Seanad debates

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Tim LombardTim Lombard (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I concur with the comments made by Senators who raised the issue of Dublin Zoo, but I will put a southern twist on the matter. Complexes like Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park need to be debated in the House. More importantly, action by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Deputy Catherine Martin, is necessary. It is appropriate that she attend the House next week to discuss this issue. Fota Wildlife Park is a major driver of our economy and one of the largest tourist attractions on the southern end of Ireland. It is a place that families like mine frequent monthly when we have the opportunity. That the complex is now closed is detrimental to society.

We need a package of measures to be put in place. Keeping the two complexes going costs tens of millions of euro. They are enshrined in our communities and societies. We are rightly supporting sporting clubs and other businesses, but these two organisations are outside the net for some reason. That is unfortunate. Action is needed urgently. In rebuilding our society post Covid, it is key that these complexes be left intact and supported fully. We must consider the issue of the animals. Everything must be done in that regard. As anyone who has visited Fota knows, it is a fantastic complex with animals running around its hundreds of acres. Fota needs to get a package of supports. Otherwise, it will be under pressure.


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