Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Galway West John Connolly has called for a new tourism initiative for Galway which would bring together infrastructure, business, telecommunications and environmental groups to put a strategy in place to boost Galway’s tourism sector.

Mr. Connolly explained, “Galway has always been a tourism hotspot and has a reputation both here in Ireland and abroad as a lively, welcoming, historic and fun place to visit.  However over the past number of years problems with mobile coverage and broadband, traffic and transport, and water quality have damaged the reputation of the city and county.

“Any fall off in tourism has a major knock-on effect on the local economy and on the standard of living.  I would like to see a dedicated body tasked with identifying the key challenges to growing the tourism sector and coming up with solutions to tackle them.

“Anyone living in Galway understands the serious problem that traffic management posed.  There are daily tailbacks coming into and out of the city, which acts as a deterrent to anyone wanting to spend a day or an afternoon in the city centre.  We are actually losing visitors because of a series of delays in devising a comprehensive traffic management plan.  I have consistently put forward the idea of a Park and Ride facility, but to date this proposal has been ignored.

“The failure of Fine Gael and Labour to roll out high speed broadband has led to major gaps in the system.  Speeds are slow at best, and non-existent in many cases.  Mobile phone coverage is equally bad.  We hear promises of 3G and 4G but the reality is that the signal regularly drops, frustrating personal and business customers alike.  Unless this connectivity issue is addressed, businesses will continue to lose out online booking and shopping has now become the norm.  Fianna Fáil has committed to rolling out fibre broadband to every home and business in the country, ending the erratic provision that currently exists.

“We need to take a co-ordinated approach to boosting tourism and business in the city to ensure that we are attracting new people on breaks.  If we can tackle some of the issues that are hampering progress, we will create a better, more streamlined Galway where people want to visit and do business”.