midlands region, which has been left out. It is like the doughnut effect and there is nothing in the middle. What targeted plans are included to bring other areas up to the same level as the Wild Atlantic Way, in particular Ireland's Ancient East? The Minister of State said Fáilte Ireland has targeted specific products from Wexford to Wicklow and has plans, but there are other areas of equal importance which perhaps have not received the same promotion or been given the same opportunities as others. For this reason, it is important that we see sight of the plan, given that extra funding is being allocated, which is very welcome.
The Minister of State mentioned local authorities and the amended Local Government Act. Throughout the State, local authorities state they cannot provide a tourism officer because there is no funding. If there is an onus on them to promote tourism in their areas and it is something they must do, will funding be made available so they have the tools and are unable to state no funding is available or they have staff shortages and do not have the manpower to promote somebody? If we are to have a six-year plan, it is important that all of the ducks are in a row and local authorities are provided with the facilities and are not on the back foot from the get go.