Dáil debates

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Other Questions

Wild Atlantic Way Project

10:10 am

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 and 49 together.

The Wild Atlantic Way will be Ireland's first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork. Budget 2014 included a specific provision of €8 million to support capital expenditure associated with the Wild Atlantic Way. The overall aim of the project is to develop a route that will achieve greater visibility for the west coast of Ireland in overseas tourist markets.

During the second half of 2012, Fáilte Ireland together with all the local authorities along the west coast, and also the Leader companies, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Western Development Commission, examined a range of route options for the Wild Atlantic Way. In November 2012, Fáilte Ireland published a route identification report, detailing a preferred route which had been identified, and sought the views of stakeholders during a month-long consultation process.

Fáilte Ireland also held a series of seminars in every county along the west coast, to seek the views of tourism businesses and communities in relation to the preferred route. Malin Head formed part of the Wild Atlantic Way route from the outset. The northern start point for the route begins at Derry, where it joins the Northern Ireland causeway coastal route.

The development of the Wild Atlantic Way is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland, and I do not have a role in designating any particular location on the route. However, selecting Malin Head as the natural start or end point of the Wild Atlantic Way would have excluded the north east of the Inishowen Peninsula and the western side of Lough Foyle from the route, which would not be beneficial to the tourism sector in the areas concerned.


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